FurnitureConsignment.com Blog

Cherry Furniture Out of Vogue? Don't Be So Sure

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 07, 2017 @ 08: 18 AM

 

20171007-newsletter-header.jpgWatching the Statton Furniture dining set roll into the showroom, Brian, our store manager, looked confused. I knew it was coming. After all, I'm the one who'd said pretty loudly a couple of months ago: "No more Queen Anne!" 

Queen Anne style furniture had its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s. Prim and proper, it was immensely popular among newlywed baby boomers. But today, the cabriole legs and pad feet say granny more than grandeur. 

Still, when I saw this 2003 Queen Anne cherry dining set by Statton, I couldn't resist. Handcrafted, finished to perfection and made to last a lifetime, it's a classic. The set has the perfect blend of dark and light tones with a hint of red. 

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for cherry wood furniture.

The furniture world has changed a lot in the last couple years. Styles are churning faster than frappuccino machine at Starbucks. Rustic. Industrial. Ultra modern. And the D-I-Y crowd is slapping paint on every piece of secondhand furniture they find on Craigslist.

And yet, cherry remains the wood of choice for many American craftsmen. Joseph van Benten, Thomas Moser, Charles Webb, Stickley, Harden and Eldred Wheeler all use cherry. Why? For one, the ripples in the wood are aesthetically appealing. It's versatile. And it ages beautifully, darkening and gaining patina with time.

The Amish love cherry. Shaker furniture wouldn't be Shaker without it. Modern furniture artisans are finding ways to twist and bend cherry into amazing pieces of art. 

For those who appreciate the extraordinary, check out the patina in the aged cherry furniture in our three stores. That's why I accepted the cherry Statton for consignment. I couldn't resist seeing it in our showroom.

Gone to the Dogs? Yes, That Happens to Furniture, Too

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 30, 2017 @ 07: 57 AM

 

20170930-newsletter-header.jpg"Well, it looked great in the photos," I said glumly.

I was talking to staffers in Plymouth, where our delivery truck had just brought in a dining room table. The tabletop gleamed with nary a scratch. But I couldn't say the same about the legs. They looked like a pooch's chew toy. 

My mistake, I know. Before authorizing a pick-up by our delivery team, I'd gotten some photos from the consignor. All of them showed a table in excellent condition. Not one offered a hint of the damage done by what looked like a hybrid woodchuck-Dachshund. 

At FCG, we trust our consignors to give us full disclosure on the condition of their furniture. From time to time, we will accept flawed pieces if the damage is minimal, if the style is popular and if we can agree upon a discounted price. Many of our consignors are honest to a fault; they detail the tiniest nick. 

Other consignors are so desperate to get rid of their furniture that they photoshop away all evidence of damage. Our delivery guys are usually careful to examine furniture before loading it on the truck, but sometimes damaged pieces end up being carted into our showrooms. 

In the case of the masticated table, I called the consignor to discuss the problem. "It's used furniture," she huffed. "People should expect wear-and-tear." 

This was far beyond ordinary wear-and-tear, I gently told her. FCG accepts only stylish, brand-name furniture in good or excellent condition. 

After getting off the phone, I encountered a staff mutiny. "How are we supposed to sell a table in that condition?" Plymouth staffers demanded, glaring at me, arms akimbo, as they gathered around the table. 

Luckily, Plymouth has a talented furniture fixer, Karyn, who paints and repairs pieces in her spare time. To her, the table looked like a manageable challenge. "I'll get my sander," she said. "That might help." 

At FCG, we do our best to work things out with our consignors. Over the years, we've made lots of phone calls to disappointed consignors. We've also returned more than a few items. In some circumstances, we were able to fix pieces so they were would be showroom-ready. 

In life, but especially in consignment, honesty – on both sides --is the best way to proceed.

Ready, Set, Shop! Our First Online Sales

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 23, 2017 @ 08: 06 AM

 

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"Whoa!"

Gathered around a computer at our store in Hanover, we were riveted, watching as our newly upgraded website rang up our very first online sale. Three Henredon chairs on the showroom floor popped into a shopping cart, then rolled towards checkout.

Victory! I cheered loudly with our elated employees.

For almost ten years, FCG had had a neat little website featuring photos of the furniture and accessories in our stores. Customers could examine a piece closely from multiple angles and get information such as measurements and the pricing schedule.

Furnitureconsignment.com had just about everything our customers wanted except the ability to buy online. But that changed last Monday.

That's when FCG launched a new state-of-the-art website giving our customers just what they've been demanding for years: more search functionality and the ability to buy items online. Within hours of our launch, we had rung up our first furniture sales.

