FurnitureConsignment.com Blog

Pomp and Circumstance? FCG Can Help

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, June 03, 2017 @ 07: 25 AM

 

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Boston's affluent suburbs are always bustling with activity but nothing compares to the frenzy that erupts every June. After all, that's high season for parties, and all those mansions must be made perfect for the weddings, showers and graduations.

Arriving at a client's home in Wellesley last Tuesday, I felt like I was joining the sweaty swarm that labored on the Egyptian Pyramids. A flock of gardeners was raking last fall's brown leaves out of the shrubbery and trimming the trees. Painters were balancing on ladders slapping a fresh coat on the clapboards. Atop the roof, a lone chimney sweep was scrubbing the blackened brick into a bright red.

The foreman – oops, I mean homeowner – was in the kitchen overseeing an interior crew that was just as busy mopping, dusting and polishing.

"Saturday is the deadline," she said briskly, waving a hand at the family room. "I need all this furniture gone today. The new stuff is arriving tomorrow – just in time for the party."

Like any good boss, she knew how to crack the whip when necessary. And at FCG, we respect a deadline. Party prep can be stressful. Time is of the essence. So we got to work quickly and efficiently. In short order, the room was emptied.

Surveying the scene, she softened a bit. "My daughter worked so hard for her degree," she confided. "She's done and we're done, too, with all those tuition payments. I'm proud of her and us and I want this graduation party to be absolutely perfect."

At FCG, we understand the importance of celebrating life's big events with style. We're happy to be part of the crew preparing your home for the big party. Congratulations to this spring's crop of graduates – and to the parents who made it possible.

Get Me the Red Pen! Markdowns in Progress

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, May 27, 2017 @ 07: 22 AM

 

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She was ecstatic.

"I wanted that dresser soooo badly but it a bit too expensive for my budget," she gushed. "Suddenly, this morning, the price dropped. Magic! I just had to rush right over to get it!"

The woman had fallen in love weeks ago with a rock maple double dresser with mirror originally priced at $599. Consignment-savvy, she'd been visiting our web site regularly and watching for price reductions. She understood the drill at FCG: every 30 days the price of an item drops 10%.  

After finding the perfect dresser for her guest bedroom, she started checking our website every morning, hoping to see the piece still for sale. With every price drop, her excitement mounted. Soon, she was checking the website during every break at work and every evening to be sure it was still there.

On May 9th, the price fell to $419.99, the final scheduled markdown. Still, she wavered, she told us, somehow hoping for a miracle that would bring the price within her budget, which was under $400.

This week, she got that miracle. 

On Tuesday, knowing nothing of her vigil, I barreled through the doors of our store in Hanover. Truckloads of furniture were scheduled to arrive in the next few days, and we had to make room in all three of our showrooms. Besides, I was feeling inspired and frisky. "Toss me the red pen!" I yelled to Brian, our store manager. "We're going to sell a lot of furniture this week."

Once armed with red ink, I was on a mission. I slashed hundreds of items in all three showrooms in Hanover, Plymouth and Natick. You'll find the new reduced prices on our website, as well.

Moments after marking down the maple dresser in Hanover, Brian got a call from the woman who'd been stalking that piece of furniture for months. "I'm super-excited and I'm on my way!" she chortled breathlessly. "Please hold if for me."

Some of my red-pen markdowns have to be seen to be believed. What was I thinking? Well, I guess it was spring fever. All I know is that I made at least one customer very, very happy.

Welcome Back, Snowbirds Now, Start Shopping!

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, May 20, 2017 @ 08: 04 AM

 

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A Cadillac Eldorado with Florida license plates cruised into our parking lot and came to a gentle stop. Out popped a white-haired woman who bustled eagerly into the store. Meanwhile, her chauffer – oops, husband – flipped down the sun visor and cranked up the AC.

Shopping? Clearly, it's not his thing.

His wife, though, tore through the store like a greyhound chasing the electric rabbit. She bounced on a sofa, patting the fabric appreciatively. Next, she bounded up the stairs to take in the view of all our bedroom sets. She tugged open drawers and smoothed the bedcovers. Then, the dining room sets beckoned ...

One of the most reliable signs of spring at our stores is a parking lot full of cars with license plates from the Sunshine State. Many have been seasonal customers for years. On their way to their summer homes on the Cape or the lakes of northern New England, they're making a pilgrimage to pick up some bargains before the start of summer entertaining.

Welcome back, snowbirds! We've missed you, and apparently, you've missed us.

