Canton consignment shop focuses on quality

Kate Sullivan Foley

Fran Pinkham spent years shopping in furniture consignment stores. She not only enjoyed it, she became good at it.

So good, in fact, that she tired of having to travel to places like Maine and Rhode Island to find good consignment shops. 

Leaving a human resources career, the Sharon resident took the plunge and opened her own shop in Canton. 

Fiddleheads, a fine home and furnishing consignment shop, had a very successful seven year run in the building located next to the Canton Public Library. Earlier this year, that building was sold and Pinkham, encouraged by town administrators, moved the store to another Canton locale.

Named for the edible fern delicacy common in northern Maine, Fiddleheads is now nestled in the far corner of the strip plaza across Washington Street from the Village Shoppes. 

The 3,700-square-foot store offers one-level shopping, an open space design and much more parking than its former location.

A step through the front door dismisses any notion of this consignment shop being a junk store. 

In one of the several glass cases at the front of the store is a pair of Tiffany candlesticks in their original box. There are also sets of fine china elegantly displayed on dining room tables or in hutches. There are paintings hung decoratively on the walls and jewelry, both new and vintage, displayed in cases. 

Unlike some stores, there is ample room to peruse the items. 

Pinkham is very particular about the items she agrees to consign.

“Customers know that they are not going to be wading through piles of home goods stuff when they come in here – we seek quality products,” said Pinkham.

When Pinkham agrees to consign an item, she prices the item to sell. 

If the item does not sell in the first thirty days, Pinkham marks it down 15 percent. If at 60 days, the item is still in the store, Pinkham marks it down another 15 percent. At 90 days, the consigner needs to pick up the unsold item.

For items that sell, Pinkham pays 50 percent of the sale price to the consigner. 

Roughly half of her business comes from Canton, Stoughton and Sharon residents. The other half, both consigners and customers, are from Milton, Needham, Newton and Boston.

Some customers come in weekly or more to check out what is new. Many of the customers are decorators and are searching for certain items. The decorators, said Pinkham, tend to both consign and buy.

“When they are changing décor for a client, they come in. Sometimes they consign and other times they are looking for an unusual item,” said Pinkham.

And, during the years, Pinkham has certainly had her share of interesting and rare items.

Recently she consigned two sets of antique horse stall dividers. A customer purchased one set to use as an architectural detail item for the outside of their home. The second set is still for sale in the store.

Also currently available are several sets of original cast iron racks from the Canton Public Library.