FurnitureConsignment.com Blog

Man Chair Love

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 14, 2015 @ 04: 48 PM
"Can you do anything with this?" The older gentleman slid a photo of a tattered plaid chair across the counter at me. "Well," I said hesitantly, hoping not to hurt his feelings, "that might be difficult for us to sell..."
 
"Sell it?" he growled. "I don't want you to sell it! I want you to fix it!"
 
Turns out, this chair has been his throne for almost four decades. The pitch of its recline was perfect. Its cushions supported his neck and back properly. And, best of all, his plaid chair had some powerful sports mojo.
 
From that throne, he'd watched quarterback Doug Flutie throw the infamous Hail Mary pass in 1984. He'd witnessed Larry Bird steal the ball in 1987 to win the game for the Boston Celtics.  He'd seen the Red Sox reverse the Curse in 2004, the Bruins hoist the Cup in 2011. Now, he's asking me to fix that chair so he can watch Brady continue his Revenge Tour into 2016.
 
Upholstering a chair is expensive, I explained. I took him on a tour of the showroom, hoping he would find a replacement. 
 
Little did he know, I've been looking for the perfect chair, too. I prowl the showrooms regularly, sitting in every one on the floor searching for a throne made just for me. One with a flat - not rolled - arm so I can rest a cold bourbon on it in the evening. One that soothes my sciatica. I've been looking for years. I have my eye on the American Leather swivel recliner. I gently steered him away from it because that might be the one for me.
 
Regardless, my customer, the older gentleman, decided he didn't have the time for that kind of odyssey. He opted to reupholster his faithful furniture companion. After all, he figured, it's a small price to pay for a chair that brings good fortune to his favorite teams.
 
"You can pick it up after this Sunday, but I want it back before the Denver game," he barked. 

Topics: consignment, Furniture, reupholstery

Welcome Return to Quality

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, October 27, 2015 @ 10: 35 AM
img_4940Our Hanover showroom boasts a trove of treasure this week: 49 pieces of new furniture made by master craftsmen right here in our hometown. Their artistry is extraordinary. Every piece of hardwood has been meticulously matched for figure and grain. Every surface has been planed by hand, every dovetail cut by hand, every decorative element carved by hand.
 
Finally, each piece was signed by the artisan who made it, a personal pledge of pride in meticulous craftsmanship.
 
I thought a lot about the quality of those pieces this week. I was making my first pilgrimage to High Point, North Carolina, the furniture capital of the world. Diana and I were there to buy accessories such as lamps and art for our three showrooms. Diana was also picking out fabric for a new line of chairs we plan to offer in our store in Chestnut Hill.   img_4880
 
To the uninitiated, High Point can be overwhelming: 10 million square feet of items for the home from frou-frou pillows to bedroom suites, oil paintings to faux plants, chandeliers to candlesticks, tassels to teapots.Over three days, I wore out the leather soles of my shoes trying to see everything.
 
What struck me hard was the questionable quality of the furniture. Much of it is mass-produced in pieces overseas now, shipped to our shores and assembled here in the U.S. Like those towns that once pocked the Wild West, featuring slapdash stores with fake facades, High Point seemed to me to be oversized and overpriced. In other words, it was all show, no substance.  
 
What a relief to come home to quality.

Topics: High Point, consignment, Furniture

Our Policy on Policies

Posted by Jay Frucci on Mon, September 21, 2015 @ 04: 01 PM
holdit-sign"We need a policy!" Ron, veteran manager of our store in Hanover, said firmly, looking directly at me. "Enough is enough."
 
Policy. That word fills me with dread. Ten years ago, Diana and I made the leap from Corporate America into our own small business in part to escape the rigid policies that big companies inflict on employees and customers. We believe policies hamper creativity and initiative. At FCG, we hire smart people and we trust them to make good decisions on behalf of the customer and the company.
 
Still, Ron had a point. He was frustrated with all the confusion - and, at times, disappointment - created when one of our customers puts a piece of furniture on "hold."
 
At FCG, we allow our customers to put a "hold" on a piece of furniture until they can make a reasoned decision as to whether the piece is right for their home. We'll honor that hold - that is, we won't sell that piece - generally for 24 hours.
 
