In Search of the Perfect Ottoman and Finding Treasures Galore

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 04, 2018 @ 10: 42 AM


She strutted into the showroom, a large woman in a billowing sundress and flip-flops. Her flip-flops snapped sharply as she plowed up and down every aisle in the store, pausing every now and then to study a piece of furniture. 

Suddenly, she came to an abrupt halt in front of a massive and magnificent breakfront by Henkel Harris. Ten feet tall and nine feet wide, the eleven-drawer cabinet features a spectacular mirrored back. “I want to see the house that piece of furniture came out of!” she said loudly. 

Next, she paused in front of an ornate secretary desk from the Maggiolini Collection of Italy, a piece so stunning it should probably have its own museum. The desk had dozens of tiny drawers and secret compartments to stash away a lifetime of talismans. “It’s just too beautiful,” she said, shaking her head. 

“I wish I had the home for a piece like that,” she said with a sigh. “But all I really need a little ottoman. Just something to rest my feet on…” 

We showed her every ottoman in the store, but nothing quite fit exactly what she needed. Come back next week, we advised her, because our inventory is constantly changing with new pieces added every day.

High-quality consignment furniture was a new concept for her, she admitted. And clearly she was astounded at the idea that the showroom could be filled with a treasure trove of new pieces within a week or a month. 

After another quick spin around the showroom, she made her way to the exit. “I’ve got to tell my sister,” she said, then added thoughtfully. “Why would anyone shop anywhere else?” 

We agree wholeheartedly. Our new customer will be back soon and we have no doubt that we’ll find her the perfect ottoman for her home.

At FCG We Employ a Pricing Strategy That Works

Posted by Jay Frucci on Mon, July 30, 2018 @ 10: 37 AM


With an imperial wag of his finger, the customer summoned me over to where he was studying a piece of furniture at our store in Natick. He pointed to a coffee table, then nudged one end of the table, studying me sharply. The piece rocked like a see-saw. 

I reached underneath the piece and turned a little adjuster that was hidden under the table. Instantly, it stabilized. Proud of myself, I glanced up, expecting the man to be pleased but he just looked deflated. 

Just as silently, he peered at the coffee table even more closely and pointed to a small scratch in the wood. I whipped a furniture repair marker out of my back pocket, dabbed a little color on the table and the scratch vanished. 

I gestured at the table to demonstrate my good work, but the customer looked even more frustrated. He pointed to the price on the tag and frowned. That’s when I got the point of all his unspoken complaints about the coffee table. Like a yard sale haggler, he wanted a better price. 

This customer was employing a negotiating tactic that’s pretty common on our showroom floor. Plenty of customers hope to get a better price by calling our attention to tiny flaws and other imperfections on our consignment pieces. 

Here’s what they may not realize: we inspect every single item closely before we accept it for consignment and then we price each item based on condition. Some pieces have small blemishes that are repaired easily. Other pieces have issues that cannot be fixed with a touch-up marker. Either way, FCG’s prices reflect precisely our expert opinion of the value of the piece. 

This isn’t a judgement we make lightly. We discuss our proposed pricing with our consignors before accepting their items. Our valuations are made based on condition, quality of construction, brand and age. 

We process a lot of items each week and some items occasionally get overlooked. In those instances, we'll try to adjust when we can, but otherwise, we're confident our prices are fair and true. Our customers need not play any games when they’ve found a piece of furniture they love. 

No Business as Usual in FCG’s Hometown as We Pause to Honor a Slain Police Officer

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, July 21, 2018 @ 09: 56 AM


In Hanover, MA, hometown of FCG, it’s anything but business as usual this week. In fact, I’m setting aside the usual funny blog fare this week to honor the loss of Sergeant Michael Chesna, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sunday. 

Sgt. Chesna, 42, was just finishing his night shift early when he confronted a 20-year-old man who allegedly was throwing rocks early that morning at a home in Weymouth. When Chesna ordered the man to stop, the man hurled a rock at his head, knocking the officer to the ground, according to published reports. The suspect then allegedly took the officer’s gun, shooting and killing Chesna. 

Sgt. Chesna leaves behind a wife and two young children. He was a decorated U.S. Army veteran who had served two tours with the 10th Mountain Division. He was laid to rest this week after a funeral Mass at St. Mary’s of the Sacred Heart in Hanover, my family’s parish. 

