Seaquels brings the next big thing in home furnishing
Moving to the Delaware shore full-time was more than just a change of scene for three friends. It’s turned into a business venture for Cindy Davis, Kathy Green and Susie Lanuza, who have fused together their affable personalities with a love of decorating and some business-savvy know-how to bring the area its only furniture consignment shop. Seaquels, situated just inside Ocean View, on Route 26 near Bethany Beach, is a hard location to miss, and the bargains inside are even harder to pass up.
The name – a play on words – hints at the shop’s location near the beach, but it also represents what’s to come in a newly furnished home, as well as the next chapter in the lives of three friends.
“People bring in things they may have bought that they no longer can use or want,” said Davis. “Sometimes, it’s people who are moving, and they want to redesign their home. It’s all really exciting. We really didn’t know what it was going to turn into.”
The shop’s dazzling paint job, both inside and out, has had heads turning, too.
“We made it very eye-catching,” said Lanuza. “We want to try to make it welcoming. It’s something new and different.”
“We’ve had people driving into town stop and stretch their legs, and come in just to see what we were about,” added Green.
And the vibrant colors are just the beginning. Inside the 2,000-square-foot shop, there are rooms upon rooms, showcasing all types of consignment items. The furniture consignment shop has been seeing an incredible influx of merchandise since it opened in early May, from indoor and outdoor furniture to jewelry, mirrors, lamps and artwork.
“We have an eclectic mix of items,” said Green. “When we take stuff in, we realize that not everyone wants to be beachy. Those people bringing in items don’t have to bring in just beachy things, either.”
Headboards, end tables, love seats and more fill the floors throughout the building, while metal wall hangings of flamingos, a wooden Uncle Sam and a pair of antique skis veer away from some of the traditional things one would expect to find in a furniture consignment shop.
“We want to maintain the quality that our customers can find here,” Green added. “We’re selective, and we don’t take everything that comes to our front door. We accept unique things, and a lot that is upscale, but we want to keep the quality. People will come here and tell us it’s so nice here, that they’ve been in other consignment shops and ours is their favorite.”
Patrons have even walked in wearing jewelry and sporting handbags that they have made and, before long, their product is on the shelves at Seaquels.
Being situated just outside of Bethany Beach hasn’t hurt the business, either.
“We looked at a lot of locations,” said Davis. “We knew that we wanted to be around Route 26, and this spot worked out for us. We have good visibility and a lot of traffic coming by.”
The idea of opening a furniture consignment shop may be one of the friends’ best ideas yet.
“A lot more people are moving down here full-time,” said Davis. “They’re bringing some things from home and replacing things that were in their beach house.”
Others are trying to bring their own flavor and tastes to a new residence.
“People are moving into model homes or furnished homes,” said Lanuza, “and the furniture there is not their style. They bring that furniture here and find something that appeals to them.”
Still, there are other instances that few can prevent.
“Unfortunately,” she added, “there are also homes foreclosing. Those people can bring their furniture here and at least get something rather than giving it away. It’s a way to help everybody.”
“Our store has been so accepted by the community,” added Green. “They’re so grateful we’re here. People come in and ask why we weren’t here a year ago or two years ago, so there’s definitely a real need for it.”
Customers are recognizing the perks of having a consignment shop in town, especially with the way the real estate market has been.
“People come in and say, ‘You are doing such a nice thing for the community,’” Lanuza noted. “They tell us we offer beautiful things at beautiful prices, and allow people to sell things and make money in these economic times. We have had an incredible welcome.”
The trio’s motto of “Resale! Replace! Renew!” is holding strong, as already hundreds of customers have dropped off and picked up items to give their homes a different look and feel.
“We really have a ‘green’ theme here,” said Lanuza. “We’re recycling furniture and things and giving back to customers. We’re right with the times.”
Two weeks before Seaquels opened, the store was bare, but an ad in the paper has brought business in nonstop, loading up the space available inside.
“Every single thing in here has been brought by our customers,” Lanuza added.
Word-of-mouth has helped get business rolling, too, as more and more people are coming in from Ocean City, Berlin and even the metropolitan areas, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia, to stop into Seaquels.
“It’s fun to watch it evolve,” said Green. “Everything here is from different people. They can come in, purchase a chair and change an entire room around it. It’s a fun concept, because even though you bought everything at one place, it’s such a mix of things. One girl comes in and buys the neatest things. Even without seeing her home, you can really see it evolve.”
The store truly has something for everyone and if, by chance, they don’t, there’s even a wish list that customers can fill out. Once something comes in that they have been looking for, the women of Seaquels will contact them. In other instances, there may not be room in the shop for a particular item, such as a dinette set, so customers are encouraged to stop in frequently to view the latest selection.
At the consignment shop, all sales are final, and select items have two listed prices. If the furniture or other merchandise isn’t sold in 30 days of being on the floor, the price will drop 15 percent to the second price, with compliance of the original consignor. After 60 days, if the consignor does not want the item, it becomes property of the store and can be repainted or changed to encourage the sale of the item.
“It’s nice,” Davis noted. “You don’t have that waiting period you typically do if you were ordering furniture.”
Seaquels also works closely with movers, who, although are not hired through the company, can help with deliveries, pick-ups and drop-offs.
Seaquels sits just west of the Assawoman Canal bridge, in the former Toll Brothers offices. The white, pink and green exterior makes it hard to miss. The furniture consignment shop is open, year-round, Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., but that hasn’t stopped eager customers from scoping out the first deals.
“We usually have people here an hour before we get here and an hour after we’re ready to leave,” said Davis. Hours may vary in the off-season. For more information, stop in at Seaquels at 9 Atlantic Avenue or call (302) 829-8636.
UPDATE MAY 2013: Seaquel's has moved! They are located at 4 Town Road Ocean View, Delaware 19970.