|February 21, 2013
Gen's Consignments offers locals an ecclectic selection of fashion, jewelry and treasure
By Alyssa Nenemay
Gen Huitt took time from her musical career to establish Gen’s Consignments, a tribally owned store which houses a variety of pre-owned items. “I love to sell and trade,” she said. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)
POLSON — Nestled on the skirts of Polson in a little white house is Gen’s Consignments, a tribally owned boutique filled with previously owned merchandise.
Storeowner and founder, Gen Huitt, is known for her boundless energy and folk music career. The entrepreneur said opening a store has been lifelong goal. “Growing up, like a lot of people, I got all my clothes from garage sales or thrift shops. I was thankful to have clothes and I enjoyed them. I always wanted to own a boutique or specialty store to share that,” said Huitt.
Huitt’s store features an array of tribal jewelry, some of which were made locally. (Alyssa Nenemay Photo)
From sports jerseys to turquoise jewelry, Huitt offers a diverse collection of goods. She has dance regalia, business jackets, baby clothes, and even a Louis Vuitton purse. “I want to have something for everyone. From the rich and famous to the poor and homeless, we have something for everyone. If I don’t have it, I’ll find it,” she said.
Huitt applied for and received one of nine Indian Business Assistance Project grants awarded through the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe’s Economic Development office. Grant recipients received up to $7,000 in financial support for specific projects as well as assistance including business counseling and developmental courses.
Huitt’s store features an array of clothing, some of which have a tribal flair such as a Pendleton jacket and women’s jingle dresses. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)
Huitt’s store began with an inventory purchase from a woman closing her store in Arlee. The inventory was heavily colored with brand name western clothing. Because she didn’t want to be labeled solely as a western clothing store, Huitt began introducing items from her personal collection. “I’ve bought treasures from around the world: Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Hawaii. Every time I travel, I find something. So people will see a lot of that in the store,” she said.
Most recently Huitt reached out to a former student to help her promote her store. Fellow musician Charles Fyant, took photos and produced a commercial for Gen’s Consignments. Huitt taught Fyant to play the guitar many years ago and he offered to donate his work. “Gen has always been there for me, so today I return the favor,” he said.
Charles Fyant, a local musician, donated work to produce a commercial Gen’s Consignments. Huitt was Fyant’s guitar instructor. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)
A unique aspect to Huitt’s store is her keen eye for trading. Many of the items in the store were the result of these exchanges. “Tribal people have traded and bartered forever. It sustained us and kept us alive. In fact, one of the best traders I’ve ever met was (CS&KT member) Agnes Kenmille. She was the best hide tanner and she loved to trade,” she said.
Although Huitt has only recently opened her business, she said it takes a community effort to stay in operation. “I need all of you to make (the shop) a success. I can’t do it alone. Come support a tribally owned shop. You’ll get a better deal here than Ross,” she said.
Some items in the store come from Huitt’s own collection, like a Louis Vutton purse. “I wanted to have something for everyone,” she said. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)
Aside from trading, Huitt also uses her store as center for donations. A portion of her profit is donated to the Evergreen Elder’s Home in Polson. For more information, call Gen’s Consignments at (406) 571-2011.