“I can always find the perfect gift — unique, appropriate, and at the right price. It can be a real surprise too. I might never have suspected what I would discover, and yet it is perfect!”
This long-time customer of One-Of-A-Kind Consignment Gallery in the Princeton Shopping Center is always delighted to find the right item for any occasion. She stops in often because the selection is always changing.
Indeed, a treasure trove of choices awaits customers at this charming shop, which is set up for easy and convenient browsing. There is something for everyone and for every taste. Furniture, artwork, rugs, lighting, tableware, silver, crystal, decorative items, and everything from antiques to the latest styles are on display. The focus of the merchandise is gently-used items, but there are also occasional new pieces, such as the set of four Hickory chairs with Bergamo mohair fabric in bold black and white geometric design.
Opened in 1999 by interior designer Altina Noel, it has become a mainstay for area shoppers. “It’s all about recycling” notes Ms. Noel, who realized that when her clients wondered what to do with pieces they were replacing, there could be an opportunity for a consignment shop.
“We provide a real service for people who are down-sizing or moving,” adds co-manager Jan Gutowski. “They can bring items to us, and we’ll find a home for them. Customers like everything — from functional pieces, such as desks and dressers, to tableware, to rugs, and jewelry. They often like the quality of the older items, and the fact that something has a history.
“We had one piece that had a very interesting history,” she continues. “It was a ladderback chair that had come from Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home at Hyde Park N.Y., and that had her signature on it. She had established a guild for artisans to supplement their incomes by making furniture, metalcrafts, and woven goods.
“The inventory is all styles and ages, as long as it is well-made of fine quality, and in excellent condition. Marketability is also a factor. Our space is limited, and we have to be selective. We aren’t able to take everything. I enjoy learning about all the different items, and a lot of thought and effort goes into pricing things.”
People come in regularly to see the latest, she adds. “We’re on a first name basis with 50 percent of our customers. They often come in once a week to see what’s new. We always say ‘Don’t hesitate. If you see something you like, buy it. If you wait, it could be gone, and there is not another one!’”
The selection does change all the time. “We have an extremely wide price range, from $15 to $50 and up to $9,000 for a new Baker dining room table with eight Chippendale-style chairs.”
Sofas, upholstered chairs, and beds share the space with tables, chairs, and an array of tableware and decorative items. Vintage Lalique, Herend, and the enamel-on-copper Halcyon boxes — all very collectible — are available, as is an antique French oyster plate, vintage 1950s sterling tea set, Portmeirion platter, Waterford crystal biscuit jar, beautiful hand-blown cobalt blue powder pot with brass feet (c) early 19th century, and most unusual, a goat-pulling-a-cart napkin rings.
A lucky boy or girl will love to find the wonderful handmade vintage rocking horse under the tree on Christmas morning, and the beautiful backgammon set with uniquely intricate inlay is a special gift for someone on your list.
All sizes and styles of rugs — runners to large handmade Persian — are available, as is an intriguing selection of chairs. An antique caned Lincoln rocker with figured maple back, four charming antique French salon chairs, an original 1810 comb-back Windsor chair with mixed woods, and a set of four very modern molded wood chairs offer a variety of handsome choices.
Then, there is a terrific drop leaf gate-leg dining table, which can also fold down to become a long, narrow console table against the wall; also, the appealing small English corner cabinet, and the antique oak jelly cabinet — all special pieces.
The list goes on. The incredibly eclectic selection offers an amazing number of options: antique prints, along with fun DVD cabinets, the popular Byers’ Choice Carolers, and a nice selection of vintage and new jewelry. “And, for the holidays you can come in and find a silver-plated serving piece or extra wine glasses,” points out Ms. Gutowski.
“We also have another special service where we provide audio and video transfer for old records and home movies onto CDs and DVDs. It’s another great way to recycle.”
The consignment arrangement is a 50-50 split between the consignor and the store, she explains. Items are kept for 90 days; there is a 15 percent reduction if they have not sold after 45 days, and if at the end of 90 days, they still haven’t sold, they can be returned, if the consignor wishes.
“We make a big effort to help people,” says Ms. Gutowski. “We are very proud of our service, and we try to make things easy. We’ll go to someone’s house to look at larger items, and we also work with a transportation service that we recommend.
“The top reasons for consigning with us and buying from us are: it’s green; you’re moving out and can’t take everything with you; you’re moving in and can’t fit everything in the new house; you want to part with estate pieces; you like the quality and craftsmanship of vintage and antique items and the value we offer.
“We really have one-of-a-kind items here at very special prices, and we go out of our way to help customers find things that are right for them, “ she adds. “And, you never know what’s coming in. It’s like Christmas morning every day! I look forward to being here every day, and I can’t wait to see what people are going to bring in.”
One-of-A-Kind is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 to 4. (609) 924-1227. Website: www.oneofakindconsignment.com.