Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

In the Midst of a Pandemic, Americans’ Hopeful Enthusiasm Will Save Us

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 31, 2020 @ 03: 22 PM



Weary and worried are we Americans.

In these dog days of summer, even the smallest of things seem foreboding. The grass is withered. The air conditioner is leaking. The kids are cranky. The mask is suffocating. The virus is spreading. And a dreadful election season is on the horizon.

And yet.

What a remarkably hopeful fragment of a phrase that seems to me. Yes, we are in the midst of economic collapse, a worsening pandemic and a cultural crisis that has set our country on fire. All these things are true, and yet, there is hope.

Our scientists are leading an extraordinary effort to conquer a dangerous and fast-moving foe, the new coronavirus. Our business community is forging ahead to try to revive a faltering economy. Our political leaders are wrestling with big and painful issues. All of us are struggling with unprecedented challenges but we haven’t been stripped of hope.

Enthusiastic hope is a bedrock virtue of America. To quote the philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success… put your whole soul into it … nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

For me, that isn’t just a hackneyed quote. It’s deeply personal. I remember the day, years ago, when we acquired our first store in Hanover. After signing the papers at the lawyer’s office, I drove over to the store, unlocked the door and flung it open like we owned the place, which we did.

In my enthusiasm, though, I’d forgotten to disable the alarms. They started braying incessantly. In a matter of minutes, our parking lot was filled with police cars with their accusing sirens and lights. Oops.

Enthusiasm is part of our culture at FCG, and part of my pep talk this morning with my college-age son as he wearily prepared for a long, sweltering day on the delivery truck. “Try some enthusiasm!” I suggested. “When you show up for your first delivery at Mrs. Carter’s, you might try saying with a big smile, ‘We have a beautiful sofa for you! Where would you like us to put it?’”
Ok, so his response to my pep talk might have been a less than enthusiastic. But I planted a seed. In these dog days of summer, in the middle of a pandemic, that seems like a victory to me.

Don’t Let Furniture Shortages Disrupt Your Reno Project: Shop FCG Today

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 24, 2020 @ 03: 44 PM



Hotter’n a blister bug in a pepper patch.

That’s how my Southern-born wife described our house after our air conditioning unit broke down in early July. When we called the repairman, he warned us of a long and sweltering wait. Replacement parts, he said, were in short supply this summer.

The reason: supply-chain disruptions due to the pandemic.

Think of the world’s supply chain as the plumbing of the global economy. It’s a total bore – until there’s a clog somewhere. Right now, there are clogs just about everywhere in the world. Factories are stuttering to a halt for want of some simple nuts and bolts. And we’re sweating it out here at home while our repairman waits for the parts and equipment he needs to fix our AC.

That’s also a big problem for the new furniture business. Sofas, tables and chairs piled up in warehouses this spring after states issued orders closing stores for weeks. Retailers quickly cancelled orders for more furniture. Now that restrictions are lifting, folks who want to furnish their homes are complaining of having to wait twelve weeks or more for something to sit on.

Luckily, that’s not a problem at Furniture Consignment Gallery. In fact, our pipeline is full and our stores are jammed with inventory. Our trucks are racing up and down the streets of New England, picking up furniture from eager consignors and delivering it to grateful buyers.

Feathering the nest is a high priority for folks this summer after months in quarantine. Smart consumers are preparing for the possibility of spending even more time at home this fall and winter. Don’t let clogs in the pipeline stall your home-improvement project . Visit our three stores or shop online. FCG is full of high-quality, stylish furniture that you can take home today.

Scariest Place on a Saturday Morning: Lake Winnipesaukee’s Boat Ramp

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 10, 2020 @ 08: 09 PM



New York’s divorce lawyers are going to be very busy in the fall. I can say that with complete authority after having spent time in the last few weeks at the public boat launch on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

I’ve been vacationing on this lake since I was a kid . This year, it’s a carnival of catastrophe. I blame the New Yorkers.

Trapped in their apartments for the last four months, New Yorkers are fleeing the city in record numbers. Like a biblical plague of locusts, they are swarming north, taking up residence in New Hampshire. On my lake. Oh, and they bought boats, as in large and powerful watercraft they don’t know how to operate or navigate.

