All I Want for Christmas Is ... a Kid Who Sings?

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, December 09, 2017 @ 08: 03 PM


Stubbornly, Robbie stood with his hands cemented in his pockets and his lips firmly sealed. All around him his fourth-grade classmates were warbling with gusto. Our son, however, was having none of it. Christmas carols? Bah humbug! He glared at the audience, chin set and eyes narrowed, as if to say, "I'm. Not. Singing."  

That's my boy, Scrooge Jr.

Why exactly Robbie decided to stage a rebellion the night of the school's annual Christmas concert is a mystery. Maybe he just wasn't feeling the spirit at that moment. But it wasn't like his defiance would go unnoticed. For one, he was center stage, front row. And his bright red hair was absolutely afire under the klieg lights.

Diana and I were in the audience along with his two older brothers. Mortified, we silently pleaded with gestures, mouthing the words "Pleeeeeeeeease, just sing!" Robbie snarled at our entreaties.  

Meanwhile, all the other kids were swaying to the music. "Deck the halls," they bellowed. "Fa la la la la ..." Even the ninety-year-old lady in the back row was tapping her feet and smiling. Meanwhile, we sat frozen waiting for him to join the chorus.  

After a while, I gave up pleading with the kid. That's when the entire spectacle started to seem pretty entertaining. When the choir roared into the third stanza of Rudolph, I could see him fighting the urge to join in. I thought I saw sis shoulders shrug to the beat for a moment, but, no, it was just an itch, he informed me later. 

The next morning at breakfast, I told him that his performance was impressive. He looked up at me inquisitively. "I thought for sure you'd cave when the pianist started playing Rudolph," I said. "That's one of your favorites." He smiled and confessed, "Well, I almost did." And then he put his bowl in the sink, humming Frosty.

'Tis the season for holiday cheer, whether you like it or not. You've got choices. If you're just not in the mood, you can fight it like Robbie. Or you can relax and enjoy it. At FCG, we'll support you either way. But just remember that if you don't sing along, when the season's over, you might just wish you had.

Accept or Reject for Consignment? Sometimes, We Make Mistakes

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, December 05, 2017 @ 12: 08 PM

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Looking back, it was our mistake. 

She’d arrived at our showroom in mid-summer hoping to consign a five-arm brass chandelier with black flared shades lined in gold. For a traditional colonial home, this fixture was the height of style – back in the 1980s. Now, though, it wouldn’t have gotten a nibble from a buyer at a yard sale.

“It’s a little out-of-date,” we gently explained to the woman. But when she described how mightily she’d struggled to get it in then out of her car without damaging the tiny little lampshades, we felt so sorry for her that we accepted it for consignment. Selling her chandelier would be a challenge, we cautioned her, but we promised to give it our best. “I couldn’t ask for anything more!” she replied cheerily as she left. 

Last week, without warning, she barreled back into the store, only this time she was a fire-breathing dragon. “Why haven’t you sold my chandelier?” she demanded. She tore through the store in search of the fixture. Finding it in a little-visited corner upstairs only inflamed her ire. “You’ve hidden my chandelier in the attic,” she said accusingly. “No wonder it hasn’t sold!” 

The truth is, her chandelier wasn’t going to find a buyer at FCG or, I suspect, any other store. I suggested she take it home with her. She grabbed it and left in a huff. 

That unfortunate incident highlights the less-than-exact science of the consignment business. We try our best to sell your items, but sometimes we fail. A sale is a win for both of us. Most of our consignors understand that. 

Last week’s angry consignor was incensed that her chandelier had been tucked into a quiet nook. Yes, it’s true her out-of-date fixture didn’t get one of the prime placement spots in our showroom. That’s because we reserve those spots for items that we know will be our best-sellers: top quality, stylish pieces likely to appeal to the greatest number of buyers. 

Sometimes, though, we’ll take a chance on some unique pieces that we know may take a bit longer to sell. It’s a gamble but we have lots of buyers who love searching in corners and alcoves for those special finds. They love a treasure hunt. We were hoping that a buyer like that would have scooped up the woman’s chandelier, but it just didn’t happen.

That’s what makes our business so unpredictable and entertaining. Some items fly out of the store within hours of consignment; others linger for months waiting for a home. One thing you can always count on, though, is our promise to do our best to sell your furniture and accessories.