However, there's a catch. If another buyer comes into the showroom and expresses an interest in buying the piece, we'll call the person who put it on hold. At that time, on the phone, they have to make a decision to buy or not to buy.  We make every reasonable effort to reach the first buyer, but if we can't, we will sell the piece to the person in front of us.
 
That's only fair to our consignors who have entrusted us to sell their items quickly and at the highest possible price.
 
I don't like holds. They cause confusion. Some buyers think a hold will last for a week - or a month. Others are upset getting a phone call that will require they make an instant decision. We don't like disappointing anyone.  
 
Still, for our business, holds are a necessity. Some buyers spot a piece of furniture online and are willing to drive an hour or more to check it out. Sometimes, they'll call us as they are pulling out of the driveway to ask us to put the piece on hold. Or wife may want her husband to see the piece after work before they buy it. We think it's only fair to give our buyers that time, if possible.
 
I understand the frustration our salespeople and managers encounter explaining and enforcing a hold. But I still don't want to put in place some legalistic policy, one that would have a hold expire precisely at the stroke of midnight. I want to empower our employees to use common sense and do what's right for the buyer, the seller and the business.
 
So we're not going to join the cable company, the utility and the rest of Corporate America. We're not going to put a lot of policies between us and you. In fact, to us it is a point of pride: FCG has a non-policy policy. 

Topics: consignment, MA, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, consignment policy

Go To School

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 05, 2015 @ 12: 00 PM
We sprang out of bed even before the alarm. Diana raced to the kitchen, started the coffee and tossed the cereal bowls onto the table. Upstairs, I slathered my face with shaving cream while singing a tune. I nicked myself a couple of times, but, still, I knew it was going to be a great day.
 
I was full of adrenaline, as excited as I'd been for my first day of college, my first job interview, the day we acquired Furniture Consignment Gallery. go to school cake
 
I didn't need any coffee, but what the heck, we were ready to live dangerously. Diana grinned as she slid a hot cup of java across the table to me. Our eyes locked in a conspiratorial gaze.
 
"We need to focus -" she said.  "We can't screw this up," I blurted out at the same time.
 
 "Those kids are going back to school," we agreed. "Today!" We exchanged a high five for good luck.
 
Moments later, the boys straggled into the kitchen. Soon, the French toast was flying from griddle to plate. Sure, there was some whining, a few mild curses mumbled under the breath, and the occasional hostile stare from the offspring.  But in record time, the boys were fed and out the door. They looked like a trio of turtles trudging down the driveway with their bulging backpacks strapped to their backs.  
 
Son #1 was on the bus at 6:55 a.m. Son #2 left at 7:05, and #3 at 7:25.
 
"See you later!" I sang, waving goodbye as the last bus rumbled down the road. Then, I broke into an impromptu and utterly joyful "moon walk" back to the house.
 
With three boys ages 7 to 15, summer had seemed to last forever. I'd had three long months of repeating myself, louder and louder, to break through the sound barrier of their headphones.  (Favorite phrase of the oldest, repeated endlessly: "Huh?")
 
Then there were all those last-minute excursions with friends. "Dad, we're going to the golfing range... the ice cream shop ... the pool ... the mall." That was followed by "Can you drive? Can you drive? Can you drive?"
 
When I wasn't a chauffeur, I felt like the clean-up crew trailing after a three-ring circus. I spent the summer turning off lights in empty rooms, flushing unflushed toilets, emptying full bins of trash and clearing a path through the sports gear into the house. I was ready for this moment.
 
Diana gave the boys a sneak peek at their afternoon snack as they walked out the door. She'd baked them a cake. On it, in fresh frosting, she'd written the words GO TO SCHOOL.
 
Freedom! It's wonderful. If the school nurse calls, I'm not answering.

