For me, there is no better way to cure the blues than a spot of retail therapy. Better still if the therapist’s couch is on sale at one of the Wood River Valley’s exquisite furniture consignment stores.
As far as I’m concerned, the prospect of an afternoon of consignment store shopping offers me a guilt-free ticket to shop with abandon. Certainly, rummaging around a consignment store is nothing less than a treasure hunt. Consequently, finding a fabulous piece of furniture for an even more fabulous price is like scoring the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s like discovering that the pint of double-chocolate-fudge-cookie-dough-twist ice cream you just consumed was, in fact, fat free.
Would-be treasure hunters suffering from random bouts of melancholy, therefore, will be delighted to discover that the Wood River Valley boasts three wonderful consignment stores, all of which offer great selections of furniture, artwork, and home accessories.
602 N. Main St., Ketchum
“I love to shop in flea markets. I love the hunt for a great bargain,” says Worth Repeating owner, Marilee Hansen. “If you can’t afford retail therapy, second-hand stores offer you a guilt-free boost.”
For Hansen, consignment store shopping is not only her business, it’s her obsession.
“I waited tables my whole life,” she says. “Then one day I was watching Oprah and she said, ‘Find your passion and make it your life.’ I was like, ‘Yeah right, what’s my passion? Shopping and collecting?’
Then I thought, ‘duh.’” A few years later, Hansen’s passion became her livelihood.
Without a doubt, Worth Repeating indicates Hansen’s enthusiasm for her work. Indeed, the store’s layout reflects her unique ability to fuse an eclectic array of pre-owned furniture and home accessories into a tempting and coherent display. Once inside, I find myself knee-deep in a veritable treasure trove, enticingly presented in a higgledy-piggledy succession of cozy spaces, all of which offer even the most seasoned hunter the promise of unlimited booty. Best of all, these riches are a fraction of the prices one might encounter in a retail home furnishing store.
“Ask me about prices,” offers Hansen suggestively;” “I’m usually prepared to negotiate unless the owner is firm.”
Despite her willingness to be flexible over prices, Hansen remains steadfast over the quality of her product. “Every piece I feature in my store has to be in good shape,” she says. “I won’t take any furniture with rips or stains, or which is dated in a way that isn’t sellable. The furniture I choose has to be up-to-date and in-style, or it’s got to be vintage. I pick interesting and detailed, fun stuff—unusual pieces.” The day I visit Worth Repeating, I witness, and admire, an example of her discerning taste.
Taking pride of place as customers walk through the door is an exotic armoire, startlingly hand-painted in red and black and dating from the late 1800’s.
631 Second St. and
Sun Valley Road, Ketchum
“As women,” laughs Revival owner Elizabeth Jones, “it’s our prerogative to change our minds, which we do a lot. So, if we buy and sell at a consignment store, it makes for a happier household.” I giggle along with her knowingly, as I imagine the tales I regularly spin to my own beau. “Aww, honey,” I envision myself saying, “I got it at the consignment store. I’m saving money.”
I might forgive my other half’s reluctance to embrace my consignment store addiction, however, if he were to step into Revival. Indeed, I could see why Revival would make him nervous because, quite simply, the store is magnificent. Nevertheless, despite its breathtaking grandeur, Revival is a consignment store. And, as the most savvy hunter knows, “consignment store” is synonymous with “bargain.”
Revival is housed in an impressively large space which stages majestic pieces against an uncluttered backdrop. As a result, one gets the sense that each item of furniture or piece of art has been handpicked to accentuate an atmosphere of stateliness.
“We certainly deal in higher-end consignment items,” admits Jones, “and I have a lot of wealthy clients. Revival fills a niche needed in this community because sometimes we purchase at will. Then, if we don’t like what we’ve bought, we feel less guilty if we sell it.” She adds, “I deal with many wealthy people. Like anyone, when they sell an item in my store, they love getting their check. It’s a thrill. It’s so much fun.”
Handpicking superior items to place in her store is of paramount importance to Jones. “I try to put really quality pieces in Revival. Pieces that are in excellent shape and can be put directly into the home,” she says.
Later in our conversation, I ask Jones more about her clientele, probing for the scoop on the rich and famous who might wander into Revival looking to buy her treasure or sell their own fabulous furniture. “I have some celebrity clients,” she admits mysteriously. “But I’ll never tell. My lips are sealed.”
15 W. Carbonate St., Hailey
When I visit Changing Spaces, I stumble into a conversation between store manager Annie Powell and local treasure seeker Del Webber.
“The other day,” explains Webber, “I came in just to see Annie. But then I spotted something and said to her ‘what’s that rug in the corner?’ ‘That rug’, said Annie, ‘you don’t want that rug.’” Webber laughs. “She knows me well. I said, ‘I’ll take it.’ I tried it in my hallway and it was so perfect. I called Annie and we were hysterical. We opened a bottle of wine, we were so excited about it.”
Powell and Webber giggle over the rug “discovery” like a couple of excited teenagers.
“It’s like Dorothy Parker’s round table in here,” says Powell, the comparison not lost on her. “People come in and hang out.”
“It’s so much fun,” says owner Donna Alfs, echoing Powell. “I love dealing with the people who come to my store.”
Who shops at Changing Spaces?
“Mostly locals,” she tells me. “However, in this town, people come from all over the world. It’s a transition town, so there are always people moving in and out.” As a result, Alfs explains, the quality of the merchandise people want to sell is really good. “I’ve had all kinds of things in my store, from basic to eclectic. People aren’t afraid to spend money around here,” she says.
Certainly, the cozy and friendly atmosphere of Changing Spaces is conducive to excellent finds. Some weeks after my initial visit, my other half and I wander in to “look around.” We are greeted warmly by another staff member and invited to make ourselves at home. We do. We make ourselves so at home, we can’t bear to leave half the contents of Changing Spaces where it is. Hours later, we load our truck with a walnut bedroom set, and the most divine striped armchair and ottoman which looks freshly ordered from the Sundance catalogue. My man looks pained. I, on the other hand, am thrilled. I have struck gold.