About 3,000 police officers from all over New England paid their last respects to Chesna on Thursday in a silent and somber ritual, standing at attention outside the church. My three boys and I rode our bikes over. Just to be there. You could hear nothing but the movement of the officers feet as they shuffled, in formation, in and out of the cathedral. The silence was powerful. Earlier, an endless wave of blue – uniformed police on motorcycles – had ridden down the main street of town. 

In a small way, our family helped honor Sgt. Chesna. My son and his soccer team handed out water bottles to officers the morning of the funeral. We raised the flag in front of our store and placed large blue ribbons along the roadway as did other businesses and members of the community.

Whatever little we all did, it’s not nearly enough. A young woman is a widow. Two children are fatherless. A community is left without a dedicated police officer. Today, the world seems a little sadder.

Image credit: Greg Derr -The Patriot Ledger

FCG Majors in High End, Pre-owned Furniture with a Minor in Psychology

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sun, July 15, 2018 @ 03: 03 PM


She was on a tear. Barreling through the showroom, she screeched to a halt in front of every chest of drawers, then yanked open and slammed shut every drawer. Clearly, she was in a fury and our poor furniture was taking the brunt of it.

Off to the side stood her teenage son, with tousled hair and a scruffy beard, feigning boredom. He yawned and studied his phone, pointedly ignoring the commotion his mother was making. His nonchalance seemed to infuriate her even more.

Hoping to defuse a potential explosion – and protect the furniture – I ventured over to the woman and discreetly paused nearby, trying to look helpful and sympathetic. She turned, blew her hair out of her eyes, and let out an exasperated sigh.

“He’s moving off campus,” she said. “He needs a dresser for his apartment.” Then, her voice got louder and her tone got sharper, apparently in an attempt to pierce his adolescent armor of phony deafness. “And,” she said threateningly, “he also needs to pick a damn major!”

Then, she hurled the final verbal spear at him. “I’m not paying for an extra year of college!”

He yawned again.

As the father of three boys, one of whom is starting college this fall, I watched the interaction with horror. Suddenly, I feared for my future. Five years of tuition payments?!? Per kid? That wasn’t part of the financial plan! I wanted to pummel the kid with pillows from a nearby couch. His indifference was maddening.

After a few minutes, I relaxed. Of all the choices we make in life, picking a major in college is one of the least consequential. I was an English major at the University of Kentucky. Now, I‘m the proud co-owner with my wife Diana of Furniture Consignment Gallery.

Even FCG has changed majors. Years ago, we majored strictly in traditional furniture. Now, we major in contemporary, mid-century, country and more. And our customers love the diverse selection.

I wanted to offer those tidbits of wisdom to the irate mom, but one look at her told me my comments probably wouldn’t cool her fury. But I did decide to have a talk with my college-bound son that night. Here’s what I’m planning to say: “Pick a major, kiddo, any major. You’ve got four years to study and have a good time – and not a minute more.”

Kids at Camp? That’s Freedom for Mom and Dad

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, July 07, 2018 @ 12: 02 PM


Here’s the packing list for our sons’ summer camp: swimsuit, washable sleeping bag, socks and underwear, beach towel, soap, shampoo, flashlight, toothbrush and tooth paste, teddy bear, pajamas, sunscreen, and stamps.

Not on the list: cellphone. In fact, it’s forbidden at camp. 

Personally, I‘d be thrilled to take a break from my cellphone, which rings, beeps and vibrates pretty much non-stop. But my kids think this ban on cellphones is an outrageous social injustice. No texting? No Snapchats? They have serious doubts they’ll survive the week. 

Meanwhile, Diana and I are crafting our list for week our boys are away: a case of wine, a night on the town, a harbor cruise, a walk on the beach, a peaceful bike ride, a good book for uninterrupted reading on the front porch. It sounds blissful. 

Don’t get me wrong. We love our boys, but we also love the freedom of that once-a-year vacation from parenting that we get when they’re away at camp. And after that weeklong respite, we actually enjoy their high-testosterone antics again – at least for a while. 

Our kids and your kids are always welcome at Furniture Consignment Gallery. You’ll even find a bowl of lollipops in each of our three stores and, every now and then, some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. So feel free to shop with the kids in tow. 