Getting a boat into a lake for the first time requires more skill and daring than you might imagine. Speed and dexterity are essential, too. Here’s why: the new – and typically very nervous – boat owner must back his enormous boat on its trailer down a narrow strip of asphalt onto a concrete ramp that slopes rapidly down into the lake.

All in all, it’s probably like flying a 747 through a storm – backwards. While your wife or girlfriend is shouting instructions from the wing and the passengers are making fun of you.

To make things worse, if that is possible, launching a boat must be accomplished rapidly because there’s usually a long line of watercraft waiting for the ramp, mostly owned by jeering locals who have no patience for some rube from out-of-state. (Attention, hedge-fund honkys: your sizzling quarterly returns don’t earn you any respect in the ‘shire.)

Here’s the scene most mornings at the lake: just before attempting to put his new boat in the water, the visibly shaky owner usually dispatches his wife or girlfriend to stand on the side of the ramp to “help.” That means lots of shouting, arguing, screeching, swearing and crying. Sometimes the trailer veers off the ramp, falling into the water with the new boat tilted precariously atop.

If I was a divorce lawyer looking to pad his roster with some well-heeled clients, I’d make a beeline for the boat ramp at Lake Winnipesaukee. Just sayin’.

Don’t get me wrong. Some marriages will probably survive the boat ramp. Those that do will get to discover the extraordinary joys of summer on a lake in New England. Nothing quite compares with the sublime serenity of dropping anchor in a quiet spot and basking in the sun on a gently rocking boat.

Covid is changing a lot of things this summer and will likely change a lot of things this fall. We’re seeing this not only at the boat ramp but also in our stores. Families are spending a lot of time together now. Formal dining is back in style. That’s one shift I never saw coming.

With limited seating at restaurants, and fears of a resurgence of the coronavirus, big family dinners are suddenly in vogue. Customers are flocking to our stores looking for dining sets that seat eight, ten or even 12. “What’s the largest table you have?” is a question we’re hearing more and more at FCG.

Comical as it may be sometimes, families are trying to create new ways of being together in this new and scary era. Visit FCG or shop our website for inspiration. We promise we’ll make it easy for you to enjoy family time. No navigational skills required.

Stars and Stripes and Plaids and Florals: FCG Has it All in Our Three Stores

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 03, 2020 @ 06: 34 PM



While our nation continues to squabble over the issue of how long people should stay trapped inside their burrows, one thing is certain. Lots and lots of furniture is being released into the wild.

Chalk it up to yet another of the strange and curious consequences of a national quarantine. At FCG, our e-mailbox is jammed with inquiries from folks who suddenly want to consign their furniture. Much of it is so new the price tags are still attached.

What’s up with that?

Call it furniture fatigue. One woman says she spent four months staring at the new sofa she’d had delivered in February. Stretching across her living room, it was perfectly upholstered in a tasteful neutral color. It was expensive. Heck, it was top-of-the-line Ethan Allen.

And, after months of enduring extreme boredom and stress confined alone in the house, she suddenly had to get that sofa out – now! And, she told FCG, while you’re hauling away the sofa, grab that coffee table, too.

FCG is being flooded with offers to consign furniture. Homeowners are shedding furniture faster than lobsters shed their shells in the Gulf of Maine. (Hey, it’s Fourth of July and a traditional family lobster feast seems like the best way to celebrate America in New England.)

We’re also getting lots of calls because there are fewer outlets for pre-owned furniture this spring and summer. Many traditional charitable donation centers such as Goodwill haven’t been accepting furniture since March. Few families want to do a yard sale or estate sale because of the fear of getting Covid. Nor do they want to take the risk of haggling over a sale with strangers from Craigslist.

So FCG is getting all the hits. We’re consigning furniture in styles, fabrics and brands that are fun, unique, upscale and totally different from what you’d find in your traditional showroom. We’re picky, of course, but we’re enjoying the opportunity to consign the best pre-owned items in New England.

Our eclectic mix of furniture is as diverse as our country. When I walk around our showrooms, I see you, our customers. We’ve got a broad spectrum of color, wood tone, size and styling. In fact, FCG gives you the chance to see how diverse we are as a community based on how we decorate our homes.