For a moment, it felt like our very first day in business, when we hung out our shingle and then, just a few hours later, we rang up our very first sale.

Studying the online order closely last Monday, I recognized the name of the customer. "Sue Ellen!" I hollered.

Years ago, she'd been one of my favorite customers. Every Friday, she drove 60 miles from Salem to Hanover to pick up her son, a weekday resident of a nearby boarding school. She'd stop by the store before taking him home for the weekend. Now that her son had grown up, we hadn't seen her in a long time.

And yet, here she was again, reconnected with FCG. With a few simple clicks of her mouse that morning, she was virtually back in our store – and the proud owner of a beautiful set of formal dining chairs.

We're looking forward to this new era of online shopping at FCG. Sure, there may be a few glitches along the way, but we're confident that you, our customers, will be pleased with the improvements. FCG is happy to join the retail revolution and offer around-the-clock shopping at FCG. Check it out for yourself!

Goodbye to an Antique! FCG's New Website Launches Monday

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 16, 2017 @ 08: 13 AM

 

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FCG's first website was primitive – even for 2005. 

Only one page, it featured a picture of a bed, the store's address and hours of operation. The graphics were a dull brown-on-brown. Why waste money on a website? FCG's former owners figured. No one would ever buy furniture off the internet. 

Diana and I had other ideas. Within a few days of buying FCG in 2005, we began working on a cutting-edge site that would feature photos of the furniture, art and accessories. We also added information about our fantastic staff and our delivery and design services. 

By the end of our first year in business, we were close to having all of our inventory featured on the site. Customers were asking for more. They wanted photos of the furniture from every angle and details such as brand names and measurements. They also wanted to know more about pricing, including the mark-down schedule on consignment furniture. (Every 30 days, the price drops 10% for three months.) 

Before long, we had a highly customized website that was disproving all sorts of old-fashioned notions about how people buy consignment furniture. Our website was a big hit. Buyers from coast to coast were looking at – and buying – furniture from FCG. 

Our trusty website is long overdue for an upgrade, though. And, for the past year, we've been hard at work on a completely new site. We're delighted to announce that we're retiring our old website on Sunday. 

On Monday, FCG will launch a new and completely modern website. Our new site will be mobile-friendly, providing the same great graphics and service to you no matter what device you use to access the website.

Even more important, the search function will be enhanced dramatically. You will be able to search for items by store, by category, by brand, and by material. You'll also be allowed to purchase items from all three of our stores and pay for them online. 

Saying goodbye to our old website is bittersweet. It's like your first car. Sure, it has 300,000 miles on it and won't budge from the driveway. But it took you to some great places, as did our website.

We hope you enjoy the crisp, new look of furnitureconsignment.com. Pull up the new site on Monday, and let us know what you think.

Downsize or Update? A Difficult Decision, But FCG Can Help

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 09, 2017 @ 07: 56 AM

 

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In the end, the key to her decision was the big tree in the yard with low limbs that invited children to climb. After losing her husband of half a century last year, she'd thought seriously about selling the big house. A small condo would be so much easier to maintain. 

Then, she remembered the holiday dinners: the hubbub when all her children and grandchildren were gathered around the table in the dining room laughing and talking. She remembered all the birthday parties. And she thought of her youngest grand-daughter, a toddler still too young to climb the tree. 

And, suddenly, she wanted to stay in the house long enough to see that little girl perched on a limb, swinging her legs, like her mom had done thirty years ago. Every child in the family, she realized, had had that experience. 

So she decided to stay – with some conditions. With help from my wife Diana, an interior designer, and FCG, she would simultaneously update her home while preparing to downsize. Her goal was to stay in the house for another five years or so before selling. 

Together with Diana, they evaluated her furniture to determine what to keep and what to sell or give away. Diana advised her to keep pieces that would eventually fit in a smaller living space. Her special pieces were reupholstered in stylish new fabrics. Others were refinished. 

She bought some newer furniture, but nothing oversized. That's so the new living room set could move with her to senior housing when the time came to sell the house. Together they picked neutral colors for the major pieces, knowing they could inject color and personality with lamps, pillows, art and accessories. They combed FCG for everything they needed. 

Her home's interior got a fresh coat of clean white paint. If she needed to sell quickly, the white walls would be more appealing to young buyers than other colors that might be dated in a couple of years. She de-cluttered, knowing that she didn't want to burden her children with the task of sifting and sorting if something happened to her.

