Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

Life Lessons Learned from Basketball: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, April 05, 2019 @ 04: 06 PM

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Up in the bleachers of the middle-school gym, we cheered till our voices were hoarse. Now, the game was tied and the clock was running out. All the parents and coaches were on edge, watching the players fight to the point of exhaustion for every point on the basketball court.

Seconds before the end of the quarter, the ball came soaring through the air, landing with a resounding thunk in the arms of our ten-year-old, Robbie. I gasped. He turned towards the basket and –

Let’s hit pause here. I’ve got to interrupt this story to provide some background.

Robbie is, to say the least, a reluctant participant in basketball. Every Saturday when it was time to suit up, his shoulders would slouch. In the car, I’d try to pump him up for the game. He’d change the subject. On the court, he looked pained, like he had pebbles in his sneakers. He didn’t enjoy the game. He endured it.

But last Saturday, the sports gods delivered him the opportunity to shine. In that moment, the game was his to win or lose. With almost-impossible grace and precision, he tossed the ball high. It swished through the net.

His face was jubilant. But a shocked silence filled the gym. Robbie had sunk the ball in the other team’s basket, giving his opponents the victory. When he realized his mistake, he shrugged his shoulders and walked off the court.

“Oops,” he said with an impish smile. “Didn’t mean to do that.”

I knew long ago that Robbie was never going to be a basketball player, but that’s when I realized I might have an artist. After all, artists are not afraid to do the unexpected, push the boundaries, and make mistakes without shame or judgement.

The world has lots of basketball players. What it needs is more artists. Actually, I believe we need more artists in schools, in government and in corporate America. We need artists to challenge conventional wisdom. That’s how innovation is born.

At FCG, that’s what we try to do. We’re unique. Our inventory changes dramatically every week. We sell new items in new ways. Sometimes, we make mistakes. Our loyal customers are unfazed. New ones stop by and marvel, “Wow! This isn’t what I expected from consignment.”

We are different every week. Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, said no man ever steps in the same river twice because he isn’t the same man and it isn’t the same river. That’s true for us. You’ll never shop in the same showroom twice. There is always something new and unexpected at FCG.

Beware Cut-rate Movers if You Treasure Your Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, March 29, 2019 @ 08: 03 PM

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He sauntered into the showroom, snapping his fingers and rocking to the beat of the rap music seeping out of his enormous silver headphones. “Wazzup, man?” he drawled. He pointed towards the parking lot, where his friend was slouching against a battered old pick-up truck flecked with mud, smoking a cigarette.

“We’re here,” he said, “to get some lady’s table.”

My heart sank. Yesterday, an elegant woman with impeccable taste had purchased an enormous round pedestal table with a beveled glass top for the foyer of her mansion. Did she actually hire Haul Ass Moving Company? I looked skeptically at the pair. Their tattooed arms were as thin as toothpicks. This didn’t look promising. 

Uber-style companies are moving into the moving business. With rates lower than more established competitors, they provide short-haul moving services to budget-conscious customers. Like Uber, though, they’re getting off to a rocky start. Finding reliable, experienced help, for one, is a big challenge.

Take the two rubes who showed up at our store earlier this week, for example. Unlike experienced movers, they didn’t have any of the equipment necessary to move a large and heavy table safely: no dolly, no padding, no straps, and, unfortunately, no clue.

“Try liftin’ it,” the first guy said, gesturing at his pal to move to the other side of the table. Grunting mightily, they gave it a go – and failed. The table didn’t budge an inch. “Hey,” the pal said, “let’s roll it!”

My blood pressure soared. The table the woman had purchased was flawless and costly. That wouldn’t be the case if entrusted to the care of Haul Ass Moving Co. These two weren’t going to deliver anything but damage and despair. I knew I had to step in and stop this catastrophe from happening.

“Sorry, guys,” I said firmly. “I can’t let anyone but a professional mover take this table.” The pair actually looked relieved. One of the men admitted that his real profession is helping bands set up at a local bar. The other guy was just, I guess, an assistant helper.

Moving quality furniture isn’t a job for the inexperienced. Once you’ve made an investment in a piece you love, please don’t hire some shoddy unknown company to bring it home. You’re taking a big risk. Do you really want a piece of furniture with dings, dents or shattered glass dumped on your doorstep?