All of us at FCG wish you a happy Independence Day. After you’ve polished off that hot dog or – if you’re lucky – that steamed lobster, drop into one of our three stores. Every day, our inventory is fresh and new. We’ll be closed this weekend. Our normal summer hours resume on Monday. Let freedom ring.

The New Reality of Retail: The Trial and Tribulations of Managing Stores Amid a Pandemic

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, June 26, 2020 @ 05: 42 PM



“Hmmmm,” the young woman said skeptically.

I’d just explained our strict new furniture pick-up policy to her and apparently it wasn’t quite strict enough for her. “I haven’t had any contact with anyone outside my immediate family since March,” she said. “Covid is scary, and I’m taking every precaution. I’m bleaching the bananas that the grocery store delivers!”

FCG understands – and sympathizes. These are difficult times, and we take our customers’ health concerns seriously. We’re going to great lengths to calm their fears. Sometimes, though, those great lengths just aren’t enough.

Our customer had bought a large and heavy dresser online. She was calling the store to evaluate the clear and present danger of claiming her purchase.

“Let us know when you’re coming and we’ll carry it out of the store and place it by the side door for you,” I offered, though I was a little anxious about the process. I didn’t want the hot sun beating on the dresser’s flawless finish for hours if she got delayed. What if there was a sudden downpour of rain? What about the pollen?

“No!” she snapped at my suggestion. “That doesn’t sound like contact-less service! I don’t want your fingerprints on my dresser!”

Service with a smile is a little more difficult these days. What makes it even harder are the extremes of public opinion. One customer is so germaphobic she doesn’t want to risk a stray fingerprint. Another thinks the pandemic is a hoax, believing with certainty that it is nothing but a minor flu season blown out of proportion by liberals who want to destroy the President.

Such was the case with an older gentleman who wanted to consign a houseful of furniture, circa 1970. (To be blunt, that’s the last stuff we want in our stores.) He charged, mask-less, into the store and shoved his phone at me, ordering me to scroll through his photos. “Sir,” I said, rearing back. “That would put my health at risk.”

Meanwhile, we’ve seen an influx of social-distance cops. You’ve probably run into them. They are the shoppers who seem to think they’ve been deputized by the CDC. They’ll loudly bark at other shoppers for stepping one inch closer than the suggested six-foot rule.

Folks, let’s remember to be kind and forgiving as all of us navigate the new rules of Covid World. At FCG, we’re doing the best we can to customize the shopping experience to all customers’ satisfaction. We care about all of you – even the zealots out there.

Boston’s Boom in Mansion Renovations Means More Great Bargains for You

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, June 19, 2020 @ 07: 29 PM



Boston’s rich are on the move.

Trapped in their mansions since March, they are now moving en masse to their summer homes. Under Covid confinement, though, they chafed at the deprivations they had to endure. No SoulCycle? We must have a new workout room! No restaurant meals? Renovate the kitchen! No sports for the kids? Add a basketball court and a putting green!

On their way to the ocean or the mountains, Boston’s wealthy homeowners are leaving behind a lengthy list of home improvement projects. That means the area’s plumbers, electricians, landscapers and interior designers are going to be working overtime on tight deadlines this summer. Renovations must be completed before the boughie folks return in September.

Your new word of the day: boughie. Pronounced bou-zhee. Millennial slang for someone or something that is almost offensively wealthy. Comes from the French bourgeoisie.

Anyway, all this renovation is great news for us here at FCG.

Last week, we got a call from an interior designer. “The McMansion family of Brookline wants to consign a truckload of furniture to make way for all new stuff,” she said. “Can you be there at 8 a.m Wednesday?” She gave us the address, and we put it on the schedule.

FCG’s furniture movers showed up precisely on time to extract the furniture. But the family’s kids were still asleep. We waited in the driveway – along with the painters, the cleaners, the carpenters and the decorator – as the family slouched, yawning, out of the house. One by one, they trickled out the front door, wearily dragging their suitcases. They piled into shiny black Range Rovers and off they roared to the Cape.