But if you, like us, have a kid-free week in your summer, have fun making your list of things to do while they’re away. And when the bottle of sunscreen runs dry, stop by one of our stores and wander around imagining the possibilities. A new dining table? A luxurious leather recliner? After all, when the kids are away, that’s when the adults can play.

Glory, Glory Hallelujah! A Teenager, Home Alone, Celebrates His Independence

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, June 30, 2018 @ 11: 17 AM


Diana and I have been looking forward to getting away for a few days with the boys over the 4th of July. Cade, our oldest son and a soon-to-be college freshman, apparently has been hatching other plans. 

“If you wouldn’t mind,” he said with studied nonchalance the other night. “I’d like to catch up with you guys in a few days … drive out there myself. I’ve got a few things to do around here ….”

Yikes! Is he suggesting we leave him home alone?

Suddenly, I had a flashback to the summer before I left for college. I remember making the same plea of my parents. Like my son, I was eager for a taste of freedom. I can’t fully divulge the crazy schemes I hoped to indulge that long-ago summer because, well, my mom reads my blog. (Hi, Mom!) But I’m quite sure my son is thinking along the same lines. 

We all yearn for independence. As Americans, it is our birthright. And, as the proudly independent owners of Furniture Consignment Gallery, Diana and I celebrate our freedom to own and manage and grow our small business. 

Some folks argue that the American Dream doesn’t exist anymore. We disagree. We’re living the dream every day at FCG. We are proud to have the opportunity to work hard building our business, providing great customer service and bringing you the best furniture bargains in New England. 

So, in recognition of the holiday when we celebrate our nation’s independence, we want to thank all of you for supporting us in our efforts. Let freedom ring! And, Cade, I’ll talk to your mom and get back to you on that.

The World Cup: A Global Party We’d Love to Crash

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sun, June 24, 2018 @ 09: 09 AM


Two Venezuelan gentlemen stopped by our showroom this week to discuss consigning a dining table. I asked who they were backing in the World Cup, expecting them to say their neighbor Argentina. “No,” they corrected me emphatically. “We root for Spain.” Later, I bumped into a Korean man who was monitoring the action on his smartphone while his wife was browsing. “Germany,” he said, frowning, “Lost to Mexico! Very disappointing!” 

The World Cup is in full swing this week in Moscow, and millions are riveted by the action. We Americans weren’t invited to the party; Team USA didn’t make the cut. (Neither did the Netherlands or Italy, which, for Italians, was an omen of Armageddon.) Still, along with lots of our customers, I’m finding the games thrilling. 

Sure, soccer is mostly a second-class sport in the U.S. We feast on baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. Sometimes, we’ll even take a gander at golf. But soccer? That’s been a game for the rest of the world. 

But I have to admit: I’ve gotten hooked on the World Cup. Part of the attraction, I think, is the intensity of fans’ loyalty to their teams. I love when the cameras cut away from the game in Moscow to show fans watching a televised game back home in Peru or Brazil, erupting in joy over a goal or agonizing over a missed shot. 

No wonder they call soccer “the beautiful game.” Seeing the passion that millions have for this global game is awe-inspiring. 

World Cup fans, you’ll get a warm welcome this weekend from us at FCG. Whether you’re rooting for Peru or crying for Argentina, we’re with you. You’re cheering for tiny Iceland? Go for it! Who cares if Team USA wasn’t invited to Moscow? This party is too much fun not to crash.

Furniture Trends Are Spinning Faster than a Maytag, but Not at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Mon, June 18, 2018 @ 10: 24 AM


Remember shoulder pads in the 1980s? Women looked like they had a dog bed sitting on each shoulder. Men make fashion mistakes, too. The early 2000s gave us young men waddling around in public with their pants belted around their thighs, underwear on full display.  

Fashion faux pas are a common hazard, but at least they’re fleeting. Too bad I can’t say the same about furniture faux pas. 

Ethan Allen recently introduced a new line of furniture this spring, which it calls “uptown chic.” Well, it is neither. Check out the Evansview dining table, a slab of wood sitting on top of a gold-colored metal contraption. It looks something rejected from a fake-future warehouse in Hollywood. 

