Finding the Right Look for Your Home
Are you looking for a fresh look for your living room and don’t know where to start? Calabash Trading Co. and Consignment is the place to go for new and gently-used furniture plus some tips about how to pull your design all together.
Growing up in Guilford County, N.C., in the 1950s Jeanne Murrow’s fondest memories are of playing with the other kids nearby, pulling up vegetables, sitting on her porch during a sudden summer rainstorm, and running in and out of her father’s furniture store which was right across the driveway.
For teaching her the value of hard work and believing that if you put in the effort dreams do come true, Murrow credits her parents, Mildred and Calvin Coolidge Murrow. Her father served as a Republican State Senator from Guilford County from 1969 to 1977.
Whenever school was out Murrow helped her father in his furniture business and after graduating from High Point Central High School she went to work full-time for him in 1971.
“Working closely with my father helped enormously,” Murrow says. “I learned a lot about running a business, about working with employees and customers, and I discovered that I have a knack for arranging furniture and home accents. I can design a room with heavier pieces and whimsical accents so when you walk into a room it looks great.”
Murrow’s father opened furniture stores in Wilmington, Calabash and Little River, S.C., as well as his stores in High Point. “High Point has been the ‘home furnishings capital of the world’ for decades and I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to learn the business,” Murrow explains.
“The High Point Furniture Market is the largest semi-annual home furnishings industry trade show in the world. Twice a year, ‘the market’ brings 75,000 vendors and visitors from 100 countries to High Point. More than 2,000 exhibitors show their products in more than 12 million square feet of showroom space in 180 buildings throughout the city.”
Murrow’s father’s store in Calabash, The Furniture Patch, was located at 10283 Beach Drive. It’s now home to the Sunset River Marketplace. She moved south from High Point in 1999 to help her father liquidate his furniture business before he retired. “It took us a few months to sort through everything in the store and finalize things then I stayed in the area because I liked it so much,” Murrow says.
When the store at 10102 Beach Drive became available in December 2014, Murrow acquired it and named it Calabash Trading Co. & Consignment. “The next month I opened the doors to customers and we have an assortment of new and gently-used furniture, farmhouse pieces, vintage items, home décor and local art,” Murrow says. “We also sell specialty candles, jellies and honey, antiques and costume jewelry.”
Murrow has her section inside Calabash Trading Co. & Consignment and nine other vendors have their space in the 5,000 square foot store. That includes the outdoor porches which offer chairs, tables and other furniture. Every few months Calabash Trading has an outdoor vendor market in the parking lot.
There is a full-time upholsterer in house at Calabash Trading and a number of part-time painters who freshen up the gently-used furniture or give it a “distressed” look.
As a consignment shop, Murrow displays furniture and other items for third parties. “Some people have antiques or good pieces of furniture to sell and coming to Calabash Trading is convenient for them,” Murrow says.
“I love combining things to create the perfect living room or dining room so when I’ve helped customers get exactly what they want, it’s very rewarding. Good furniture can last for decades and customers remember that together we made it happen.
“Being successful in the retail business means being knowledgeable about your products and being a people person. I’ve never met a stranger I didn’t connect with over furniture or home decorating and that’s a memorable moment.”
Throughout her 50-year career Murrow has seen changes in terms of what people want in home decorating. “Years ago furniture was heavier and tended to be dark,” Murrow says. “Now people, especially those of us in coastal Brunswick County, want lighter pieces, both lighter furniture and lighter colors. They still want real wood but many people want to mix older traditional pieces with newer pieces so that their interior design works. Adding accent knobs to bureaus and reupholstering furniture are quick and easy ways to give rooms a new look.”
She estimates that 30% of her customers are out-of-town visitors to the Grand Strand area. “They may be visiting Myrtle Beach or Ocean Isle Beach and take a day’s outing to Calabash to eat out then shop at the many stores on Beach Drive,” Murrow says. “The other 70% of our customers are locals who know that we’re here and always have some new items.”
Early on Murrow learned that it’s important to greet customers warmly and professionally when they walk through the door. So is answering their questions and guiding them to what they need.
Murrow’s favorite type of home? “Country French casual with a mixture of antiques and architectural pieces are my favorite,” she says. “For color, I add some artsy touches.”
Her hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
10102 Beach Drive SW, Calabash
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