LINCOLNTON, N.C. -- The Boyles family has been in the furniture business in Lincolnton since the 1960s, but the impact of the recession brought a change to their Carolina Furniture Mart store just four months ago.
“It’s really different for us. I never thought I’d be doing anything like that, to be honest with you,” said owner Bud Boyles.
Carolina Furniture Mart started selling furniture on consignment in December 2010.
“It’s real simple if you think about it," Boyles explained. “Most of the people who buy new furniture have furniture they need to get rid of.”
If you buy furniture from the store, they will pick up your old furniture for consignment for free. Boyles will look at the furniture and price it, and then he calls the customer to find out if that price will work for what the customer wants to make back on the sale. The customer gets 70 percent of the price of the item.
“I’ve only had one customer who said, ‘Gosh, for what I paid for that, I hate to sell it for that, but I guess I should.’ I’ve only had that one hesitation,” Boyles said. “Of course, we’ve been in business a long time and know a lot of people and they trust us. They know if anything happens we’ll take care of them.”
As of April 4, over 600 items have been brought in for consignment.
“I’m at number 657 right now,” he said.
And that’s with minimal advertising.
“We really haven’t advertised the consignment, that we have consignment goods, except for some brochures and word of mouth,” Boyles said. “I think the word of mouth is definitely helping. A guy came up to me at church and said he had a nice dining room table to consign.”
The store turned to consignment because of a drop in new furniture sales.
“I don’t think we were going to close down but things did get slow or we probably wouldn’t have thought about making some changes to the concept of the store,” Boyles said. “We might have had to lay somebody off, but I don’t know that we would have done. We have seen a lot of our friends go out of business.”
He says that although new furniture sales have picked up considerably in just the last 30 days, they plan to continue selling some furniture on consignment.