Sometimes, I agree, Uber-like companies can provide a cost-effective solution if you are moving a small and lightweight piece of furniture. But I wouldn’t trust them with large, costly or fragile items. FCG offers local white glove, economical, reliable and prompt delivery services to our customers. We can't help with every move, but in those instances we'll recommend the right company for the job.  

Trapped in a Furniture Truck and Other Adventures of a 10-Year-Old Boy

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 23, 2019 @ 11: 37 AM

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Earlier this week, amid the excitement over the arrival of truckloads of new furniture from the upscale store Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams at FCG, we somehow managed to lose our son, Robbie. 

Robbie, 10, a red-haired dynamo, is a regular visitor to our store in Hanover. He’ll spend an hour or so there doing homework after school until it’s time for sports. This week, though, we were racing to unload the furniture and get it ready for sale, so we pressed him into service.

Robbie’s job was to gather up torn wrapping. But the kid is legendary at escaping the chore trap. Tom Sawyer has nothing on him. Mostly, he spent his time bouncing on chairs. After a while, he wandered off. 

Honestly, we were working so feverishly we didn’t notice. After all, it isn’t every day that we get more than 100 pieces of new and nearly new Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Robbie’s escape went unnoticed … until we heard a faint cry from the back of a truck parked our parking lot. 

“Help! Get me out of here!” 

Apparently, Robbie had been poking around in another truck when he found a gorgeous blue velvet sofa. Mitchell Gold’s legendary lush fabric and pillows being what they are, that sofa was irresistible to a chore-weary boy. It beckoned him to lie down, stretch out and take a nap. Which he did. 

Unaware, the driver slammed down the door on the back of the truck, hopped in and moved the vehicle to a remote corner of the parking lot. Robbie was jostled awake. When we finally rescued him, he was unrepentant. “Funny quote from Robbie!” he said. 

We’re tired but triumphant this weekend. The Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture includes clearance items, discontinued furniture, customer returns and retired floor samples. They’re at our stores in in Hanover and Natick at prices 40% to 70% off suggested retail. (All sales are final. Neither Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams or FCG will accept returns.) 

Don’t miss this opportunity to score a bargain on Mitchell Gold. While many pieces are new, we can’t say no one has ever sat on them. Robbie snagged that honor. We’re just glad he wasn’t accidentally delivered to your home.

Want to Save the Planet? Buy Consignment

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, March 15, 2019 @ 03: 37 PM

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With a grin as big and toothy as a Kennedy’s, the CEO stood at the podium and basked in the crowd’s applause. He’d just announced that his company would be making a donation to a local charity and he was milking the moment for all it was worth. Behind him, a spotlight hovered over his company’s logo, projected ten feet tall on a screen.

Corporate social responsibility is in high vogue these days. For CEOs, it’s a kind of charity Ironman. They’re in a constant competition to tell the public they’re doing good for the planet, for the community, and for any of a myriad other causes. (Case in point: pink ribbons are plastered everywhere, including on bags of cat food, racecars and airplanes.)

Today’s consumers are demanding more social accountability from corporate America, and that’s a good thing. But some of this charity is based on a less-than-noble calculus. Lots of companies are bragging about their philanthropy just to burnish their reputations and sell more stuff.

Ask that CEO. Would his company have made that donation if it weren’t promised a stage, a spotlight and a grip-and-grin photo in the local newspaper?

Charity dinners like that one spark a dark cynicism in me these days. For years, I’ve watched big furniture companies play a similar game. They boast about eco-friendly products made from non-toxic materials but their efforts are often misguided or minimal.

Mango wood is the latest of the so-called earth-friendly materials. After their fruit-bearing years are over, the fast-growing trees are being harvested for wood to make furniture. Trouble is, the wood splits in dry climates. Which is kind of a hazard for you, the consumer, when company plops down at the dining table for Thanksgiving.

We’re in a new era of disposable furniture. Cheap sofas, tables and chairs from Asia are flooding the market here in the U.S. This furniture isn’t built to last and, a decade or so into this trend, it is clogging our landfills.