Every decision was a smart mix of practicality and personal style. She was downsizing to stay. It's a new concept we're creating here at FCG. Come talk to us about how we can help you stay in your home while keeping your options open for the future.

No Greater Joy: Time for School

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 02, 2017 @ 07: 30 AM

 

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The big yellow school bus lumbered to a stop. The door creaked open and a group of children waiting on the corner clambered aboard. Groaning with effort, the bus rumbled down the street, reaching a top speed of five miles an hour before lurching to a stop again, a block later.

A long line of cars snaked behind the bus. I was one of them. Ahead of me, I could see a woman driver fuming. With every delay, her head slumped dejectedly. At one point, a mom on the corner held us all up to take photos from every angle of her child mounting the steps of the bus. I saw the woman driver beating her forehead on the steering wheel in frustration. 

Not me! I'm ecstatic. Those yellow buses signal the un-official but much-appreciated Holiday of Parenthood: the first day of school. 

Our three boys will be starting right after Labor Day. At home, we've got everything ready. New clothes? Check. Pens, pencils, notebooks? Check. Schedules posted on the refrigerator door? Check. 

Already, Collin has endured the rigors of freshman orientation at the high school. Our fourth-grader Robbie has completed his first assignment: What I Did on My Summer Vacation. Cade, a senior in high school, has started football practice. As for me and Diana, we're counting down the last few days to freedom! 

Sure, we'll take a few moments to mourn the end of summer vacation. But by late August, we were getting weary of the endless days of kids lounging around the house, demanding snacks and entertainment. We'll be doing a happy dance once we see our kids onboard that school bus. 

So here's an idea. Once the bus pulls away, celebrate your freedom with a shopping spree at FCG. We've got bargains galore this fall and lots of new furniture in our showrooms.

Furniture Can Be Sleek, Modern and it Can Last

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 26, 2017 @ 08: 25 AM

 

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"I love Ikea," my college buddy confessed. "It's cheap, functional furniture. And when you're done with it, you can toss it. No guilt! Disposable furniture means you never have to worry about your heirs fighting over it."

I gulped. For a guy who loves quality furniture, disposable furniture is a bizarre concept. Seriously, who wants furniture with the life span of a mosquito?

Okay, on second thought, there probably is a market for the stuff. Build it yoruself furniture is ideal for dorms, basement rec rooms, and shabby first apartments.

But there's one place you won't find any use it and lose it furniture, and that's at Furniture Consignment Gallery.   

Every week, we get calls and emails from folks who want to consign the wobbly bookcases, desks and foam couches they got a couple of years ago from the discount mart. Most are foreigner workers going home after completing their assignments, young doctors finishing their residencies or graduate students who have wrapped up their dissertations.

They all want to recoup a few bucks by selling their worn cardboard furniture to you. And to all of them, we say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

We're unapologetically picky about what we accept for consignment at FCG. The only furniture that you'll find in our showrooms are up-to-date, quality pieces from top manufacturers. And right now, we have some extraordinary items at bargain prices in our showrooms.

FCG's Natick store has a stylish Pompanoosuc Mills sleep sofa with a well-constructed frame and a quality sleep mattress for $1,299 or how about a sleek coffee table made in France by Roche Bobois for $859.99. Our Hanover store has a Baker French wriitng desk in good condition for only $699, a fraction of the original purchase price. And for your Student, we have desks from Vermont Tubbs, Pottery Barn, and solid maple Moosehead Furniture desks in Plymouth at discount prices.

For those who value exquisite craftsmanship, Hanover and Natick have gorgeous accent pieces by Theodore Alexander and Kindel Furniture. 

At FCG, we don't think you should have to build your own furniture. Your living room shouldn't be a particle-board Legoland. For a few dollars more, you can have beautiful quality furniture that you'll be proud to use for years to come. Check out our website or stop by our stores this weekend and see for yourself.

Trigger Your Next Decorating Project With Something Small

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 19, 2017 @ 10: 52 AM

 

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When I was 13, my dad took me shopping for a suit. I dutifully donned the pants and jacket in the men's dressing room and stepped in front of a bank of mirrors for his inspection. My dad grimaced, then yanked at the waistline, giving me a wedgie. "Too tight in the crotch," his voice boomed, thereby alerting not only every shopper in the store but probably those in the farthest corners of the mall, too.

My brothers giggled in the background.

That memory came back to haunt me recently. I was in a store trying on a new pair of pants and, well, time hasn't diminished the issue of wide hips. This time, though, the salesman had some compassion for me. "Sir," he said in a discreet low tone, "our tailor should be able to fix that easily."      

