Sean and Arlene Carr are consolidating their two South Main Street consignment stores into one spacious location on New Park Avenue in West Hartford’s Home Design District.
By Ronni Newton
After eight years on South Main Street in West Hartford, Revival Home Fine Furnishings and Décor on Consignment will officially relocate across town as of July 24, consolidating its two stores into one bright and spacious 8,000 square foot space in the heart of West Hartford’s Home Design District.
Sean and Arlene Carr opened Revival Home’s first store at 131 South Main St. in 2009 and a second location two doors down in 2012, and although the total square footage of the two stores is greater than the new space, it hasn’t all been usable, and the lack of parking right in front made pick-ups and deliveries a challenge.
“It was good space but not really efficient space,” Sean said. He said he had been looking around for a long time, but it was tough to find something large enough that wasn’t a warehouse. When Mike Mahoney of RLMCo. found them the space at 588 New Park Ave., left vacant when Dalene moved into the space right next door in the same building, they snapped it right up.
The patchwork of floor styles left behind adds an interesting touch to the new space, and sets off the furniture arrangements.
The South Main Street space was perfect when the business was just getting established – very visible to the traffic driving by, Arlene said. Now so much more of the business comes from repeat customers or word of mouth.
Sean said that a few years ago, he never would have considered moving to New Park Avenue, but now it’s really transforming into an up-and-coming destination, especially for businesses in the home design and decoration industry.
“Here we have Tile America, Holland Kitchen, Dalene Flooring,” Sean said. Revival Home also does a lot of work with Kellie Burke Interiors, which has recently relocated to the Home Design District – the area of New Park Avenue from Flatbush Avenue to New Britain Avenue, where many businesses in the renovation and home design industry are clustered. The location creates a natural synergy, he said.
Revival Home is 100 percent consignment, but the inventory is carefully curated. “What distinguishes us is that we’re higher end. We’re picky,” Arlene said.
Sean said he turns down about 80 percent of what he looks at – because it’s too worn, or dirty, or not well made. The items may technically be “used” – but they’re definitely not worn out.
Being particular doesn’t translate into being high-priced, the Carrs said. While Revival Home’s prices aren’t what one might find at a tag sale or flea market, they sell high quality merchandise for about one-third of what you might pay at a retail store. That’s just the initial price. Tickets are reduced by 10 percent for each month an item remains in inventory, up to four months, but most items sell within 30 days.
Pointing to a dining room set on display, Arlene said it’s made of high quality wood. “Those are the pieces you can pass on.”
The Carrs didn’t set out to open an upscale consignment business, or even work together, when they first got married. Sean’s background was in the distribution end of retail, but his job with Filene’s was phased out in 2004. At the time Arlene was staying home with their two young sons.
After reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about people impacted by the recession downsizing and making a living selling their possessions on eBay, Sean developed his own eBay business, selling high-end clothing, home accessories and small furnishings, artwork, and even cars that he found at auctions and estate sales.
The business was a financial success – even though what Sean could sell was limited to what he could store at his own home.
As the couple’s sons were getting older and more independent, Arlene started accompanying Sean to estate sales, and started noticing the beautiful furniture they had to pass up because of space constraints.
Arlene, who had a background in fashion and art direction, was ready to return to the workforce. The idea was born for the brick and mortar shop, which she would manage.
While many customers like to come in and browse, or arrive in search of a particular item, Revival Home does about half of its business online, Sean said, selling directly from the website as well as through Etsy, One Kings Lane, Chairish.com, and eBay. They will ship anywhere in the world.
Arlene said they are always keeping an eye out for mid-century modern pieces, in the Mad Men-esque style that is very popular these days. They’re shipping a lot of those styles to customers in New York City, Brooklyn, LA, and Miami, she said.
In addition to mid-century modern, Sean said that right now high quality dining room furnishings, leather seating – especially styles that are tufted and finished with nailhead trim, are very popular. They have also been selling a lot of sterling, and blue and white décor.
Brands include Ethan Allen, Baker, Henredon, Lillian August, and Ralph Lauren. They also sell rugs and original and limited edition artwork.
Some of the most unique items sold include a Murano glass chandelier, which Sean said included 40 pieces of spaghetti glass. It retailed for $12,000, but Revival Homes sold it for less than $4,000.
They also sold a fruitwood table that came from the offices of billionaire businessman Henry Kravis.
A majority of Revival Home’s customers – both those that consign and those that purchase – are either downsizing or upsizing. Many who come in to consign what they no longer want find something else for their new space.
They’ve done a lot of business with ESPN employees moving in and out of the area.
Revival Home does a lot of repeat business, and the business also keeps a wish list for customers and let them know when an item has been located. Many times the inventory is sold before it even lands in the showroom.
While the Carrs live in Glastonbury, they said West Hartford makes much more sense for their type of business.
“In West Hartford and the surrounding towns there’s more ‘old money,’ and that means nice furniture,” Arlene said.
The Carrs will do appraisals for free, which Sean said surprises many people. They also have two decorators on staff and offer upholstery services.
Revival Home hasn’t had to close to accommodate the move, and inventory has been gradually being transferred to the new space over the past few weeks.
The two South Main Street stores will close by July 23. The official grand opening at 588 New Park Ave. will be Monday, July 24, but that will be preceded by a soft opening.
During the grand opening opening week, from July 24-30, a portion of proceeds will be donated to the “Breast Friends Fund,” in honor of Arlene’s mother, Estrellita Quintans, who died of breast cancer last year. The Breast Friends Fund was founded by Glastonbury resident Sandy Cassanelli and Simsbury resident Heidi Misko Grisé, with the mission of funding metastatic breast cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Revival Home’s new location at 588 New Park Ave. is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information follow Revival Home on Instagram, Facebook, or on their website www.revivalhomestore.com. Revival Home can also be be contacted at [email protected] or 860-313-0093.
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