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Visit Often, Hunt Around and Don't Hesitate to Buy

February 10, 2001

Here's how to make the most of furniture consignment stores:

* Make frequent visits. Merchandise changes daily. Mike Spencer of On Consignment in Laguna Beach sees the same people come in once a week. "They may not buy anything for an entire month, but then they'll see something they like and buy it."

* Visit several stores. Successful shoppers routinely stop at two to three of their favorite consignment stores given that each holds different merchandise.

* Search thoroughly. Don't just put your head in the front door. You never know what might be hidden or holding up a stack of antique china plates in a corner.

* Know what you need. Take measurements beforehand and bring a tape measure with you so you'll know if a specific piece will fit your space.

* If it's perfect, buy it. Don't expect a consignment item to be there on your next visit.

* Sell your unneeded items. The benefit of a consignment shop is convenience. You won't have to put up a sign, place an ad or be on call to sell it from your home. A consignment store also has a steady stream of customers interested in buying.

* Know the value. Before you buy or sell an item, consult reference books or online auction houses, or visit garage sales.

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