The enthusiastic Carrière owns “Second Glance”, a Hawkesbury business that buys and sells used furniture and appliances. She loves what she does.
Key to her success, she says, is that she chooses what comes into the store and second: everything she sells has to be in excellent condition and has to be very clean. She keeps her mark-up low and local delivery is available. She emphasizes cleanliness and I believe her. This store doesn’t have that old-furniture smell.
While I was there, appliances were being prepared for sale; someone had removed the door from a kitchen range and was hard at work, cleaning the oven.
A white leather sectional corner sofa and stainless-steel washer and driver were at the back of the store; these items had been sold and were scheduled for delivery. The white leather sectional pieces had cost the owner $6,000, according to Carrière, whose sale price was $1,700.
It is clear that things are moving. A wall is covered with notes, containing names and telephone numbers. Those are people waiting to have items picked up, she said.
These days, she gets from five to 10 calls per day from people with items to sell.
But it wasn’t always like that. In the beginning, Carrière used to go to estate sales and auction sales every week to pick up items to re-sell.
Now, due to the number of calls she receives, Carrière seldom attends such sales.
I met with Carrière at her Hawkesbury location first.
Throughout our conversation, customers kept coming in to look around. A few times, Carrière left me to browse while she helped customers. A refugee family came in to get their household equipped.
Carrière started this business about five years ago. She had always loved secondhand shops, she says, so when her doctor told her to slow down and leave her job and its stress behind, she turned to what she loved.
Her timing was right, she says, because of people downsizing coupled with 20 and 30-somethings who are into vintage, quality and furniture made from solid wood.
“People want their money’s worth; I really feel that people are going back to their roots, even turning to arts and crafts — and I am talking about young people,” Carrière says.
Proof of its success is that Carrière has opened up a second location in Grenville, to get better organized and so now, you can visit the Hawkesbury location at 130 John Street (at the foot of the Long Sault Bridge), for living room furniture and large and small appliances, but for bedroom sets, dining room furniture, vintage kitchen ware and linens, blankets and more, head over to Grenville for the surprisingly large location inside the former Grenville post office.
The Grenville location doesn’t have a name yet; that’s how new it is. Nonetheless, when Carrière shows me around, bedroom sets are being set up because what was there has been sold. Two or three times over, that is. A room is filled with kitchenware, nicely displayed.
Showcasing items was one of the reasons Carrière wanted a second location. Well . . . that, and getting items out of storage and on display where customers could see them.
Carrière wanted to stage or set up much as a furniture store does. When everything was at the single location in Hawkesbury, “People couldn’t see everything. I wanted to set things up so people could see everything at its best,” she says.
I had to ask Carrière what her home was like. Was it packed full of stuff? She laughed.
“I’m not a hoarder, but I change my stuff often,” she said, smiling.
And finding new treasures is what makes it fun, she says.
Her regulars, who stop in often, know that. They visit often to see what new items have come in, apparently.
While at the Grenville location, I took a peek into a darkened room filled with Christmas decorations. It is in the works and will be a year-round Christmas room, Carrière said.
Before you ask: I did not leave empty-handed. I picked up a beautiful Ayer’s blanket for $20, eight pale pink vintage petalware dinner plates for $35 and a set of blue Asian-style bowls for $5.
If you go: Second Glance is located at 130 John Street in Hawkesbury. The store is open seven days a week. You can talk to Carrière by calling 613-676-2175.