Consignment  Gallery at 56   

By Patrick Brodrick/ Staff Writer (Times & Courier)

Nice Junk
Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Your old stuff never looked so good. Nancy and Don Kosiewski, owners of the Consignment Gallery at 56, have given consignment an entirely new image.


How would your 'junk' look in a classy showroom?

CLINTON - They say one man's trash is another man's treasure, and for Nancy and Don Kosiewski, owners of Gallery at 56, it's also their business.

    On Nov. 4, Nancy and Don opened the doors to Gallery at 56, an upscale consignment shop, located at 56 Sterling St.

    "Everybody has stuff," Don said. "Now they have a chance to bring it in and show it in a nice, beautiful location to try and sell it."

    While the words "consignment shop" are usually associated with dusty and cluttered stores packed with everything under the sun, Gallery at 56, with its brick outer wall and wooden beams running across the ceiling, looks like an upscale furniture store. And, it was exactly those preconceived images of consignment shops that prompted the Kosiewskis to dub their new business Gallery at 56. The couple even refers to their merchandise as pieces like they are works of art.
    "We put that name 'gallery' here because that's what we thought Clinton needed; a place to present these pieces in a nice manner," Nancy said. "We never say we are going down to the shop, we always call it the gallery because we want to keep that mentality."
    "When we decided to do this business, we wanted to make sure it was clean and spacious and not cluttered," Don said. "Everybody that walks through that door says, 'Wow,' and that makes us feel good. We can move this piece [motioning towards a dark wood table with several drawers] around six different times to make sure it sells. That's why we don't want a zillion things in here. That really allows us to control the quality of the things we sell."
    While Gallery at 56 may be the first time the Kosiewskis have opened their own business, they are old hands at the antiquing and consignment trade. For 30 years, the couple worked out of their home, traveling to various antique shows and doing a lot of estate clean outs.
    "I don't have to take a tent down anymore," Nancy said about traveling to different antique shows. "I'm done loading and unloading the trailer. This is my permanent location; now we don't have to do that anymore."
    "Clinton is really on the upswing," Don said. "We're in love with the space and we have a ton of traffic going by everyday."
    The space that houses the gallery was used as a manufacturing building and it took about six weeks of renovation to turn it into a usable spot for the business, but the work has paid off.
    Since they've opened, and even before, business has been booming.
    "We were down here one day, this was before we opened, and we went home for lunch and a guy called us and said, 'Where are you? I've got a truckload of stuff for you,'" Don recalls. "We never know what and when things are going to come in, which makes it interesting."

    As well as the gallery, the Kosiewskis said they plan on continuing with the estate liquidations.

    "A lot of families are spread out all over the globe, but their folks are back here" Don said. "When their folks pass away, their families are like, 'OK, what do we do with all this stuff?' When you do an estate sale you are trying to sell everything in two days; here, you can bring it down and really present it right."

Gallery at 56 has something for just about everyone. There is an antique microscope, various pieces of artwork, bed frames, dining room sets, silverware, dressers, a jukebox that's already been sold, and a giant ceramic bear - also already sold.

    "I was really hoping that would end up at Michael's Bridge Diner," Don said, motioning to the bear. "He's just been so busy he wasn't able to get down here and I had a woman come in that wanted to buy it. I hate seeing this piece leave town, but I can't warehouse it either. With the type of area that this is we want to make sure we have things for $10, but we just had a lady that is bringing in a piece for $5,000."
    Don said the Gallery at 56 would take anything as long as it is in saleable condition.
    For potential treasure hunters, Don said people should never assume something is garbage and throw it out with the trash.
    "My sister came in here one day and she picked up a milk glass and said, 'I just threw something like this out.' One of our buyers was in here at the time and he said, 'Can I be your trash man?'" Don said with a laugh. "People should definitely check because there is a lot of trash that is really treasure, and I'd hate to see a treasure disappear forever."
    (Patrick Brodrick can be reached at 978-365-8044 or at [email protected])