As soon as they pulled out of the driveway, we all darted into the house and got to work. Painters began taping and draping. The design team whipped out their measuring tapes and made notes on a clipboard. The cleaners darted here and there, wearing vacuums on their backs and probing every corner with their wands. It was barely organized chaos.

A sense of urgency was in the air. Everyone on the property knew they had two months to complete what should have been a five-month project. The large home offered plenty of space for social distancing. Without any ado, everyone got to work. The starting gun had just gone off.

FCG showed up to pick up some fun items that wouldn’t fit the new design. Among other things, we carried out a couple of extravagant rattan canopy sleigh beds and a chests of drawers from Williams Sonoma.

Boston’s wealthy families are enjoying a home-reno spending spree. Furniture Consignment Gallery is at their service. We’re racing from one to posh estate to another these days, bringing loads of top-quality furniture into our three showrooms. We’re back in business. You won’t believe the bargains we’ve got for you.

New Rules and New Hours But FCG Still Offers Lots of Fabulous Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, June 12, 2020 @ 05: 16 PM



Finally, the doors are open once again at FCG!

Last Monday, Massachusetts’ governor gave the order allowing retailers to open their doors to the public. For weeks, I’d been hoping for – and fretting about – that moment. I knew it wouldn’t be business as usual, post-lockdown, but I wasn’t quite sure what the new normal would be like for you, our customers, or us at FCG.

So we’re taking it one day at a time, working diligently to protect the health of our employees and our customers. And, after five days back in business, we’ve learned a few things.

First, let’s just acknowledge that everyone hates the face masks, which are mandatory in Massachusetts. We hate them. You hate them. Everyone wears one walking into our stores, but yanks it down to talk to staff at the service counter. Please, for your safety and ours, keep your mask on while in any of our three stores. This is the key to preventing more cases of Covid-19.

FCG is strict about social distancing. Our customers are, too, until they want to show us photos of the furniture they want to sell. Please, don’t give us your cell phone and ask us to swipe through the photos. For now, that’s just too dangerous. Email the photos to FCG! (And a reminder: FCG won’t accept your Queen Anne dining set or your TV armoire. That’s dangerous, too: dangerously out-of-date.)

FCG prides itself on its customer service and, until recently, our staffers were quick to offer our customers help loading their newly-bought furniture into their cars. Sadly, we aren’t able to do that during this pandemic. We’re looking forward to the day when we can resume the kind of white-glove service we’re famous for.

We’ve also modified the hours our stores are open to the shopping public. FCG’s stores in Hanover and Natick will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those stores will be closed on Sundays.

Mondays will be reserved for shopping by appointment only in Hanover and Natick. Any customers who are over 60 or at high risk of infection, please make an appointment to shop on Monday. We’re eager to protect your health and offer you the opportunity to shop with fewer folks in the store.

Our Plymouth store is operating on a slightly different schedule. It will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Plymouth will be closed Sunday and Monday. Appointment-only shopping will be on Tuesday.

Despite the new restrictions and hours, we’re proud we’ve been able to maintain one certainty. Our showrooms always have been and always will be stocked with beautiful furniture at great prices, and there’s always more on the way.

Stay Tuned! FCG Hopes to Open Its Doors to the Public Soon

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, June 05, 2020 @ 02: 47 PM



Today will be a big day for FCG.

Like a lot of other folks, we’re waiting with bated breath to hear the governor detail his plans to continue re-opening the state of Massachusetts. That news will be vital to FCG. When will we get to open the doors of our three stores?

Full confession: I’ve got pretty low expectations here. In my view, the lockdown was bungled badly. Small business suffered mightily while big nation retail chains prospered. Will the re-opening be any different? But you’ve heard enough of my grumbling on this blog in recent weeks. Let’s be optimistic.

While we wait for the formal announcement, I want to reassure you. FCG will take all precautions to insure your safety while shopping in our stores. At the same time, we’re eager to keep providing the helpful, cheerful customer service you’ve told me you’ve enjoyed for years.

Our delivery service is ready and willing to serve you. Neither rain nor heat nor heavy traffic will keep our guys from their appointed rounds. On any given day, our trucks are continuing to deliver furniture to homes from Mattapan to Wellesley.

