I did some retail recon last week, visiting three small furniture stores around Boston. My goal was to assess the market: pricing, inventory, presentation and customer service. The experience was depressing.
All three stores seem to have barely survived the downturn of 2008. A telltale sign: one dispirited salesperson per store. I wandered around without an offer of assistance - or even a flicker of interest. Some showrooms were dark and uninviting. If I worked up the courage to enter one of those caves, a motion sensor would turn on the lights - grudgingly, it seemed to me.
Walls were bare. Here and there, I saw some pastel prints with thin gold frames, relics of the 1980s. The lamps were old and dusty. Clearly, it had been decades since these merchants had stocked up on accessories.
I hurried back to Hanover. Suddenly, I felt newly grateful for the good luck and hard work that enabled us to survive a downturn that had weakened or wiped out so many in our business.
Inside FCG, shoppers strolled the brightly lit showrooms. Our sales associates were briskly helping people find the special items they were seeking. Our showroom is alive, I thought, and filled with up-to-date furniture and stylish accent pieces.
Today is the first of November, a good time to remember to be grateful for blessings big and small. Furniture Consignment Gallery not only survived the downturn of 2008, but we continue to spread our wings. Next week, we will open our mattress department in our Plymouth showroom where we will have several new Gold Bond mattresses on display. We have something special going on in our three showrooms, Hanover, Plymouth and Chestnut Hill, and it is the staffers who make the retail magic happen here every day.
We do our best to keep it fresh with quality furniture and up-to-date accessories in our showrooms. And all that merchandise also happens to be the best bargains you'll find in or around Boston.