FurnitureConsignment.com Blog

Deliveries with Extra Sugar Deserve a Tip

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 18, 2014 @ 12: 37 PM

I'm a regular at a coffee shop on the South Shore. I like the coffee and the convenience - but I don't like the attitude at the drive-through window. When I extend my arm for my change, the lady shoots me a hostile look then fumbles around in the cash register at length before flicking a nickel into my palm.

 

258 1Cheap? No. I tip - and I tip well - but I consider it a reward for a job well done. Filling a Styrofoam cup with coffee is a basic service. A surly attitude doesn't win any points from me. I don't tolerate extortion. I expect that nickel back every time - on principle. 

 

Which brings me to the issue of tipping our deliverymen. At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we take good care of our workers. That's why they have all been with us for a long while. They don't have to rely on tips to pay their bills.

 

Still, our delivery guys often get some extraordinary requests from customers. "Can you move my old sofa out to the garage?" "While you're here, would you mind moving a few other pieces of furniture for me? They're heavy!" "Yes, I told the salesperson that I lived on the second floor, but I actually live on the fifth - and there's no elevator." "Can we see how the dresser looks in that corner instead of that one? Hmmmm, let's move it back to this corner. No, that doesn't work, either. Let's try it over here."

 

Our standard fee is based on simple factors like the size of the item and location. But we've learned that hauling furniture in or out of some homes can be an extraordinary challenge. Sometimes, doors have to be removed in order to squeeze a big piece through the jamb. Stairwells can be so narrow that extreme measures must be taken to protect walls, floors and the furniture! 

 

And then there are the folks who find it hard to resist the temptation to re-arrange all the furniture in the house when two moving pros show up at the door.

 

We want happy customers. Our guys are generally willing to assist with a simple task or two. But when you ask them to tackle something above and beyond the basic delivery, well, I think that's when you ought to think about a tip. They don't expect it, but they really do appreciate it. After all, a little more goes into it than snapping a lid on a cup.

Topics: manomet, delivery, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, newton, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, chairs, quality, chair, dining, dining room, tips, tip, tipping

Life's Bag of Cookies

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sun, August 31, 2014 @ 03: 29 PM

Wafting out the window was an irresistible smell: cookies. Italian cookies, loaded with butter and spice, to be more specific. Inside, a white-haired older woman was busy trying out the oven in her new condo. She smiled and beckoned us into the kitchen. Trays of cookies were cooling on the countertop.

"Oh, boy!" I thought. "Smells just like my grandmother's house ..."

We were there to deliver some furniture she'd bought for her condo in a new retirement community. Up and down the stairs we jogged for almost an hour carrying dressers, bedside tables, chairs - and drooling over the still-warm cookies. When we were finished, she thanked us cheerily and shooed us out the door - without dishing out so much as a single cookie.

"cookies clip art cookies clipart 1Humph," I found myself stewing darkly in the truck all the way back to the store. "No cookies? No cookies! My grandmother wouldn't let you leave her house without eating two big meals and carrying home a week's worth of food. That woman might have had the recipes, but I bet she wasn't even Italian."

Yes, life is much easier if you can manage to roll along without expectations. On the other hand, life also serves up some unanticipated pleasures when they are least expected.

Monday was a quiet day in the showroom. Most moms were shopping the back-to-school specials, not looking for furniture. I was busy doing paperwork. A long-time customer popped in on her way to visit a friend down the street. She had just baked several dozen cookies, forgetting that her friend was gone on vacation for the week.

"Please take them," she pleaded pushing a fragrant tray of just-baked cookies across the counter at me." I just made them - and I can't eat them all."

They were frosted - and Italian - the best I've had since I lost my grandmother a decade ago. Thanks to that oven-mitt-wearing angel, I was reminded once again that life is unpredictable - and that you've got to embrace the disappointments along with the joys.

 

That's sort of what it is like to visit our furniture showrooms. You may not always find everything that's on your list. But sometimes, when you least expect it, you'll find a treasure you couldn't have imagined.

Topics: delivery, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, newton, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, gallery, cookies

Long Distance Relationship

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 01, 2014 @ 10: 51 AM

travelingfurnitureYesterday, a truck filled with furniture left our loading dock and set off on a journey that will take it all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. First stop: New Jersey, where a homeowner is waiting eagerly for a set of chairs. Next: North Carolina, where an aspiring writer is getting a desk for her home office. Final destination is Louisiana, where a woman is finishing off a decorating project with an Ethan Allen cabinet she found - by searching online - at Furniture Consignment Gallery.

The Internet has made us all next-door neighbors. Buying consignment furniture online is commonplace now and, at FCG, we are seeing more and more of it. So for those readers who don't live in our home state of Massachusetts, here's a primer on how to get those great bargains you see on our website.

