Martha likes to make frequent stops at Furniture on Consignment in Westport -- the merchandise turns over quickly at owner Jim Klinko's 3,500-square-foot shop, and she doesn't want to miss a single treasure. Martha also sells furniture and other items she no longer has a use for on consignment at the shop. Selling on consignment means an item's owner splits the profits from the sale with the consignment shop; the ratio of the split is usually 60-40 or 50-50 between seller and shop. If an item doesn't sell within a specified amount of time, the shop will reduce the asking price by a set percentage, and, eventually, ask the owner to take the item back. Selling furniture on consignment is popular with many people despite the division of profits, since it is a nearly effortless alternative to organizing a tag sale or placing ads in the newspaper.

Jim credits the success of his store to fair pricing and his ability to come up with new uses for unusual pieces -- for example, he suggests making a headboard out of a wide, beautiful old door. He also develops close relationships with his customers, keeping an eye out for things a customer collects or has admired in the past. In fact, it isn't uncommon for him to stop by Martha's house with a mirror or a box of antique linens he knows she'd enjoy.


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