At FCG, we believe – modestly and quietly – that the best way to preserve our planet and our resources is to re-use quality furniture. When you buy consignment, you are not only getting a bargain, you are doing the right thing. It’s recycling at its best.

What You’ll Find in an FCG Showroom: the Perfectly Imperfect

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 09, 2019 @ 09: 58 AM

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Tires squealing, I tore into the parking lot, slammed on the brakes and dashed into the restaurant. My boss, the manager, glared at me and checked his watch hoping to bust me for being late for my shift. He despised college kids. I didn’t like him much either but I needed the money. 

I grabbed an apron and got to work. The Fifth Quarter Restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky was renowned for three things: all-you-can-eat prime rib, crab legs and a fruit-and-salad bar. My responsibilities were simple. Early in my shift, I chopped fruits and vegetables. Then, once the dinner service got underway, I washed the mountain of dishes that piled up precariously all night. 

Fresh strawberries were the star of the fruit bar that night. I had an enormous bowl of berries to inspect and slice. I plucked one out of the bowl and held it up. Seeing a small blemish, I tossed it into the garbage. Same with the second berry. And the third. In fact, after a while, it looked like the entire batch might be destined for the trash. 

“What the heck!?!” the manager roared when he caught sight of the rejected berries. “Don’t throw away perfectly good fruit.” Under his fierce glare, I quickly learned how to slice off the small blemishes and save most of the sweet fruit. 

Every morning, I have strawberries with my oatmeal and it serves as a reminder of what I learned in that part-time job. I try to look beyond minor flaws and discern true value. I keep in mind when I’m evaluating furniture for the showroom or resumes from job-seekers. Nothing – and no one – is perfect. 

That’s an important concept for our customers, too. In our three stores, we carry lots of high-quality furniture made from the finest lumber. The joinery is exact. The finishes are burnished to a warm glow. These pieces are classics, built to last. Yet some shoppers will reject a piece because of a small scratch or dent.

Life has a tendency to nick and scratch even the most resilient of us. Don’t let yourself get obsessed with perfection in people or furniture. Embrace and celebrate the tiny flaws. They are just signs that we don’t live our lives – and we can’t live our lives – swathed in bubble wrap.

A New, Isolated Tribe? Yes, Shoppers Who’ve Never Tried Consignment

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 02, 2019 @ 11: 37 AM

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Attention, anthropologists. Cancel that trip to Papua New Guinea. You don’t need to go to strange and uncharted lands to find an undiscovered tribe. I’ve just identified one here in our showroom in Natick, MA. 

Homo consignment newbie-us. 

Earlier this week, I was in our dining section when I spotted the species. However, they are quite shy, typically avoiding notice by moving stealthily and avoiding our sales staff. 

In any case, I could see the pair had discovered an attractive dining set. Like a dog sniffing a bee, they were in turn curious, confused and cautious. Together, they would approach the set. The male would tilt his head and squint at the wide cherry wood grain approvingly, then leap backwards as if the table was on fire. 

Then, the female would gingerly touch the gleaming finish, nod at her mate, and step away. After a while, the two found the price tag, which they studied intensely, whispering to each other. 

I watched their scouting expedition for a few minutes, then I felt compelled to interact with them. “That set is a terrific deal,” I called out from a safe distance. They were startled at first. But after a few minutes, and more whispering, they apparently decided there was nothing to fear. 

“It’s our first time in your store,” the woman confided. “Honestly,” she added, “I never expected to see such beautiful furniture.” Her hand grazed the back of a chair softly. “This set would be perfect in our home,” she added, glancing shyly at her husband. 

FCG has been in business for almost three decades and yet there are still lots of shoppers who are unfamiliar with the concept of consignment. We can spot them instantly. First, there’s curiosity, then fascination, then addiction. 

There’s also heartbreak. I explained consignment to the newbies, gently underscoring an important idea: FCG is a treasure hunt. Walk away from a delightful find and there’s a possibility another buyer will scoop it up quickly. 

“We need some time to think about this,” the husband blustered, as he nudged his wife out of the store. Within an hour, the set had sold. 