 

First, remember our furniture sells quickly. If you see an item you love, call immediately. We'll give you an honest appraisal of its condition. We'll also let you know if the piece is worth shipping. A Pottery Barn twin bed is about $400 new. We've got one for $250. But if you live in Arkansas, that wouldn't make sense because of shipping costs.

 

On the other hand, we have a set of Kindle chairs that sells new for about $10,000. Our price: $3,000. Now, that's a good buy. In other words, buying and shipping is a smart option when you are investing in high-end furniture.

 

For far-flung buyers, FCG can recommend a reputable and reasonably priced shipper. We've had years of experience with this shipper. We feel confident in our recommendation. You may find others who will ship for less, but we don't take responsibility for delays or damage en route.

 

Buying is easy. All it takes is a phone call. We accept all major credit cards, and we'll hold your furniture until the shipping company picks it up. You pay the shipper directly when the piece arrives at your home or office.

 

So whether you are in Wichita or Washington, D.C., you, too, can shop at Furniture Consignment Gallery. Bookmark our website and check it regularly - it's like a treasure hunt with new pieces every day. Why leave all these bargains to the savviest shoppers in Massachusetts?

 

Topics: website, bargains, internet, delivery, new jersey, Stickley Furniture, consignment, boston, MA, chestnut hill, massachusetts, newton, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, gallery, travel, North Carolina, shipping, louisiana, new orleans

It's Your Move, but Arrange to Sell

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 25, 2014 @ 11: 59 AM

uIMG 5561Despite the arctic cold, we're starting to see a predictable harbinger of spring. Realtors and home-staging professionals are flocking to our showrooms. They're hunting for furniture and accessories to update the homes they hope to sell in the next few months.

 

Some 40% of home sales occur between March and June. Homeowners are busy prepping for that brief window of opportunity. The smartest ones know that clever staging can boost the selling price significantly.

 

Staging is an art. And since we work with some of the best in Boston, I can offer some of their secrets:  

 

First, update your lighting. Cheap fixtures and lamps from the 1970s are a big turn-off for buyers. So are cracked or stained lampshades. New lamps and shades bring immediate warmth and style into a home - and that's a purchase that won't put a big dent in your wallet. Our showrooms offer lots of choices from classic to trendy.

 

Put things in scale. Homeowners often roll out a rug that is too small for the room. Maybe it was a quality hand-me-down from a relative or they got a bargain at the rug store, and they figured that something on a bare floor was better than nothing. News flash: a small rug in a big room is like a postage stamp on a lawn. It shrinks the room visually. We have rugs in all sizes. If you don't find what you need in our stores, then softly gleaming hardwood floors are a better bet.

 

De-clutter. Pack up the dust-collecting tchotchkes. Nothing says Grandma like an army of Hummels. That could be a turn-off to the thirtysomethings looking for a chic nest in which to start their families. Also, take a hard look at your furniture. If potential buyers have to hold their breath to squeeze around a king-size mattress in the master bedroom, you've got a problem. Get rid of furniture that overpowers a room.

 

One last tip: beware the curse of IKEA. We've all committed a few sins in the name of frugality. Say you bought some particleboard furniture a few years ago. You hauled the box home and assembled it yourself. Now, you're selling your house. Keep in mind that nothing depreciates an upscale home faster than cheap furniture. Just a few quality pieces -- bought on consignment - would reinforce the concept of quality in your home.

Topics: real estate, home, delivery, change, life, staging, lamps, lamp, consignment, boston, Interior Design, Antique furniture, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, children, audience, target, kids, moving, spring break, designers, rug

A Series of Comebacks

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 02, 2013 @ 10: 30 AM
         b strong whiteFor the last few months, I would jump when a car door slammed or when a pot slipped and hit our kitchen floor. My heart would pound and I'd break out in a cold sweat. Last April, I was one of the thousands - along with my wife and three sons - at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We weren't injured in the bombing, but I'm haunted at the thought that my family was a target for terrorists.
         Now, after a long and uneventful summer, I'm not so jumpy anymore. In fact, the crack of a bat has been sweet music to my ears for the last few weeks. The home team muscled its way from last place to first as a nation cheered it on. The Red Sox victory in the World Series is the perfect metaphor for our city. Yes, Boston is strong.
        The marathon bombing exposed our vulnerabilities and violated our sense of security. For many of us, the trauma lingered for months. Still, while driving the truck through the city and suburbs picking up furniture this week, I was struck by what I saw. Construction workers are banging hammers and brushing paint on almost every street. The smell of sawdust is in the air.
         To me, that's further evidence of a comeback. Many of us are investing in the place that is safest and most comforting: our homes. We are hard at work to create a haven that has meaning and purpose and security for our families. 
         Six months ago, two morons tried to destroy a great international athletic event and bring a city to its knees. But we're tough. We know how to get back in the game - and win. Let's never forget those who were hurt in the bombing and what we lost, but let's also celebrate our stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. Boston deserves a pat on the back as do the city's triumphant bearded men with bats.

