Above: Frugal Décor & More
The Furniture Consignment Industry Adds to the Allure of WNC
Story by Susanna Barbee | Photos by Megan Authement
The building that housed the former Coca-Cola bottling company in Hendersonville took on a new life in 2013 when it became the home of The MarketPlace on Locust, a furniture and home décor consignment store. On any given day, the 10,000-square-foot warehouse nestled in the historic part of town is bustling with patrons shopping for unique items to decorate their homes.
“People love the thrill of the hunt and enjoy finding a piece of furniture they can repurpose in a style that fits their own taste and design of their home,” says owner Ilse Tolles.
A native of South Africa, Ilse has lived in America for 26 years. She opened her store because she loves selling nice things and interacting with people on a daily basis. Between her vendors and her many regular customers, Ilse’s store has developed a family-like atmosphere.
The MarketPlace on Locust is one of many furniture consignment stores in Western North Carolina. While restoring old furniture is nothing new, furniture consignment as an industry has become more popular over the past decade. With the Asheville area already a hub for antique shopping, the addition of furniture consignment stores was seamless and organic.
Sisters-in-law Dayna and Sheila Pelle opened Frugal Décor & More in Asheville six years ago when the housing market took a dive. At the time, people were selling furniture due to unfortunate circumstances. Dayna and Sheila were able to help people make money on their pieces. “It’s sad when people come in to consign for unfortunate reasons,” Dayna says, “but I hope it makes them feel a little better that their items will bring happiness to someone else.”
Dayna adds, “We don’t sell too many antiques at our store, mainly because so many other places do that here. We offer well made, quality furniture that’s been previously owned. We seek out furniture with good bones, furniture that will add a modern and new look to a room.”
Furniture repair and restoration is easier today than it’s ever been. People can now use the Internet to learn how to complete projects. A YouTube video can help someone completely refurbish a piece of furniture, whereas years ago, that resource wasn’t available. There are also a number of newer, more progressive paint brands that allow folks to paint without having to sand and prime. Dayna says that these new techniques are allowing more and more people to restore and consign furniture.
“It’s not instant money,” says Dayna, “but if people are willing to wait, they will earn a good price for their items.” Customers often come into the shop and ask Sheila for guidance on their own furniture restoration projects. Furniture restoration is one of Sheila’s favorite hobbies, so she loves giving them tips and advice on picking out products, such as paint and brushes. She sees great value in being able to get exactly the look you want at an affordable price.
Bette Knapp has owned Feather Your Nest in Hendersonville for eight years. She points out that Asheville is high on the list of retirement cities.
Often when people retire to a new area, they downsize their living space or move into a retirement community. When this happens, they no longer have the room to keep items acquired over the years. Asheville’s consignment store industry is a great way for individuals to reduce their collection of items and make money while doing it.
Locals and visitors alike love Asheville and surrounding areas for its music scene, craft beer industry, natural serenity, outdoor adventures, delicious restaurants, and antique stores. The many quality furniture consignment shops and boutiques now add to the attraction of this beautiful region.
As Dayna says, “A piece of furniture or home décor may be old to one person, but to another it’s brand new, and it’s exactly what they’ve been looking for to create the look they’ve envisioned.”
Susanna Barbee is a freelance writer living in Waynesville. When not busy being a mom to two little boys or typing away at the keyboard, she enjoys dining out, traveling, and drinking strong coffee.