A Carthage couple are pleased to bring a new store to the local area.

A Carthage couple are pleased to bring a new store to the local area.

Doug and Ann Dahl held their grand opening for Plato's Closet in Joplin Thursday morning. Besides their ear-to-ear smiles, locals could see how it was going judging by the traffic and lines of people.

“We had more than 100 people in line when we opened this morning,” Doug said Thursday afternoon.

“We knew something had to come to help this community after the tornado, and this is just a blessing we're able to do this. The support from the Joplin and Carthage area has been outstanding.”

Plato's Closet is a buy and re-sell business for name-brand clothing, jewelry, accessories and more. Local shoppers are able to bring in their gently used items and receive cash on the spot. Six weeks ago, the Dahls stepped into the empty space at 320 S. Geneva St., and began only purchasing the name-brand stock.

“There was nothing here, all this that you see was all given (sold) from the community,” Ann said. “There's so much you can do in the community with this.”

The Dahls moved to Carthage 18 years ago and started their family. The community will recognize Ann has a former Carthage R-9 teacher. She taught a collaborative nine years at the junior high, taking time off to have their two sons, Ethan, 13, and Alex, 10. Doug brings AT&T media consultant experience; combining his desire with Ann's organization, the couple have made a great team to bring the Plato's Closet franchise to Joplin.

“We have 15 employees and we'd love to see that grow,” Doug said. “The nice thing about this is the opportunity to offer jobs. We have several Carthage students, Joplin, Carl Junction - just a good mix of our area … The only problem we see is we might outgrow this location.”

There are more than 350 stores in the U.S., and Canada. Before the Dahls opened their store on Thursday, locals had to travel to Springfield, Tulsa or northwest Arkansas to get the bargains at a Plato's Closet.

“Keeping a well-rounded store with happy customers and employees is a challenge all businesses face, but they (the Dahls) have it nailed,” said Mary Klapperich, corporate trainer who traveled from the Plato's Closet headquarters in Minneapolis. “They're not afraid to work. Joplin loves them.”

As people came in the door Thursday afternoon, most headed for the selling station before hitting the racks of discounted-brands.

“We just want kids to know we're here,” Doug said. “In our economy like it is today, you have to find the best deals with the best quality product. We have kids trying to keep up with each other with the brands, and their parents can't afford it. Our store is an opportunity to get those $100 jeans at 70 percent cheaper.”

Plato's Closet is located just east of Starbucks on 4th Street in Joplin (320 S. Geneva St.) Store hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Visit www.platoclosetjoplin.com for more information. Plato's Closet is under the Winmark Corporation with Play It Again Sports, Once Upon a Child and Music Go Round.