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.

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




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. 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



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 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



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



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



"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.