Couple Finds Success With Sequels Home Furnishings
By Lynette Loomis
Consignment stores in Rochester and Victor sell previously-owned furniture, decorative accessories and artisan hand-made crafts
When you’ve lived in 15 different homes in eight different cities, you collect a lot of “everything.”
You might even end up with four storage facilities in three different states.
What do you do with it all when it’s well-made and still in great shape?
Stephanie and Don Mogavero found their own answer when they created Sequels Home Furnishings in 2014.
The play on words is apparent — giving gently used pieces a new life and a new home. But it’s also the home of new careers to the couple who has been married 51 years.
Stephanie was a 20-year corporate marketing executive at DuPont. Her final assignment was as marketing manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. She was stationed in Brussels, Belgium, working with kitchen and bath designers across Europe. Don was a University of Delaware communications professor and then spent over 25 years as an independent producer of creative corporate communication programs.
“We were so fortunate to have careers that allowed us to travel to and live in different countries. Each cultural experience enriched our lives. I also think we are both ‘collectors’ by nature,” said Stephanie.
“Certainly, seeing how other countries reuse and pass down furnishings rather than discard them, really stimulated our interest in a ‘greener’ approach when returning to the states.
Our name and tag line are our mission statement. It says it all. We want to give quality furnishings a sequel in a new home, providing a second life for lasting quality as an antidote to a throw-away approach to furnishing homes quickly and cheaply,” explained Don.
The business has expanded to nearly 25,000 square feet in their locations in Victor and Winton Place in Rochester. This summer they were planning an expansion of an additional 8,500 square feet. They have grown from the largest furniture and accessory consignment store in Rochester, to the largest furniture consignment store in Central New York.
People are constantly asking the couple when they’re going to expand into different cities. They have looked at locations in Buffalo, Syracuse and Richmond, Virginia.
“We’re trying hard to keep winter weather out of the decision! It’s great fun buying thousands of dollars of furniture every couple of weeks [at auction], as long as we’re able to sell it…eventually,” said Don.
This writer likens going to Sequels to visiting an art gallery. There is so much to see that one must circle the store, then turn around to view it all from another perspective. You don’t want to miss anything. Like an art gallery, styles can range from classic to contemporary. Unlike an art gallery, these originals are priced at a fraction of original prices.
Sequels’ approach is to consign or purchase quality, brand name, gently used furnishings. They review and assess furnishings people hope to consign and select the best available items. They also purchase furnishings at auction from major markets along the East Coast.
“We often have pieces from different furniture manufacturers and retail hubs that may be design prototypes, manufacturer overstock, discontinued styles or models,” explained Stephanie.
Currently, 60% of their inventory is consigned and 40% is from the other sources.
Sequels has its own in-store refresh and repair department where every piece is prepped and polished for its new home. All these processes enhance the quality of the piece. The couple relayed a frequently asked question: “Is this actually used furniture?”
The company also has its own delivery crew.
“Not only is this more convenient to the customer, but our staff is trained to be respectful of and careful with each piece,” Don said.
Stephanie describes their customers as wonderful, loyal customers who understand the value of buying quality home goods that will last a lifetime.
“It’s fun to see parents bringing their adult kids in hoping to furnish their first homes with lasting quality rather than short-lived expendables,” she added.
Some of the more unusual items found at Sequels include:
• an Italian settee from the North Carolina beach house of famed film producer Dino De Laurentiis.
• a writing desk from Suite 212 at The Breakers, the classic Palm Beach, Florida, hotel
• a pair of custom, commissioned Italian Murano glass table lamps from the owner of the Boston Bruins professional hockey team
• a gold leaf plaster carved mirror from Sweden that appeared in the 1982 movie “Fanny and Alexander” from famous director Ingmar Bergman. (They carried the mirror themselves onboard a flight from Stockholm).
The entrepreneurial couple summarizes their journey—“As our corporate careers wound down, we asked each other ‘What do we do now?’ Recognizing that we each had skills and talents that could be maximized in another industry was exciting and a bit daunting. Combining a passion with a business is a very rewarding experience. To do it successfully makes it that much better and a lot more fun.”