Someone will offer us one of those tables on consignment in about five years. That’s typically how it works at FCG. Sometimes, we’ll get new or nearly new furniture to consign, but most of the time there’s a five-year lag. Not surprisingly, Ethan Allen is one of FCG's top selling brands, but their new line won't be able to earn a slot on our showroom floor.

Why? It’s not classic – nor is it good design. And that’s what you’ll always find at FCG: the highest-quality furniture in just about every style category on the market. Traditional? Check. Mid-century modern? Yes. Farmhouse casual? Of course.

But we’re choosy about what we allow in our showrooms at FCG. We don’t chase trends. We choose carefully what we accept for consignment. That means you get to shop a showroom filled with only the the best and most classic pieces in every style.  

Stop by one of our stores this weekend. You’ll find a vast variety of high-quality furniture classics at bargain prices. No faux pas, I promise.

Our Most Popular Promotion is Back! Pick-a-Winnah!

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, June 09, 2018 @ 08: 33 AM


It’s back! 

Last year’s promotion, “Pick-a-Winnah,” was such a hit that we’re going to run it again all weekend at Furniture Consignment Gallery. 

Have you forgotten how it works? Here’s a quick primer: Stop into any of our three showrooms, find an item you want to buy, and take the tag to the register. That’s where you get to pick-a winnah. 

At FCG, you’re guaranteed to win unlike that bet you may have put on this weekend’s Preakness. At the register, you’ll reach into a box and select a ping pong ball. On it will be written 5%, 10% or 15%, which we’ll immediately take off your purchase. 

Like all promotions, we have some rules. You only get one pick. And you can’t combine your discount with any other promotional offer. If you like the amount of your discount, keep on shopping! Once you leave the store, though, your discount is invalid. 

What exactly does that mean? Well, it means you can’t come back the next day to use your discount on a shopping spree. You don’t get to go home, take a nap, hear instructions from a heavenly choir, and hurry back to buy that buttery leather chair for an amazing price. The discount is only good while you are in our stores.

You can use the discount to buy a new mattress, a pair of lamps, a new dining table, a bedroom set or a sectional for the living room. You can use it to buy something small, like our popular Dixie Belle chalk paint. Or you can splurge on a whole-house makeover. 

But, for goodness sake, use it to buy something! Come to FCG and Pick-A-Winna and take a fine piece of furniture home with you today. This promotion ends at the close of business on Sunday.

*In-store only. Phone order discount is 5%. Discount applies at time of sale, to total sale. Can only be used once per visit. Cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. Cannot be used on prior purchases. Sale ends Sunday June 10, 2018.

Open the Door! Advice for the Class of 2018

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, June 02, 2018 @ 08: 26 AM


“Get out of the car now,” I said. “Or I’m going in there.”

My son Cade, 14, was slumped against the car door with a look of panic on his face. He was a high school freshman at the time and he had signed up for wrestling. But when I pulled up in front of the school for the first day of practice, he was suddenly paralyzed by anxiety. He’d never wrestled before. And, to be truthful, I would have been scared, too. But he wasn’t budging.

“Okay”, I said. “I’ll go tell the coach that you changed your mind.”

Holding my breath, I stepped out of the car and started a slow walk to the gym, hoping I would hear his door open behind me. I was one step away when I heard him call out: “Wait!” Cade walked past me and into the gym without saying a word. I exhaled, offered a silent thanks, then sat in the parking lot for a few minutes to calm myself.

When Cade came home that afternoon, he said practice was good. He went back the next day, and the next. He wrestled all four years of high school. Every practice and every match was difficult, but none as difficult as the decision to walk into the gym that first day. In the beginning, Cade got crushed by more seasoned wrestlers. But he learned new skills and eventually became a strong competitor. 

Tonight, Cade and many other seniors across the country will receive their high school diplomas. We, their parents, will pause to reflect on and celebrate their achievements. When Cade crosses the stage to get his diploma, I’ll be thinking about his first day of practice. He got out of the car. He stepped into the ring. He accomplished a lot. 

In a few months, there will be moments of anxiety when the car pulls up in front of his college dorm. I’m sure that decision four years ago will buoy his confidence. None of us – not even him – knows where his journey will take him. But he’s already learned a vital lesson: he has the courage to open the door.

Congratulations, Cade and the Class of 2018.