I thought of the newbies as I rang up the sale. They’ll be back this weekend, and they’ll be crushed to find the set gone. But I’m quite confident they’ll have learned their lesson. They won’t hesitate to buy the next dining set with which they fall in love. Welcome, newbies, to FCG.

First, the Ecstasy, Then the Agony: A Red Wine Story

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 23, 2019 @ 10: 39 AM

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Our delivery men tenderly carried it into the showroom. It was a gem of a sofa, A.Rudin, custom ordered from the Boston Design Center at a cost of more than $7,000. And it was worth every penny. The sofa was a soft buttery color. Everything about it – the solid wood ebonized frame, the thick cushions – whispered luxury and comfort.

“There’s got to be some sort of flaw,” I murmured to myself. “No one could possibly want to consign such a perfect piece of furniture.”

I couldn’t detect even the slightest sign of wear on that A.Rudin. No derriere had ever wiggled into any of the seat cushions, no shoulder had ever rested against the back. No one had ever, it seemed, sprawled the length of the sofa reading a book or chatting on the phone. 

I pulled the cushions off and flipped them over to examine the sofa in closer detail, and that’s when I found the evidence: a pale pink stain, the telltale sign of a red-wine spill. 

I couldn’t help but envision the scene: a young professional couple, newly flush with cash after a big promotion. They’d hired an interior designer, then waited months for their urban loft to be completely furnished. After six months of anticipation, the last piece to arrive was the A.Rudin. 

They rushed home from work the day it was delivered. “Let’s celebrate!” they cried, uncorking a cabernet sauvignon they’d brought home from that honeymoon tour of Napa Valley. They cuddled on the couch, clinking glasses and giggling over their good fortune. Then, a little tipsy, one of them tipped a glass slightly, just enough to soak a cushion with a splash of cab. 

Red wine is a homemaker’s most dreaded stain, almost impossible to remove completely. The young couple dashed for towels to mop up the excess, then blotted and fretted for an hour. She went to bed with a headache. He urgently texted the interior designer. 

From her, he would learn the new homeowner’s hardest lesson. All new things – so perfect when they first arrive – will eventually be stained, chipped, dented and worn. 

“Patina is more valuable than perfection,” the wise designer said. “All those spots and dents on your furniture will remind you of special moments in your life. My best advice is to flip the cushion over and forget about the stain. The sofa is even more beautiful than it was three hours ago.” 

Visit our Natick showroom this weekend and take a look at the A.Rudin. It is gorgeous, and you’ll barely notice the tiniest pink stain on the underside of the cushion. Every item in our showroom has a story. After all, they are consigned from homes all over New England. In the case of the A.Rudin, you can enjoy my story – or make up one of your own.

White Tag 15% Off President's Day Sale

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 16, 2019 @ 12: 17 PM

 

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PRESIDENTS DAY SALE
 
Save 15% on all white tag items now through Monday! All of our non-consigned new items, including mattresses and custom orders are now 15% off in-store or over the phone. MANY white tagged items can be found in our Lighting and Accessories collections. It's a great time to get deals on regularly full-priced inventory!
  
HIDDEN TREASURES: RED-PEN FINAL MARKDOWNS
 
The Spring real estate market is flooding our stores with incoming inventory and our showrooms need some space! To make way for the incoming, we've parsed through every item in our stores and the result is store wide markdowns on over 400 incredible items. These items can be found in our Final Markdowns section!  How do you know which items have been marked down? Tags that have a final price are highlighted with a red pen. Our Red-Pen markdowns are significant price drops from the original purchase price. You'll find high end name brands, current styles and and incredible quality. Shop online or visit our showrooms for values not found anywhere else. How about a Baker console table or a  Pottery Barn Loft bed? Even a stunning Restoration Hardware hutch has been marked down. Our store managers have been marking down items all week! Check out our final markdowns section or come see the blue tags with red-pen price slashes in our stores. Out of all the President's Day sales events in furniture stores this weekend, you'll find none better than our 15% off white tag sale and our store wide Red-Pen markdowns.  