Topics: real estate, delivery, change, Comebacks, boston marathon bombing, boston strong, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, audience, target, moving, red sox, world series, baseball

Unexpected Places

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, September 10, 2013 @ 01: 28 PM

homeClipboard in hand, I watched our four guys in blue shirts extract a big haul of furniture from a home in Scituate, a picturesque seaport town on the south shore of Boston. Like powerful ants, they raced up and down stairs for hours carrying six rooms of heavy pieces out of the house and into our truck.

 

Not so long ago, I was doing the hoisting myself with the help of a part-time high-school kid. Back then, all we had was a trailer hitched to the back of a pretty battered SUV. Now, I'm the guy with the clipboard. We've got two decent trucks and blue polo shirts with our company logo.

 

We've come a long way in eight years.     

 

Our consignors are moving back to London.  He'd moved here back in the 1980s to manage a project for Gillette. Originally, the assignment was to last for no more than sixteen months. He and his wife stayed 27 years in Boston.

 

Their children and grandchildren are firmly planted now in American soil, but this recent retiree and his wife are going back to England. They know they'll be crossing the pond a lot in years to come, but even after decades, home has a powerful pull.  

 

They'd bought new furniture three years ago after a flood, and most of it is in perfect condition. On a hot afternoon in mid-August, we packed it up and brought it all to our store in Plymouth.

 

Life takes us to unexpected places by indirect routes. Most of the time, we are traveling without a map. All we really have is an internal compass. What is next for you? For us at FCG? For the ex-pats going back to England?   

 

Stop by one of our three stores this weekend. There are countless family histories written in the furniture in our showroom. Imagine yours coming to life with some of these beautiful pieces.

Topics: home, delivery, change, life, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, children, audience, target, kids, moving, spring break

Beach Break

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 23, 2013 @ 10: 26 AM

photo by Christa J Newman PhotographyAfter the big two-day, tax-free furniture sale last weekend, Diana and I were exhausted. We closed up the store, looked at each other and realized we were thinking the same exact thought: Let's go to the beach!

Sunday night offered perfect weather night for a barbecue on the beach. As the sky darkened and dozens of bright meteors streaked overhead, we blackened some burgers on the grill and roasted marshmallows with our three boys. Just as we were settling in for a night of quiet stargazing, four cars roared up. Out poured twenty college kids.

They cranked up the music, opened a cooler of beer and lit a fire. With skills finely honed by spring break, they managed to construct a party scene in seconds - or so it seemed to me. Suddenly, our peaceful evening with the kids seemed in contrast, well, boring.

"How did we get here?" I asked Diana, looking enviously towards the party. "We used to be over there." I mean, it didn't seem that long ago. We were carefree. We had a dozen friends who could dance in the sand all night without worrying about work on Monday. Now, we have a business, a mortgage, three kids. 

Diana glanced at me with an unmistakable expression. It said, wordlessly: "You are such a dumbass."

"They're over there, Jay, trying to figure out how to get over here," she observed, turning to watch our three boys chasing each other across the beach. "And with whom."

I laughed. I knew she was right, but I wanted to yell to them, "Stay over there!"  In a few hours, I would be back to work trying to figure out how to arrange 50 plus deliveries from the weekend sale, answering e-mails, registering kids for fall sports and hollering at them to finish their summer reading.

Then, an older couple strolled by both of our campfires, chuckling at the awkward antics of the teenagers, then nodding genially at us. They looked content. Our stage in life is a lot of work, but as the kids ran back to our fire, shivering with beach towels, I know that we will remember these times as the good old days.

Topics: delivery, change, life, tax free, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, children, audience, target, kids, moving, beach, spring break

Time to Stand Out

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, July 02, 2013 @ 12: 55 PM
Converse. 1982Timberland boots.  My son had to have them when he turned 13 in March. That's what all the adolescent boys are wearing these days, and he wants to be one of the guys. I remember being 13. I desperately wanted Converse sneakers with red and blue laces for my birthday. Thank God my parents listened. Those sneakers let me run with the pack - and probably saved me years of therapy.
 
The "Tims" gave my wife and me the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with our son. We told him it isn't a bad thing to be part of the crowd, but there's a time to stand out and have the courage to be your best unique self. We just installed beautiful blue awnings on our showroom in Hanover. We want to grab the attention of passers-by because we're confident we'll wow you with our products and our people.
 
Standing out is scary.  Just ask my wife Diana, an interior designer. Many of her clients are terrified to make even the simplest decorating decisions. "What color do you like?" she asks when she starts a project. Some clients stutter and stammer as if she asked them to name their favorite child.  This isn't a trick question.  Even my five-year-old can answer it. But somewhere along the way in life, many lose the ability to say what we really like. Sometimes, Diana comes home from a job in a bit of a funk. "I wish they would relax," she says. "They're worrying too much about what other people think."
 