FCG’s clients are a rare breed. They’re incredibly smart shoppers and they’re loyal. They demand quality, value, and good service – and judging from the hundreds of comments on our website and by email – they appreciate our efforts to give them what they want and deserve.

At FCG, we care deeply about you. We care about your home, your current decorating project and your future ones. And, once we get the okay from our governor, we look forward to throwing open our doors and seeing you in our stores soon!

How FCG is Adapting to the New Rules of a Post-Covid World

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 29, 2020 @ 05: 22 PM



What is life going to be like once the threat of coronavirus has eased for Americans?

Life, as we knew it, will be changed in ways large and small over the next few years. Our working lives will be different and so will our home life as we adjust to the new normal. Three months of lockdown have radically changed the way we work, shop, socialize and educate our children.

What exactly does all this mean for retailers like FCG?

That’s what’s on my mind these days. We’re looking forward to re-opening our three stores with appropriate precautions to guard the health of our employees and customers once we’ve gotten the approval of state authorities. But we’re also making small changes so that our customers can start shopping again with confidence.

After all, after three months of sheltering in place, there’s a new urgency about updating our homes and making them more comfortable – especially if lockdowns like the one we’ve lived through might be more common in the future.

One of the changes we’ve implemented recently will offer peace of mind to our customers when they buy furniture and home accessories online. Under our old policy, all sales – online and in the stores – were final. Now, we will allow customers to return items bought online under certain conditions.

What are the conditions? For one, any item purchased online can be cancelled within five days from the time of purchase. This newly relaxed policy gives our customers the opportunity to visit our stores and inspect the item before loading it into their cars. Once the item has left the store and our parking lot, that sale is final. We've also relaxed our policy for those opting for a local delivery. We hope this gives our customers more confidence when they proceed to checkout. 

Like every business in the U.S., we’re experimenting with new practices to better serve our customers. (Check out our Covid 19 Addendum to our Return Policy on our website. ) We’re trying to be responsive to their needs and concerns in this strange new post-virus world. We suspect there will be a few people who will push the limits of our newly relaxed guidelines but for the most part our customers understand and appreciate our policies.

Going forward, all of us are going to have to adjust to a new and radically different world. One thing you can count on: FCG is going to make sure you have safe access to the best high quality furniture and accessories in New England.

Pandemic Woes: Homeschooling and Running a Small Business Don’t Mix

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 22, 2020 @ 05: 27 PM



“Your mask, young man,” I said wearily to my twelve-year-old son, Robbie.

Robbie was sitting in front of his computer in a quiet corner of our furniture showroom in Natick. He was meeting with his science teacher by Zoom. Around him were the tools of the virtual student’s trade: notepads, pens, pencils and a keyboard for his piano lesson later, also by Zoom.

I had to remind him about the mask because I was expecting a customer to drop by to pick up a chair she’d bought. Thanks to the coronavirus shutdown, Robbie’s been out of school for weeks. I’ve started taking him to work with me, trying to juggle earning a living and child care. Folks, in all honesty, it’s a farce.

Is this our new normal?

A little later, our customer showed up to claim her chair. That’s precisely when Robbie started pounding out a tune on his keyboard, a slightly off-key and out of rhythm version of the Beatles’ “Let it Be.” Our customer was generously forgiving of the cacophony. “I didn’t expect the live music!” she said as she hurried out the door. Her comments were muffled by her mask.

All day long, customers dash into our showroom and snatch up an item they’d purchased on our website. They seem almost guilty, as if they were squirrels making off with nuts that didn’t belong to them. As if patronizing any store but one deemed “essential” was a crime. As if beautifying their homes – in which they’ve been locked down for months – was shameful.

Meanwhile, shoppers are roaming freely the aisles of Walmart, Home Depot and Target, loading their carts with items that hardly seem essential for survival: paint, plastic bins for organizing playrooms, toys, grills and gardening tools. These big-box stores are thriving in the era of Covid-19.

Small businesses like ours will have a long and rocky path back to normal. Our clients are hesitant about shopping and fearful of lingering in our stores. Despite all the precautions we are taking to protect our employees and customers, we are doing battle now with a stigma because of the uneven restrictions on business during this pandemic. We’re going to be out of rhythm and off-key for quite some time. Thanks a lot, Governor.