Lost in thought, the older gentleman sauntered through the showroom, pausing every now and then to study a piece of furniture. Then, after a long and deliberate tour of every nook and cranny in the place, he made his way up to the service desk.
“What the heck is going on here?” he asked. He was clearly perplexed and even, to a certain degree, astonished.
After a few minutes, I understood why. He was an expert in the furniture business, having owned a chain of upscale stores for decades. He’d sold his company but he still was curious about trends in the business. Seeing our sign on Route 9 in Natick, he dropped in for a look.
Consignment furniture? He was intrigued. He’d heard of it years ago but dismissed it as a hobby business in which fussy folks sold knickknacks and antiques in dusty shops. Consignment, back in his day, was certainly no threat to the big retailers.
But seeing FCG’s vast inventory of high-quality and nearly new furniture was mind-boggling, he admitted. Though he’d retired, he still had friends in the business, many under pressure from online retailers and changing tastes among younger consumers. They are making difficult – and, in his view, compromising – choices. They are shrinking showrooms and reducing staff. Worse yet, they’re floor models are tired and sparse . The new way to sell furniture is to zoom through an on-line catalogue with an ipad and an on staff designer whose goal is to design your house with one brand.
“It's a limiting way to operate,” he critiqued, shaking his head. “Buyers want to sit in the chair they’re going to buy. Is it comfortable? Does the size and scale and color suit their home? They want to see and touch the furniture they are going to live with for years and years.”
“What you have here, young man, is pretty extraordinary,” he said, looking around a showroom jammed with near-perfect pieces of upscale furniture. “Your aggressive prices, your inventory, your sales staff,...” he said wistfully. “It's old school, but I think FCG is the wave of the future.”
I got the message. FCG is different. What we’ve got in our three stores is special. Buyers have the ability to interact with the merchandise in our showrooms and then go home, measure and make their purchase through our shopping cart. Our dynamic inventory provides a plethora of revolving choices. And you have to see it to believe it.