Make Your Home Merry and Bright with Accessories from FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 25, 2017 @ 08: 22 AM



On the bus from our hotel to the North Carolina High Point Furniture Market, Diana and I like to listen to the excited chatter of the other passengers. After all, High Point is the Super Bowl of the furniture business. Listening to bus chatter is like getting a peak at the other team's playbook.

"My focus is the new upholstery lines," one designer announced. "I let my assistants grab some accessories at the end of the show."

Not FCG.

Accessories are our focus at High Point. Every fall, we make it our mission to find the most stylish new pieces to complement the great mix of quality furniture in our three showrooms. We outdid ourselves this year.

Last week, the treasures we ordered start arriving. The delivery trucks began rumbling up to our warehouse and unloading boxes and more boxes. Our FCG elves got busy, unpacking and assembling, then buffing and polishing every item before sending them off to our three stores.

I'm confident we've got all the pieces that will make your home merry and bright for the holidays. We knew we'd hit the jackpot when we posted photos on our website. That's when our phones started jingling with calls from excited customers.

In Hanover, our flagship store, we have the ever-popular ski signs, including the bright red cross for Ski Patrol. We also have fireplace tools, mirrors and holiday trays. In Natick, where our customers favor a more modern look, we've got decorative urns, mirrors, hammered-silver trays and cozy blankets.

In Plymouth, which features a coastal and cottage vibe, we've got snowflake and other winter-theme pillows, nautical prints, maps and decorative fireplace screens.

More items will be pouring in over the next few weeks, so be sure to check out our website and stop by our stores. You'll be inspired by the unique mix of accessories for your home. And you just might find the perfect gift there, too, for friends and family.

Get Rid of the Plywood Plank! Buy a Real Dining Table

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 18, 2017 @ 08: 37 AM



I was thirteen that fall and practicing diligently in my driveway for basketball try-outs. Time after time, the ball would hit the rim and bounce off to the side. I'd scramble for it, but no. Some evil force would suck the ball into the garage, wedging it between the wall and a giant piece of plywood. Over and over, I'd have to get down on the concrete floor and fish that ball out with a broom handle. 

I hated that board.

I hated it even more every Thanksgiving. That's when my brothers and I had to haul that splintery slab out of the garage and carry it awkwardly up the back stairs and into the house. My Dad would oversee the whole operation anxiously. "Don't gouge the walls!" he'd warn sharply as we maneuvered into the dining room. "Don't scrape the door jamb!" 

Finally, our skinny arms shaking like Jello, we three boys would shuffle into our small dining room and carefully lower the plywood on top of the table. 

Voila! Gussied up with a starched white tablecloth, a table for six-plus-plywood became a table for twelve. 

Unfortunately, the next day, we had to do the entire operation in reverse. 

I hated that plywood with a passion. 

Now, after a decade in the furniture business, I've learned that the holiday plywood plank is a common practice. Home Depot sells a lot of plywood for these once-a-year gluttonous gatherings. So, speaking from experience, I have two observations. 

Beware of the candied yam casserole. That sucker is heavy. If someone accidentally parks it on the wobbly and unsupported edge of the plywood, that casserole is going down. Hopefully, it won't end up in someone's lap. 

Attention, Thanksgiving cooks: you are not engineers. An over-sized slab of plywood perched precariously on a tiny tabletop is a recipe for disaster. 

Secondly, there are better options. In our stores, we have an assortment of tables over eight feet in length. Two of my favorites are the Stephen Staples Ten-foot Woods Hole Cafeteria Cypress Top table and theProvence nine-foot barn board table . 

What to do with the plywood in the garage? Lean it up against a tree in the yard and turn it into a backboard for your budding soccer or lacrosse players. The kids will love it. Everybody wins when you buy a large dining table at FCG.

Ho, Ho, Ho? Actually, Let's All Say No, No, No to Christmas in November!

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 11, 2017 @ 07: 21 AM



All my white undershirts had fallen victim to ring-around-the-collar. After dumping them in the rag bag, I needed to restock. So off I set for the local department store, armed with my usual coupon. I had high hopes of accomplishing this mundane task with speed and efficiency. 

My hopes were dashed – by Dasher, no less. I'd taken no more than two steps into the store when I was assaulted by the sight of twelve mangy-looking reindeer prancing around a gaudy North Pole. Giant red-glitter candy canes loomed over me at precarious angles. A forest of fake snowflakes dangled dangerously overhead. A hideous elf mannequin leered and pointed towards the jewelry display. 

"Let it snow," boomed through the speakers, "let it snow, let it snow." 

