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For Karen Graves, there's a silver lining: She has sold the store -- and she still owns the building!

DAVID F. ASHTON - In front of the Westmoreland location of her Silver Lining store, retiring owner Karen Graves, left, spends a moment with the new co-owners, Lyn Perkins and her mom, Lori Perkins. Those who regularly visited her Westmoreland store, "The Silver Lining", over the decades were startled when recently its owner, Karen Graves, began to tell customers she was retiring.

But the store won't go away, Graves assured; "It's in good hands with new owners – Lyn Perkins, and her mom Lori Perkins – who plan to move the upscale women's consignment clothing store to the City of Milwaukie soon."

Graves told THE BEE she bought the store, which has been in business since 1983, from the woman who started it – Lila Ulrich – and she later bought the building from her as well.

"It's hard to believe how time has gone by; this is been a great business for me, for three decades now," Graves said wistfully. "I thank all of the wonderful customers who have shopped here over the years."

For those unfamiliar with "The Silver Lining", its business model is called a "consignment store". Graves explained, "People bring in clothing for me to sell; when it sells, they get the profit, and the shop retains a commission for selling it."

Over the years, the owner said, she may have consigned as many as a million garments – or more. "I can't come close to giving you an exact number, but I know I've touched a lot of clothing!"

While she's enjoyed running the store, it's been a seven-days-a-week business, and Graves said she's ready for a change. "I'm to take a sabbatical and go climb some mountains – I am a 'Mazama Climb Leader' – and want to do some climbing and trekking, perhaps in Nepal, while I can still walk and move!"

But she will miss her customers and consignors, Graves admitted, because they've become "like family" over the years, including the new owners.

"Lori Perkins, the new co-owner, has been a customer for years, as has her daughter and co-owner Lyn – I think she was about five years old when she first started coming in – who has worked here for the last four years.

"Now that Lyn and Lori are going to take over the store, I feel that my 'Silver Lining family' is continuing, and moving on," Graves smiled.

The new owners are looking forward to the customers who come in every week for the "thrill of the hunt"; the customers who have moved away and stop by, when in town; and the once-a-year shoppers who dislike the "mall stores".

"It's true, the store is moving from Westmoreland soon, but it's not going far; we're looking at a lease in downtown Milwaukie," new co-owner Lyn Perkins told THE BEE. "We're hoping that our customers would be willing to drive just a few minutes further down the road, to still come shop at 'The Silver Lining'."

Keep up with the progress of the store's transition, online – www.silverliningco.com

But, you recall, Graves also owns the building "The Silver Lining" is moving out of. So what is she going to do with that? "The Bull and the Bee" – for seven years open south of the Post Office on Bybee Boulevard, and which offers baby gear, clothing, toys, books and gifts for young children and moms – will be moving into that space in April, according to that shop's owner, Barbara Wright.


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