"There isn't a store like yours anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line!" the woman said breathlessly, as she heaved two nautical pillows on the checkout counter. "Our Cape house needs a bit of refreshing before the summer visitors arrive."

Alas, our joyous reunion was cut short.

"Muriel!" her husband bellowed impatiently at the front door. "Time's a-wastin'! Those fish aren't going to hook themselves!"

And in a flash they were gone, after tossing the pillows into the back seat.

You'll see flocks of snowbirds in our stores in the next few weeks. They're tanned, rested and ready for summer fun. They're a welcome sight at FCG after a long winter.

Nosy Neighbors? No Problem for FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, May 13, 2017 @ 08: 01 AM

 

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My Italian grandmother had a few choice words for folks who wouldn't mind their own business. "Vicino ficcanaso," she would mutter darkly, which translates loosely to 'nosy neighbor'. 

Last week, while picking up a truckload of consignment furniture in a suburb of Boston, we ran into a guy who qualified. His shirt billowed over his beer belly as he sauntered down the street and over to our truck in his flip flops.

"What's goin' on?" he asked. "They movin' out?"

When it comes to busybodies like this guy, we're polite but vague. Then, we ignore them. That's our policy at FCG. After all, our clients want and deserve privacy. But this particular schmoe wasn't getting the hint.

"Nice dresser," he said, eyeing each piece as we were loading into the truck. "What's the deal?" When I left to talk to our consignor inside the house, he seized the opportunity to mosey up the ramp of the truck and poke around inside. "Donations?"  

Tony tried hard to extract some info from our delivery guys. They cheerfully explained consignment, but it seemed to baffle Tony. That probably wouldn't deter him from delivering a report to the rest of the neighborhood, though.

Inside the house, our consignor was fuming as she peeked through the curtains. "Ohhhh, she groaned. "That's Tony. He thinks he's some kind of neighborhood watchdog."

Finally, unable to stand his prying eyes a moment longer, she poked her head out the door. "Get a job, Tony!" she barked. "And get outta here!" He smiled, waved and sauntered off. Some folks just don't get the message.

Timing is Everything In Life – and at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, May 06, 2017 @ 07: 33 AM

 

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What's the best time to snag a bargain on candy? The day after Halloween, of course. And when should you stock up on gift wrap, ribbons and bows? December 26th. Buy your school supplies in late September and your winter boots in February.  

Smart shoppers know exactly how to time their purchases to find the best buys. And I'll let you in on a secret: there are similar strategies to finding furniture bargains here at Furniture Consignment Gallery! 

Leather furniture is snapped up quickly in our showrooms from October through February. That's when homeowners are eager to furnish their homes for those long winter nights. Leather is especially popular just before the Super Bowl. Spilled beer and salsa stains? No problem!  

But come May, even the best of leather lingers in our stores. Most shoppers are too busy hunting for beachy items like slipcovered chairs and wicker tables for their summer cottages. Patio sets are hot, too, at this time of year.

That's why it's not surprising that FCG has a beautiful Ethan Allen leather sectional at our store in Hanover. New, it cost $6,500. Our price: $4,299.

Also in Hanover is a pair of American Signature chairs in merlot with nailhead trim and an ottoman for less than $1,500. These are just what you'll want when the Patriots are preparing to win their 6th Super Bowl, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anything like these next January.

However, if you come prepared to take them home with you today, you can get them placed in your living room just in time for a two minute horse race. Then you can enjoy them all year long. 

When you shop consignment, a little planning makes for a great shopping expedition. Think ahead. That rowdy game-day party is closer than you think.

No Fair, Wayfair: A Sofa Catastrophe

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, April 29, 2017 @ 08: 07 AM

 

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"I love it!"

One of our newer employees was enthralled with a ruby red sofa she found on Wayfair, the online furniture retailer. The sofa was sleek, modern and half the price of any in our showroom. So she ordered it – and that's the beginning of her very sad saga.

Wayfair delivered the sofa to her doorstep in a box too small to hold the furniture of her dreams. "Must be a mistake," she recalls thinking. She wrestled the box into the house and it burst open. Out spilled a clutter of parts. Her foyer looked like the children's game of pick-up-sticks. Even her dogs sniffed a problem and slunk away.

Assembly required, the instructions said. Fair enough, she thought, for such a delightful bargain. She extracted an Allen wrench from the tangle of stuff on the floor and set to work, diligently threading screws through washers and tightening lock nuts.  Hours melted away.