"Oh," the singer warbled, "the weather outside is frightful." Frightful? I'll tell you what's frightful. That's a faux North Pole when it's hot enough outside for a t-shirt and our kids haven't yet come down from the sugar high of Halloween. 

No one in the store was in the holiday spirit. No one was making their list and checking it twice. If anything, there was a general snarly irritation at the fake snow, reminding us of shoveling chores yet to come.

Today is Veterans Day, a day for honoring and remembering the men and women who served their country. There is time to call your grandfather who served in Vietnam, text your uncle who served in the Gulf War, salute the few remaining old-timers in town who served decades ago in World War II. This is their day. 

In the town of Hanover, MA, a beautiful new memorial to veterans is being unveiled with festivities and a parade. Go and show your respect for our armed forces. 

In accordance with Massachusetts' Blue Laws, our stores open at 1 p.m. We at FCG recognize the sacrifices of the many who fought to protect and preserve our freedoms. We will honor them this morning, and we'll get to work this afternoon. Then, as they say, we're on to Thanksgiving.

When to Sell Your Furniture? 5 Tips from FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 04, 2017 @ 07: 49 AM



What's the best time to sell your furniture? Here are five tips to help you decide when to call FCG.

1. Sell when you no longer need it. The best time to sell your furniture is the moment you realize you don't want it anymore. Sometimes, that's when you're moving, divorcing or redecorating. Or you may just decide you're bored of a certain piece. Sell it now. Some styles devalue over time and there's always the risk of a nick or a stain. Be decisive.

2. Sell it before you store it. Don't pay to store furniture if you don't foresee using it in the near future. If your daughter-in-law doesn't grab that dining room set when you first offer it, she's not likely to want it in six months. Storage is expensive. You'll spend $1,800 a year or more. And long-term storage is hard on furniture. Odors and moisture can damage pieces after a few months.

3. When was the last time someone used that piece? Maybe you haven't touched that gorgeous home-office desk since you switched jobs. Or that comfy leather sectional you bought for the rec room isn't getting any use since the kids left for college. Sell them now and repurpose the room. You've always wanted a home gym or yoga studio anyway.

4. Sell before the last minute. Don't procrastinate. If you know you are moving, call FCG today. After all, there are logistics involved in picking up your furniture. Our movers are on the road every day, but arranging routes takes time. Also, some condo buildings require an elevator reservations and also have insurance requirements that FCG can meet, but take a few days to pull together. During peak moving season, the early birds get priority. Don't wait until it's too late to sell or you may have to store or donate your furniture.

5. Sell it while it is still in style. If you bought a sofa recently and it just isn't right for the room, don't delay. Furniture and fabric styles change rapidly now. Upholstered pieces are typically out of date after five years. Gray and beige could be passé by next season. Whether you've made a decorating mistake or you just want a new fresh look, call FCG ASAP. Style matters.

Hooray for Ron! Ten Years with FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 28, 2017 @ 08: 45 AM



Ten years ago, Diana and I were running a marathon every single day. FCG, our two-year-old business, was demanding lots of time and energy. Our two boys, ages four and seven, were thriving and active. We'd just moved into a new house when we learned we were going to get even busier. Diana was pregnant.   

Back then, we were managing our business with a scrawny team of five. Every day was a scramble. We had a couple of part-time saleswomen and a full-time mover to help me pick up and deliver furniture. But with two rambunctious boys at home and a baby on the way, we suddenly realized the obvious. We needed help.  

That's precisely when a resume, crisply professional, landed on my desk. It described a man with broad talent and deep experience in the furniture business. I called him immediately. He agreed to an interview the next day.   

In person, Ron Cates was warm, engaging and enthusiastic about helping us build something special at FCG. I dug deep in that interview to see if this man would be right for the job. Diana – and all my instincts – told me he'd be perfect.

He was, and he still is.

This weekend, we celebrate Ron's ten-year anniversary with FCG. When he started in 2007, there were only a handful of us and one store. Now, we have three stores, 25 full- and part-time staffers, and thousands of loyal customers. None of this would have been possible without Ron.

Ron's can-do spirit is endless. He has sold more furniture to more people than anyone in the company. Customers ask for him by name every day. He has visited customers' homes for design consultations, for furniture deliveries, for drinks and dinner.

Through his hard work and talent, he has changed lives, especially ours. Diana and I hadn't take a vacation in years until we hired Ron. Handing him the keys to the store, we knew that our business was in good hands and that we could relax.

