Topics: sale, consigment, grandmother, neighbors, consignment, MA, chestnut hill, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, gallery, moving, neighborhood, salesman, brand names, italian, neighbor, busy, desirable, canoli
"Are you guys busy?"
I heard that same question at least three times an hour this week. Our phone is ringing off the hook. What consignors really want to know is whether we can sell their furniture. Are there customers in our showrooms? Do people still want this stuff?
We all know that every real estate agent and used car salesman will tell you they are flooded with buyers when the truth is entirely the opposite. Who can you believe?
Here's the hard evidence: our movers are panting not only from the heat but from the workload. Rob, foreman of the delivery team, has logged more overtime in July than any month this year. This summer, we've sold more furniture - of every make and style - than any other summer in memory.
Hell, yeah. We are busy.
Now, for the second question: Do people still want this stuff? We accept the most desirable styles of furniture in good or excellent condition. New, some of the pieces in our showroom would be prohibitively expensive. Say, for example, you covet a set of six armchairs by Thomas Moser. The price new would be around $8,000. At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we have a set in perfect condition. Price: $3,500.
Our three showrooms offer amazing deals like that on extraordinary - but affordable - furniture. So, go ahead, ask the question: do people want this stuff? My answer: hell, yeah.
This week, Furniture Consignment Gallery is going to get busier. Starting today, we're cutting prices on everything by 10%. This means new mattresses, accessories and the thousands of high-end pre-owned pieces in our three showrooms. The sale starts today, Saturday, August 8th and lasts through the tax-free weekend, Sunday August 16th.
You could wait for the tax-free weekend, but be aware that the item you covet might be gone by then. Quality furniture, priced to sell, is hard to resist. Are we going to be busy this week? You betcha.
On a recent road trip, Diana and I found ourselves trailing a moving van. Twenty years ago, that same company moved us from Kentucky to Boston. Looking back, we had a good laugh thinking about the move.
The nicest piece on the truck was a beautiful custom sofa we got by default. Diana, an interior designer, had been working with a difficult client who'd rejected the sofa. So we inherited it. Also on the truck was a family heirloom: a rock-maple bedroom set that had been her father's. After our first son was born, we had it refinished and it's still in his bedroom today.
Like many cash-strapped newlyweds, we'd accumulated a lot of household flotsam and jetsam and we gamely dragged all of it with us to Boston. We had a mattress that had been squeezed in and out of many small apartments. I'd hacked the box spring in half with a Sawzall so that we could get it up the stairs to a third-floor walk-up then bolted it back together in the apartment. Ingenious, right?
Packed tenderly in bubble wrap was a rickety old brass-and-glass dining set. Diana's family had donated it to us, probably to save themselves a trip to the dump. We didn't leave anything behind: plastic lawn chairs, trashcans, a rusty lawn mower, a dog crate, sans dog. He rode with us in the car like a pampered potentate.
We were young. What did we know? We paid by the pound to move our meager possessions, most of which weren't worth hauling past the city limits. That's a lesson worth considering if you are moving.
How much will it cost to move your stuff? A lot. My suggestion is to have a yard sale. Sell the old mower and the china cabinet. Get rid of the old mattress. You probably need a new one anyway. Then, stop by Furniture Consignment Gallery. We've got three showrooms full of quality furniture and new mattresses at prices you'll love. Now, that's how you make a fresh start.
"Wow!" my sister-in-law said breathlessly. "Amazing!" Her husband was just as awestruck. "Unbelievable," he kept muttering to himself, shaking his head. "Just unbelievable."
They were visiting from Cincinnati, and we'd put together an action-packed schedule of the best of summertime Boston, including the beach, some golf, the Duckboats, a tour of Fenway Park, pizza and pastry in the North End and a visit to Harvard Yard.
What really sparked their excitement, though, was the sight of our showroom in Hanover, chock full of extraordinary furniture at bargain prices. The two had just moved into a new home in Cincinnati. They needed furniture. So seeing the sights of Boston was actually secondary to the real mission: shopping at Furniture Consignment Gallery.
Over the course of the week, my sister-in-law and her husband found the furniture of their dreams in our showrooms. A gleaming mahogany china cabinet by Baker. A Hickory White inlaid sideboard. An entire living room set by Mitchell Gold. In all, the two got about $50,000 worth of nearly new furniture for less than $15,000.
Mission accomplished! While enjoying a week in one of the nation's most beautiful cities, my in-laws furnished their house for a fraction of what they would have paid at a new furniture showroom in Cincinnati.
Tomorrow, we'll load their furniture onto a rental truck. My father-in-law and my oldest son will drive it back to Cincinnati. And that's probably the best part of this whole adventure. A grandfather-grandson road trip. 900 miles. Four states. A cooler full of snacks. Music on the radio. Time to talk. Priceless.
When I was 16, I started driver's ed with a bang. I brought a cocky confidence to my first lesson. "Back out of the parking spot slowly and carefully," the instructor said after I slid behind the wheel and buckled up. I jammed the car in gear, turned around to make sure I wasn't going to run over anyone, and then I hit the gas.
The car leaped forward before screeching to a halt. My neck snapped and my heart skipped a beat. "Good thing I have a brake on my side," the instructor said drily. "Next time, Jay, put the car in reverse if you want to back up."
Screeching brakes have been on my mind this week. Cade, my oldest son, is about to get his driver's permit. I intend to give him a few lessons myself before we sign him up for driver's ed. After all, it's a rite of passage, a kind of parental EKG, to see if your heart is strong enough to handle the trials of your offspring's adolescence.
Fortunately, we have a couple of good places to practice: our stores' parking lots. In a couple of weeks, I'm planning on taking him down to Plymouth - after hours, of course, when the place has cleared out and there's nothing much to damage but my nerves.
I hope he doesn't burn too much rubber when he makes those skid marks. In any case, the evidence won't be there long. We're planning on sealcoating and painting new stripes on that parking lot in the next week or two. That means we'll have to close the store for a day. We'll post a notice in the store and on the website so you'll know when that'll happen.
We'll steer clear of the store as we're making our slow and careful circles. We've got plenty of inventory inside and I'd rather not have skidmarks in the showroom.
756 Washington St. (Rt. 53)
Hanover, MA 02339
104 Worcester St. (Rt. 9 East)
Natick, MA 01760
762 State Rd.
Plymouth, MA 02360