I'm grateful for my new sharp-creased pants – and a tailor who can work miracles. All my other pairs were worn at the knees from crawling under dining tables to inspect them for possible consignment. The pockets were shredding after snagging on countless corners of furniture in the showroom. So I'm saying farewell to my torn and threadbare knickers!

Still, the newness of the pants has created an unexpected problem. In contrast, my belt looks worn. My shoes are scuffed. And all my shirt has gone limp and weary from countless cycles in the washer. 

That reminds me of a customer who purchased a coffee table recently from FCG. Once installed, the table sparked a makeover of the entire room. Suddenly, the scuffed hardwood floor looked as if she'd been hosting a weekly roller derby. The end tables were dated. The lamps were dingy.

She whipped into action and within a couple of weeks, the floors were refinished, the walls were painted, a new sofa was installed. Once again, the room looked fresh, updated and inviting.

As I stood in front of the mirror contemplating my new pants, I realized it was time for a wardrobe makeover. Shirts, belts, shoes – bring it on. You can do the same at FCG. Stop in this weekend and take the first step. You have no idea the kind of inspired change that artful side table could bring to your home.

Grinchy Politicians Abolish Tax-Free Weekend,But FCG Saves the Day

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 12, 2017 @ 09: 06 AM

 

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Grinchy politicians refused to reinstate the sales tax holiday, a popular late-summer shopping tradition in Massachusetts. So we’re creating some fun of our own at FCG.  

Our solution is a game we call Pick a Winnah!

Befuddled by the Boston dialect? I’ll translate.

Everyone who makes a purchase at one of our three stores this weekend gets a discount on their merchandise. The discounts range from 6.25%, equal to the state sales tax, up to 20%. That’s more than three times the amount you’d have saved during the state’s tax-free holiday.

Here’s how the game is played: each of our three stores will have a bin filled with ping pong balls. Each ball will be labeled with a discount: 6.25%, 10%, 15% or 20%. Every customer gets to pick a ball before purchasing an item – and apply that discount to the price.

Everyone wins this weekend at FCG. And we’re tossing some more treats into the bins. A few lucky shoppers will pull out gift certificates for $50.    

All games have rules, and ours is no exception. The discount must be used immediately on a purchase. The game ends when the stores close on Sunday. Phone orders get a discount of 6.25%. You have to reach into the bin yourself to get those big discounts. 

Thinking ahead and looking to spruce up your home for the holidays? We have plenty of great options in our three showrooms from dining room sets to leather sectionals. Or maybe you’re trying to make a dorm room or a first apartment just a bit more livable? We have desks, bookcases, tables and even our own line of quality mattresses.

Check out our inventory online at furnitureconsignment.com and get ready to play. At FCG, we believe every customer is a “winnah.”

Going to College? FCG Can Help

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 05, 2017 @ 07: 29 AM

 

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On a hot day in late August, 1991, I kissed my parents goodbye and boarded an airplane at Logan Airport. My destination was the University of Kentucky. Everything I needed for my first year of college was stuffed in a backpack and a duffel bag. 

The backpack had a bottle of water, a notebook, a pen, my class schedule and an autobiography of the legendary basketball player Larry Bird. The duffel bag had everything else, including seven pair of underwear, T-shirts, one long-sleeved shirt, a pair of khaki pants, jeans, sweatshirts, a jacket, a football. And a razor, seldom used.

I could have used a cell phone, but we didn't have those back then. Instead, I had a long-distance phone card in my wallet. Though my dad wanted to hear from me, he wasn't excited about the cost: 25 cents a minute. As a result, our conversations were brief. 

"I'm good," I'd say. 

"We're good," they'd say.

"Talk next week, bye."

College has been on my mind a lot recently. We've started looking at colleges for our 17-year-old son, Cade, who'll be packing up his duffel bag next August. He'll be the first of our three boys to leave home. That college-admission essay has been on this to-do list all summer. 

Also, I've been seeing a lot of parents and their college-bound students shopping in our stores these days. Clearly, kids need a lot more these days than what can be stuffed in a duffel bag. Some are decorating a sterile dorm room, hoping to make it more comfortable for the next nine months. Others are moving off campus into apartments. 

At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we've got a lot of what your student needs for that dorm room or that first apartment. No, we don't have ramen noodles or Cliffs Notes. But we do have affordable mattresses, desks, lamps, colorful prints, side tables, night stands, filing cabinets and a host of other items.

Going to college is one of life's big milestones. We've been there, we understand the journey. At FCG, we can help make your new home, well, a lot more like home.