A little over two years ago, interior designer Jennifer Alderman moved to San Luis Obispo from New York City. Having left much of her furniture behind, she began to poke around local shops.
“I wasn’t thrilled with offerings in new furniture,” she said. “I started to look at antique stores, estate sales and yard sales. I thought, this is just too big a community to not have a consignment store.”
Alderman opened SLO Consignment on Sept. 1, selling lightly used furniture, accessories, lighting, rugs, art and tableware. It’s what she calls the “new model” of consignment stores.
“It’s not the musty, dusty, crusty consignment shop of old,” she said. “It’s a place where you can find eclectic and unique offerings.”
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Alderman is choosy about the quality of the pieces she accepts, insisting that they be “a good step above thrift shop quality.”
She also shies away from anything too generic — things that can be picked up at any chain store. She prefers unusual items, vintage pieces and antiques. She has no style preference, however. The store accepts everything from traditional to contemporary to cottage.
Recent offerings included an intricately carved Chinese bar cabinet, modern Saarinen tulip side chairs, and an antique round walnut dining table with turned legs. There was also a baby grand piano on the floor, as well as unusual accessories like Japanese Hakata dolls.
Alderman likes to call her goods a “curated collection,” referring mainly to how the pieces are displayed. The store is set up in vignettes that tastefully combine furnishings, art and accessories. In front are the higher-end goods. Make your way to the back of the store and you’re likely to find lower-priced items and the occasional piece that needs a little cosmetic touch-up.
For all merchandise, she estimates that shoppers can expect to pay 50 percent to 75 percent less than they would for new items.
According to Alderman, the influx of consignment pieces has been steady — and mostly top-notch stuff.
“People are downsizing and paring down,” she explained.
Alderman added that customers have been eagerly snapping up these consigned pieces, keeping the turnover of merchandise steady.
“The price makes it accessible, so people can buy things for their home that maybe they wouldn’t have considered otherwise,” she said.
SLO Consignment Furniture is at 181 Tank Farm Road, Suite 110, in San Luis Obipso, 544-5900. A selection of furniture is posted on the store’s website, http://www.sloconsignment.com .