Finally, as the day was waning, she stepped back to admire the finished product – only to realize her sofa looked like a Picasso, all crazy angles. Suddenly, her fantasy of snuggling up on her new sofa with a cozy blanket seemed ... well, life-threatening.

Wearily, she called the company's customer service department. English was the rep's second language, or maybe third. In any case, it was difficult to get anyone to express any enthusiasm for her problem. Perhaps that's because it was the middle of the night halfway around the world where the company had outsourced this most vital department.

The customer service rep informed her she would have to disassemble the sofa and put it back in the box out of which it had exploded. After a lengthy hold and a brief fight, the company conceded that would be mission impossible. Keep it, Nofair said grandly, and consider it our gift to you, a free sofa.

Her joy at the illusory victory dissipated fast as she stared at the mess in her living room. She had free sofa parts, but no sofa. Removal was going to be tiring and time-consuming.

So buyer beware. Online, furniture looks beautiful, comfortable and sturdy. The reality: not so much. At FCG, we're educating our family, friends, staff and customers about the dangers of falling in love with a photo on a website. Don't buy a sofa that comes with more parts than a game of Monopoly.

Summertime and Renting is Easy With Five Tips from FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, April 22, 2017 @ 07: 00 AM

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Since we’ve owned FCG, our stores have been the go-to place for savvy landlords with rental properties on the beach or in the mountains. Our three showrooms are full of furniture that’s built to last, season after season. We’ve learned a lot from landlords over the years, and we’d like to share their advice.

 

  1. Style matters. You may think beach access is your trump card, but renters shudder at shabby rugs and wobbly chairs. The key to success in a rental property is repeat business. So take the time to make your property stylish and comfortable. At FCG, we offer not only furniture but also fun accessories perfect for a beach cottage or lake home.
  2. A clean mattress is essential. Stained, lumpy mattresses are a major turnoff. You don’t need to provide lavish amenities like a four-star hotel, but a fresh mattress promises a good night’s sleep. At FCG, we offer a queen-sized Cambridge Plush mattress for $899. Smart landlords use one side for renters then flip it over for their own use, off-season. That’s twice the zzzz’s for your investment.
  3. Banish the saggy sofa – and don’t even think of buying a foam living room set from Bubba’s Warehouse. Bubba’s shoddy stuff won’t last the season, and slapping your renters with damage fees because the cheap fabric burst at the seams is no way to win repeat business. Consider a pre-owned sofa with an eight-way hand-tied frame at FCG. A well-made sofa will endure for seasons. At FCG, you’ll find a wide variety of sofas for under $1,000.
  4. Invest in a desk. Years ago, Moms and Dads actually took vacations, leaving work behind. Today, renters stay connected while they play, so they bring technology with them. A solid desk will allow them a place to put the laptop, so they can check on that project after spending precious time with the family.
  5. Get rid of chipped and broken furniture. At FCG, you’ll find maple, oak and cherry pieces so durable they could withstand the apocalypse. There are no sticky, cock-eyed drawers in our bedroom sets. Splash these pieces with a coat of chalk paint – which we also keep in stock – and you’ll have an updated beachy look.

Furnish your property well and keep your renters coming back year after year.

Making Memories On Easter Sunday

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, April 15, 2017 @ 07: 29 AM

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For many Orthodox Greeks, Easter is the most important holiday of the year, an extravaganza of family tradition capped by a day of feasting and fun on Sunday.

That's when she missed the big house most of all. Fragrant with the rich scent of baking bread and roasted lamb, her house was filled with noise and joy and rambunctious children every Easter.

This year will be different. Years ago, she and her husband had sold the house with its generous rooms and manicured lawns and downsized into a luxury condo. Earlier this year, they'd downsized again. Travel – especially to see the grandchildren – was more important now than square footage.

Amid all the change, though, some things remain the same. Easter, for instance, and the importance of family. Tomorrow, their condo will be jammed with relatives. Every corner of the kitchen will be stacked with savory treats.

Traditions will be observed. Candles will be lit, chocolates exchanged. Children will be hushed for the ceremony when eggs, hard-boiled and dyed blood-red, will be cracked, symbolizing the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. All this will happen under the eagle eye of her mother-in-law, who at the age of 90, was still the commanding matriarch of this very large brood.

That's why she was in our store this week. Her new condo may be considerably smaller than the sprawling suburban home, but it was being buffed and polished to spotless perfection. She needed new lamps for the foyer so the house would glow brightly.

"This is the final touch," our customer said with satisfaction when she found the perfect shades. "I'm ready for Easter."

