Two Local Gems: My Favorite Consignment Shops in Eugene and Vancouver
I can't believe more people don't know about them, but I hope to change that
Note to Dear Reader: I do not work for, nor do I receive any compensation from these stores, and there are no affiliate links. They are simply my favorite places to find consignment furniture...so far.
If you're a believer in recycling, and I am, then this might be your article. I dearly love older, extremely well-made things that speak to craftsmanship and beauty. I simply can't afford the new stuff, which is why really good consignment places are a top priority. I want to share my two faves to date, plus add a few other places to drop off or pick up stuff that might add to spring renewal at your house if you live up my way.
As a newcomer to Eugene, Oregon last May, my first order of business, natch, was to locate a new home. I had settled into the Whitaker Hostel in that beads-and-Birkenstocks part of Eugene which has never moved beyond the 1970s. The hostel, which which is managed amiably and kindly by a rotating staff, is decorated with Jimi Hendrix posters and antique art.
Art, of course,which was brand new when I was a teenager, which is simply one more reminder that I, too, am an antique. Be that as it may. The hostel provided me with a wonderful respite, some four weeks' worth of reasonable room costs, access to a kitchen and plenty of time to spend with my realtor just exploring. Whitaker is one of those older neighborhoods rich with character.
The exploring paid off, I found a home, and several months later, had signed the papers. What remained, then, was the hardest work: the final move in, and then getting acquainted with my new community, while Governor Brown had the state in tight lockdown. That meant that a great many establishments were closed or on limited hours.
Barely a few blocks from the hostel on 7th, which is an east-heading one-way street in that part of town, is a store that specializes in truly good consignment goods. I would drive by often, barely notice the place, make note, then promptly forget, as there was too much on my plate.
Eventually, once I got most of my stuff moved in, I also moved in on Fine Consign, which nestles along that tree-lined, three-lane street of fast-moving traffic.
Beth and Don Frosland own the place. Don's been repairing and restoring furniture for 30 years and Beth has an interior design background. The first time I walked in, I was struck not only by the quality of what was available, but also the prices. Many beautiful pieces of quality wood furniture, leather chairs and sometimes gorgeous paintings were incredibly reasonable.
Since moving here, I have been inside Fine Consign at least once a week. As I have begun to decorate my place, I have found that many of the pieces I had brought from Denver didn't work in my new house. Consignment dropoffs are Tuesday and Wednesday, so I would load up, leave my things for Beth and the crew to review, then peruse the place for what had recently put on sale. There's a timeline for discounts; after a certain time items are marked down 10% at a time until they hit the clearance. You can have your items donated or pick them back up. You get 50% of the final sales price.
In some cases, Beth has suggested I bring certain items back later in the year, as tastes change, just as shoppers do, and Christmas might mean that a piece moves fast when in spring, it's ignored.
I love Asian-inspired furniture and Asian antiques, and the Pacific Northwest has many people from that part of the world who brought beautiful things with them in their journey to America. In some cases the American-born kids who inherit these heirlooms don't want them. I often do, so that is our gain. In many cases, what my things have sold for and what I turned around and bought were a wash, and everyone is happy.
Fine Consign leans towards higher-end pieces, which in once case meant that I scored a Stickley recliner. That's a collector's item; a magnificent piece of wood and leather architecture that dominates my living room. The day I bought it, someone else came in fifteen minutes after I drove off with the chair lovingly loaded into my Honda to buy the same chair. Good things move fast, as I have found, sometimes to my very real disappointment.
Don's expertise comes in handy to refinish things to get a better price. The place has Beth's interior decorator sense. Perhaps my greatest delight over the many months I've shopped here is that every week things have been moved around, and you see some of the same offerings displayed differently. Not only has that constant variety helped sell my things, it has ended up with many a carload coming home to my place.
Because of Beth's interior design background, she has an excellent eye both for what will sell as well as what it's worth. I've occasionally been gobsmacked at what the store has sold and for how much, which I think is strongly supported by the staff's artistic sense for presentation.
Even better, Kristin and Jesse, both of whom are part of the family and who work there, are also professional movers. Their skills have come in handy and for a very reasonable fee when I've needed extra hands, either moving things to and from the store or other jobs.
The drive north
The good people over at New Dimensions wood flooring, who did such a nice job of transforming my house, also gave me some advice for when I ventured to Vancouver. Kurt, who managed the flooring install, told me that if I found myself in Portland, I might want to take a jog over the Columbia River to visit Divine Consign, in the old part of the City of Vancouver. It's just over the river, the second exit into Vancouver.
On the north side of the Columbia River, you pay sales tax, which can make a difference in your overall costs. However, I found that in many cases, the prices of similar goods was even less, so that the tax difference was negligible.
Up in Vancouver, Divine Consign has a huge, 10,000 square foot showroom for furniture and a large basement for clothing and other goods. They regularly receive donations, and as with Fine Consign, the volunteers are very good at presenting what is dropped off in ways that allow you to imagine those pieces in your home.
My first purchase was of a huge antique Satsuma vase from Japan (photo below). A quick check online -what would we do without our phones- and I was looking at an item easily valued at four to five times the asking price. That vase now dominates my dining room.
What I like even better about Divine Consign is that proceeds from their sales go to the community. From their website:
Gifts For Our Community, a nonprofit organization, provides resources for our community in the areas of human services, education and the arts. We raise funds to distribute to our community through proceeds from Divine Consign Furniture and b. divine clothing boutique, our events and generous donations from our patrons.
For my part, knowing that my purchases continue to work for community causes makes the drive north even more worthwhile. That, and the deep pleasure I get looking at these beautiful things in my house, knowing that they served dual purposes. I have a lovely purchase, and the money keeps right on serving.
I live in an area which believes in recycling. I've learned to bring my own bags, return used bags to grocery stores, and develop other environmentally-friendly habits which serve a greater good. Recycling furniture and home goods is part of that process. Every piece of heirloom furniture we re-use is a bit of forest saved, and quality retained, especially if a pair of trained hands can buff it back to full beauty, as in Don's case.
There are of course plenty of other stores around town. This list from Yelp provides more, but there is an emphasis on used clothing. I plan to explore more shops but so far, these two places have provided the best high-end, top-quality furniture.
In the past I have donated beautiful things to various charitable causes such as Goodwill, which like so many of these organizations provides employment and purpose to people need a leg up. Many of my friends who have an excellent eye for quality have found remarkable prizes in such places.
Eugene has multiple services for people in need, which means those organizations also need donations. So for my refurbishing dollar, where it makes sense, I donate. Where it makes sense, I recycle. These two consignment shops provide places were I can repurpose someone else's treasures, give them new life, and allow my better things to fit into someone else's home.
This is what getting pre-loved things means to me. Gorgeous, used furniture which made someone's family very happy, just as mine did for me, is now doing the same in my house. To that, happy pre-loved shopping!
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