CLEVELAND — "Everything old is new again."
It's a phrase many of us have heard before.
However, a Cleveland educator and businesswoman has literally made a career of it.
Monica Grays' 2nd Semester Consignment Shop has survived the pandemic and is now entering a new era by helping teachers and parents battle inflation.
"This space does not exist without teachers bringing their materials in and continuing their journey with us --as well as purchasing these same materials," said Monica Grays, Owner of 2nd Semester Consignment Shop.
“Owned and operated by teachers—with some not-so-average resources.”
It is the mantra of Grays’ business.
The space on East 185th Street in Cleveland's North Collinwood neighborhood has become her new personal oasis.
It's where she and her staff pour their hearts into giving back to area teachers with various classroom supplies all while educating Cleveland's youth through one-on-one tutoring and mentoring.
"Being in a brick and mortar and being responsible for this space and knowing how important this mission was -- it kept me going," said Grays.
The Cleveland educator moved her 2nd Semester Consignment Shop here from the former Wickliffe location six months ago.
The new place is huge.
The back half includes a personalized reading room with tons of books for kiddos to sharpen their skills.
And in the middle —is the steeply discounted consignment shop.
It's stockpiled with manuals, school supplies, puzzles, educational games, and learning tools for teachers and students.
Cheryl Combs, a Teacher with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, has taken full advantage.
"I've been teaching for 30 years, and she had things that I used to use a long time ago.”
Grays says she understands the financial struggles of educators.
They’re forced to buy most of their classroom materials out of pocket with their own cash--some spending upwards of $800 each year.
Everything in her store is half the price.
"Knowing that now teachers can bring those materials in, rotate 'em, keeping 'em in the community, and then at the end of their journey they're able to make a little money back."
This new location also offers room for growth and opportunity.
So much so —that Grays is welcoming small business owners and creators to share the wealth and rent it out for events and workshops.
"We love that it's now a community space and we can educate and bring the community together into a collective space and it just warms my heart!"
2nd Semester Consignment Shop is open Monday through Thursday from 3-7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Volunteers and tutors are welcome to sign up and lend a hand.
If you want to donate or shop for additional items, check out the store site here: Home (2ndsemestershop.com)