Ten years after that first meeting, Ron is still doing what he does best with inimitable style. These days, he is working in our store in Natick, using his keen merchandising skills to create exciting displays and helping our customers create the homes of their dreams. That's why this weekend we are celebrating a man who represents the very best of FCG.

Just Buy It? Actually, A Professional Opinion Might Be Helpful

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 21, 2017 @ 09: 43 AM



"Just buy it!" 

Diana and I were at a cocktail party in High Point, North Carolina, home of the largest home-furnishings market in the world. Gathered around us was a raucous crowd of designers and merchants. It was the end of an exhausting day of seminars and sales pitches, and folks were celebrating with a drink – or two or three. 

Some had overheard us talking about buying a new rug, and suddenly the crowd wanted to weigh in on our decision. "Buy it! Buy it! Buy it!" it chanted in unison, louder and louder.

That kind of spending mania is common at High Point. With over ten million square feet of new furniture showrooms, High Point's twice-a-year shows attract tens of thousands of furniture and design professionals from all over the world. Think of it as the Super Bowl of furniture: flashy displays, flamboyant fans, and frenzied parties. 

Diana and I were there to scout out new trends in interior design and to buy accessories, art and lamps for our stores. Then, during one expedition, we stumbled over a vibrant blue and grey rug that seemed to me absolutely perfect for our home.

To buy or not to buy? That became the question of the day. The rug was gorgeous, to be sure. But would it fit with our decor?

I was convinced. This was the rug of our dreams. Diana was adamant. The rug would not work in our home. We were still debating when we stopped by the cocktail party, and suddenly the question sloshed over the crowd. (Or did the sloshed crowd join our debate?)

"Diana won't let me make design decisions because I was an English major in college," I announced in a bid for the sympathy vote. The crowd jeered. "Here's to English majors," a woman in the back called out, raising her margarita. "Let him buy the rug!" a man shouted. 

"The rug is grey," Diana said. "Our house is beige." 

The crowd fell silent. Diana continued. The kitchen countertops, the cabinets, the stair runner are beige, she said. All the expensive fixed components of the home we'd bought were beige. Though stunning, the new rug would require a drastic and costly overhaul of the design. 

Slowly, the crowd dispersed, sadly shaking their heads at my stupidity. Of course, the rug would clash. "Listen to your wife, Jay," the margarita-swilling woman said, handing me her empty glass. "What were you thinking, man?" someone else tossed over their shoulder as they left. 

We left the convention rugless and, boy, was that a good decision. 

At FCG, you'll never have to worry about being pressured into furniture folly. Just buy it? Sometimes, the answer should be "no." If it's a major design decision, consider getting an expert opinion from a designer.

Our three stores have design experts who will be happy to work with your vision for your home – and, just as importantly, your budget. We understand that sometimes the purchases you don't make are smartest ones of all.

Moving to Pinehills? Put a Visit to FCG on the To-do List

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 14, 2017 @ 08: 09 AM



Pinehills in Plymouth is the largest active-living community in the state of Massachusetts – and active is the key word for that charming village. What's at the top of the to-do list for residents? Apparently, shopping at FCG.

Pinehills is only seven minutes' drive from our store in Plymouth and about twenty minutes from our flagship store in Hanover. Its residents are some of our favorite customers. Retired or nearing retirement, they've downsized from big suburban homes and they're eager to furnish their new homes.

Among other things, Pinehills loves our stylish, high-quality, brand-name furniture – and our prices. Another thing its residents love is our speedy, white-glove delivery service.

They don't want to wait six to eight weeks for furniture ordered from the major furniture stores. They've got too much on the agenda! For one, there's golf at the two 18-hole courses designed by Rees Jones.

Buying at FCG means you'll get that dining room set or that couch in a couple of days – just in time for that party with the new neighbors. That's probably why FCG's trucks are a regular sight on the streets of Pinehills.

Residents also love our reputable consignment services. After downsizing, some find that certain pieces from their big suburban homes don't fit quite as well in their new homes. After downsizing, a lot of residents want to experiment with a new style of interior design: modern, or cottage or French Country.

Here's a conversation we often have with someone who lives at Pinehills:

Customer: "I found a fantastic sofa at your store in Plymouth, and you're delivering it on Friday. But I also have a couple of pieces from my old house that just don't fit my new décor. Can you sell them for me?"

FCG: "Of course! We'll pick them up at the same time we bring that new sofa."

That's our goal at FCG. We want to make furniture shopping – and selling – as easy and pleasant as possible. Because we understand that golf is a priority.

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.