1uimg 4602This week, I visited our Plymouth store to mark down some items that have lingered too long in the showroom.  There's an awesome fire-engine-red contemporary dining room table in great condition for $404. I thought it would fly out of the store when we first got it. I thought a designer would scoop it up for a client whose taste leans toward the funky and cool. Wrong.
 
 Where is your sense of adventure, people? Have some fun with your home. Be different. Look at it this way: furniture is less expensive and less permanent than a tattoo.  And you're getting a great discount when you shop at Furniture Consignment Gallery.
 
So give your home a personality-yours! - and stop by one of our three stores this weekend. We've got classic and we've got quirky.  Relax and enjoy.

Topics: contemporary, larry bird, timberlands, delivery, consignment, boston, Interior Design, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, design, dining table, fear, firetruck red, converse, chucks

On the Move

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, June 04, 2013 @ 09: 15 AM

describe the imageI've been pounding holes in the pavement lately, trying to keep the inches off my waist. Hey, I'm Italian! I like to eat. I haven't lost a pound yet, but at least there was a little less gut to suck as I was squeezing through a maze of furniture in one woman's house this week.

 

"Jay, help me!" she said. "I feel like I am suffocating!"

 

 She'd just downsized into a tidy little cottage, bringing with her a dining room set that would have been worked well in Buckingham Palace. Seriously, it was stunning, but massive. No wonder she was claustrophobic.

 

Clearly, the furniture had to go. So off it went to our store in Chestnut Hill.

  

This spring, the housing market is booming, and our phones are ringing off the hook. After years of stagnation, homeowners are trading up, down and all around with glee. And the furniture that worked so well in that four-bedroom colonial suddenly looks out of place in the seaside villa.

 

For us at Furniture Consignment Gallery, this is great news. Our stores are brimming with a huge variety of furniture. Some of our consignors are seasoned movers; they've measured the new house and they know that some pieces have to go. We're also getting frantic describe the imagecalls from some who procrastinated about their move only to realize there's no way that comfy sectional will fit the new family room.

 

For those of us making the rounds in the truck, this means long days, a lot of heavy lifting and, sometimes, a bit part in the general drama of life. Michelle Obama was in Boston earlier this week for a fundraiser, which snarled traffic for more than an hour on Commonwealth Avenue. Eventually, cabbies and other drivers gave up honking and got out of their cars to socialize and watch us fill the truck with furniture.

 

A young bride-to-be was disassembling her bachelorette apartment, preparing for her wedding - and a move to a new home a thousand miles away. "Getting married!" she told the crowd as we loaded the truck, piece by piece. "Going to Chicago!" When we were done, the crowd cheered - for her, for us, for new beginnings.

 

Some days, I really love this job. 

Topics: real estate, delivery, change, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, audience, target, moving, Chicago

The Interview Question

Posted by Christa Newman on Tue, May 14, 2013 @ 10: 16 AM

describe the imageShe was a hiring manager for a large firm, and she was in a hurry to get to work. But first, she had a job to do. Perched primly on an armchair wearing chic business attire and holding a note pad, she was in full interview mode.  

 

I was there to evaluate her fine furniture and to outline a strategy to market them between our three showrooms. In-home meetings are something that I like to do with customers who have several items that they need to sell. This business woman had no time to market her furniture on her own and she wanted to know that whoever sold them on her behalf, would not require management oversight.  

 

"Who," she demanded, "is your target market?"

 

describe the imageWe have been asking ourselves this question for nearly 10 years now as we continue to grow our business. And I love how we have been able to expand the answer to include all kinds of homeowners. 

 

"Our target market is folks who know and appreciate fine furniture," I told our consignor to be. "They may be outfitting their primary home, a second home at the beach or a city condo.  Either way, they are looking for furniture at a discount - without sacrificing quality!"

 

Get me started on that topic, and it is easy for me to get carried away.

 

"Here's how it works with our three stores," I barreled on.  "Chestnut Hill is a kind of high-end boutique where you can find lots of specialty pieces such as dining tables, china cabinets or exquisite accents. In Hanover, our biggest store, you'll find a huge selection of bedroom, dining and kitchen sets, furniture for the living room - even pieces for the man cave. Plymouth, our newest store, has a great selection of casual pieces especially for those looking to furnish a vacation home. Whether you are outfitting a city condo, a colonial in the 'burbs or a cottage on the shore, you'll find what you need at one of our stores."

 

She raised her pen, and stopped me in mid sentence. "So when can you come and get these pieces?"

Topics: delivery, consignment, boston, chestnut hill, pick up, Furniture, Hanover, customers, plymouth, audience, target