Resist the Urge to Shop Online at Midnight. For Quality Furniture, Visit FCG First

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 09, 2019 @ 01: 13 PM

 

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Some thirty or so years ago, in the mid-1980s, the New York Times published a solemn little piece advising its millions of readers on the art of choosing furniture. Buyers, the newspaper huffed, are falling for style without due consideration of quality. Danger, the Times warned, was everywhere: visible glue drippings, uneven seams, broken stitching, creaks, cracks, and dozens of other sins.

“Ask questions!” the Times scolded its readers like a strict nanny. “Read tags! Look underneath! Poke about!” The Times even went so far as to suggest that a buyer hoist a sofa up into the air to see if it would wobble or sag in the middle.

Turns out, the Gray Lady – as the Times is affectionately known – was quite prescient. Furniture-makers were beginning to trim costs and boost profits by manufacturing in Asia in the early 1980s. As a result, the quality of the product was suffering.

The Times’ sober little story was an early, and necessary, warning of things to come. And, as quaint as it might have seemed at the time, the Times’ advice is all the more vital today as more and more consumers buy their furniture online.

Nowadays, the risk of buying poor quality furniture are even higher, thanks to the internet. Online furniture retailers offer stunning photos furniture that entice buyers by the millions. And point-and-click shopping make it so easy! You no longer need to spend your weekends bouncing on chairs and mattresses in furniture showrooms.

But, in real life, that furniture you see online may be uncomfortable and completely unsuitable to the daily wear-and-tear of family life. Yes, you may fall in love with a stylish sofa online. But once you’ve installed it in your living room that material may be as scratchy as Brillo. Yes, that dining table looks gorgeous in the photos. But in real life the legs are too wobbly for a holiday dinner party.

At FCG, we’re big believers in shopping the old-fashioned way. So stop by one of our three showrooms and sprawl out on the sofa you are thinking of buying. The New York Times had it right. When it comes to furniture, quality is something you need to feel, to touch, to hoist, and to hold against your cheek. At FCG, we promise you can do all these things – and still be happy with what you are bringing into your home.

Got Work? We Have Desks Galore at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 02, 2019 @ 03: 01 PM

 

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With obvious pride, she swiped through a series of photos on her cell phone to show me the computer armoire she wanted to consign. Eight feet tall and gorgeously crafted in cherry, it was massive. If someone had ordered up a sarcophagus for Godzilla, this would have fit the bill. 

Twenty years ago, her armoire was an elegant solution. Like a Swiss Army knife, it ingeniously unfolded into a work station with a hinged drop-down table and shelving for the printer. It was designed for an era in which computers were bulky things with large monitors and big blinking towers.

Today, thanks to wifi and portable devices, the armoire is as unnecessary as Grandma’s hi-fi console from the 1960s. I hated to break the news to her, but I suspected she already knew. 

“I can’t sell your armoire,” I said. “It’s obsolete.” 

She took a moment to digest this nugget of info, then recovered quickly. “Can I just give it to you?” she asked. “I’ve got to get it out of the house. We’re selling – and the buyers don’t want it!”

She left disappointed that she couldn’t unload the armoire on FCG, but the incident got me thinking. Technology has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. So have our work habits. But most of us still need a dedicated place to tackle tasks like paying the bills or homework.

Here are some things to consider when you’re designing your workspace: 

Location: Technology allows us to work from almost anywhere. A kitchen island or a dining table can quickly morph into a workspace. It’s central and social. The downside: spaghetti sauce on the math worksheet or the bills. Maybe you do need a desk. 

Surface space: How much space do you need to get work done? Do you prefer to spread out your paperwork, laptop, calculator and phone? Or do you prefer a tidy little spot tucked in a corner? Do you need a large desk for multiple computer screens? Would you prefer a warm and rustic wood surface or a sleek glass surface? 
Storage: Do you need storage? Drawers are handy for the office supplies. What about files? If you do maintain files, you’ll likely want executive-style desk with file drawers or a credenza.

Style: Antique desks tug on some buyers’ hearts. They hint at stories of long-ago endeavors such as novels written or music composed. But contemporary desks with wood tops and chrome legs are also popular now. Their clean and simple lines seem to suggest clear thinking.

You can find most any type of desk to meet your needs at FCG. Well, that is you’ll find almost anything, with one exception: a giant computer armoire.