Topics: family, consignment, school, boston, MA, chestnut hill, newton, Furniture Consignment, Hanover, plymouth Furniture, plymouth, furnitureconsignment.com, children, kids, school bus, back to school, boston consignment

When Haggling Bury The Hatchet

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 29, 2015 @ 10: 55 AM
Get out," I said firmly. "And don't ever come back."
I was shocked - and so was he. In ten years of business, I have never once kicked a customer out of the store. Until now. And, yes, this guy more than deserved it.
What happened?
He approached me at the store one day last week with a question about a "crappy piece of furniture that's seen better days." Actually, the piece was an antique pine cabinet full of vintage charm. Gesturing at it with contempt, he launched into a litany of its imperfections. The doors didn't line up correctly. The lock was sticky. The glue on the dovetail drawers had loosened.
"Your price," he said, raising his voice, "is crazy." 63523_hatchet_lg
At this point, I must admit, the guy was starting to irritate me. The imperfections, I told him, are partly by design and partly the result of age, neither of which should be fixed or repaired. Apparently angered by my response, he began insulting me, my business and my integrity.
Now, in our business, we see a lot of folks who want to haggle a bit for a better price. In some cases, certain pieces have lingered on the showroom floor too long, and we may discount the price for a buyer eager to take the item home. In other situations, we will demur, knowing that a piece will sell quickly as priced.  
Our goal is to keep all our customers happy. Our consignors want us to sell their items for the highest price. Our buyers, on the other hand, are looking for a bargain on quality furniture. We walk the knife's edge every day trying to please both.   
At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we welcome all customers, including the bargain-hunters. If you think there's room to haggle on an item, make us an offer. We'll do our best to help you buy the piece you love at a price you can afford.
But try to remember: negotiating is an art best done with a butter knife instead of a hatchet.

Topics: haggle, consignment, boston, MA, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, bury the hatchet

Neighborly Agenda

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 22, 2015 @ 12: 43 PM
neighborMoments after the moving van pulled out of the driveway of his new waterfront home earlier this summer, she appeared at the front door. Tiny, silver-haired and roly-poly, she thrust out a tray of mouth-watering, freshly-made cannolis dusted with sugar. He had to stop himself from snatching one off the plate, he confessed later.
 
"I comma to say hello," she said in an accent as thick as the day, seventy years ago, that she left the Old Country.  "What you eat today? Burger? That's-a no good. I've got meatballs at home. And I wanna you to cut down-a the trees so we can see-a the ocean."
 
An Italian grandma is a force of nature, irresistible and unstoppable. He cut down the trees that week and earned a seat at the family table for dinners on Sunday. He's gained a few pounds this summer much to the delight of his neighborhood nonna.  
 
Now, Italian Grandma has decided it's time for him to furnish his new home properly. Out went the shabby recliner, the card-table in the dining room and the old mattress on the floor of the master bedroom.
 
Then, she sent him to us at Furniture Consignment Gallery. Nonna, apparently, knows quality.  And she knows a bargain when she sees it. 
 
In a whirlwind hour, he found a sectional, a leather chair and a dining room set. (We've got three amazing sets on the showroom floor priced below $1,000.) As he was paying the bill, he was talking about inviting nonna and her husband over to watch a game so he could show off his shopping prowess.
 
"I wonder what she'd bake?" he mused aloud.
 
I felt a pang of jealousy - and I could almost taste the cannoli. "Anybody selling on your street?" I asked.

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

August Sale Event Starts Now

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, August 11, 2015 @ 03: 29 PM

topper7 17

"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.

 

TSale Facebookhis 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.

Topics: sale, consigment, consignment, MA, chestnut hill, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, gallery, moving, salesman, brand names, busy, desirable

Hard Decisions Come With Moving

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 01, 2015 @ 01: 45 PM

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.

 

Clipart.coThe 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. 

Topics: frucci, consigment, consignment, MA, chestnut hill, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, gallery, moving, childhood, adulthood

Add FCG To Boston's List of Spectacular Sights

Posted by Jay Frucci on Wed, July 29, 2015 @ 02: 12 PM

"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."   

 empty house

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.   

Topics: frucci, consigment, consignment, MA, chestnut hill, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, gallery, moving, childhood, adulthood

Turn Your Wheel into our Parking Lot

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, July 25, 2015 @ 03: 48 PM

drivers ed carWhen 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.

Topics: frucci, consigment, drivers ed, paving, parenthood, consignment, MA, chestnut hill, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, gallery, childhood, adulthood, pavement, parenting