Whatever your family tradition this spring, we wish you the warmth of family and friends, the comfort of traditions and the joy of spring. At FCG, we have all the final touches you need to make your home a welcoming place.

Happy Easter to all of our great staff and, especially, our customers. Thank you for letting us be a part of your home and your family celebrations.

Made in the USA: Good For Beer and Mattresses

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, April 08, 2017 @ 07: 59 AM

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I've never really been a beer guy. Bourbon is more my style. But I had the chance to taste a fresh batch of a locally brewed IPA, and I have to admit it was delicious. The beer was smooth and pumped full of zesty hops and citrus flavor. "'Double dry hopped," the tap room manager said, by way of explanation. That's a brewing technique adds a depth of complexity to the flavor and aroma of the beer.

There was a millennial next to me at the bar, all smug in his fake glasses, blotchy beard, untucked shirt and his beer connoisseurship. He treated me to a lecture on India Pale Ales, or IPAs. Apparently, the English created a special kind of beer for ships bound for India; brewers added extra hops and alcohol to preserve the beer during the grueling six-month voyage.

He nattered on about hoppiness and history for a while. Then, his pal offered a simpler explanation. "Beer is like bread," he offered. "Fresh is best."

Well, that's true in a lot of businesses. As I stood in line for a batch to take home, I thought about the customer we just had in our store in Natick. He'd driven almost an hour to the store to buy a mattress from FCG. With all the mattress stores between his hometown of Hudson and Natick, I was understandably curious why he was such a fan of our mattresses.

He explained: He'd heard that FCG's mattresses are constructed by a third-generation company in nearby Hartford, Connecticut. FCG's mattress maker not only believes in hometown craftsmanship, the company makes it standard practice. All the mattress materials are locally sourced – and workers are hired locally. Even the owners work in the factory.

Most of all, our customer said, "I like the fact that your mattresses are fresh."

What does that mean? Well, when you order a mattress from FCG, our supplier makes it the next day. Unlike our competitors, we don't buy our mattresses from China. Our mattresses aren't stuffed into plastic bags, packed into containers, shipped across the ocean, then jammed into a warehouse for months.

No, FCG's mattress are fresh, just like a great craft beer or an oven-hot loaf of bread. And it doesn't take a snobby connoisseur to know the difference between stale and fresh.

Consignment Pricing Is a High-Wire Act

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, April 01, 2017 @ 08: 32 AM

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Like a gorgeous poppy, the sofa lit up the room. It was a massive tangerine sectional, custom-made by an interior designer. Only a few years ago it had been featured in a photo spread in New England Home. The original cost of the sectional: $17,000.

Now, the homeowner was redecorating. Tangerine was not on the new color palette. She wanted to consign the sectional at FCG, but first we had to agree on the price. “$3,499,” I suggested, hoping she wouldn’t faint at the steep decline in value.

“I understand,” she said. “That’s fair.” After all, orange is not the new black, grey or beige. This weekend, her sectional will be featured in a show-stopping display in our store in Natick, and hopefully it’ll score a quick sale.

Negotiating the price of consignment furniture is a challenge. Pre-owned furniture typically sells for a fraction of its original price. Even hand-crafted pieces with exquisite detail won’t fetch anywhere near their original prices at consignment.

Furniture used to be an investment. Now, it’s more like fashion. Styles and colors come in and out of vogue quickly. The hard truth is that furniture depreciates rapidly and dramatically. For some first-time consignors, that’s stunning news.

Consider the tale of two rugs. One was an 8’x10’ Ethan Allen in popular muted tones. We’ve sold similar rugs for around $800. “Absolutely not!” this consignor said, offended at the suggested price. “I paid four times as much for that rug years ago.” She left, dragging her rug with her. 

Later in the day came another consigner with a gorgeous hard-tied rug that originally cost $25,000. At FCG, that rug will likely sell for about $4,000. That’s a fraction of its original price, but the consignor was a realist.

“I’m happy to recoup even a portion of my investment,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed the rug for years. Now, someone else will have a chance to do the same.”  That rug will be on our showroom floor this weekend.

Consignment pricing is an art. Many homeowners are eager to consign their furniture. And we’re eager to have those pieces on our showroom floor. But, first, we need to agree on a price. Our years of experience selling the finest in pre-owned furniture have sharpened our pricing instincts. Trust us on that.

At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we’re always trying to strike a balance. We want you, the consigner, to get the highest price for your furniture. We also want to provide our customers with the great bargains they’ve come to expect from FCG. That’s a high-wire act we try to do every day with grace and skill.