By Sheryl Young

Robin and Scott Winter are like “furniture matchmakers.” At the couple’s Home Again Interiors, in the Shoppes at New Tampa plaza (at the southeast corner of Bruce B. Downs Blvd. and S.R. 56, just south of the Shops at Wiregrass mall), the couple matches those looking for great style with new and like-new furniture that needs and deserves a second chance.

Home Again is a unique furniture and accessories consignment store , just south of the Shoppes at Wiregrass mall.

The Winters say some of the reasons people buy and sell furniture through a consignment shop are estate sales, relocation, redecorating, or moving to a place where their old items won’t fit. In some cases, high-quality and classic furniture might be needed to temporarily stage a house for sale. The shop also gets new pieces from stores that have closed.

“Sometimes, we even acquire brand new items from model homes,” says Robin. “And a customer can drop off their old furniture to sell and walk out with new rooms (of furniture).”

A tour around the store yields an eyeful of beautiful things, all staged to look like they’re already at home — from canopy-covered beds, comfy, overstuffed sofas and painted armoires to classic dining sets and much more. Every vase, picture and lamp also is for sale, most at better prices than at most retail stores.

At Home Again Interiors, customers can find anything ranging from Louis XIV-era replicas to authentic antiques to modern Florida-style casual seating and even whimsical statues.

“But, the trends today are toward dark, substantial wood tones,” explains Robin. “We have plenty of everything.”

She explains how consignments work at the store:

“The customers who bring things in for consignment sign a contract,” she says. “We agree on a starting price at that time, although the price will be reduced by 15 percent every 30 days. Around one month is our average turnaround time for a sale, but we’ll keep an item on the floor for 90 days. After that, the old owner has the option of taking it back, reducing it by 50 percent for two more weeks, or donating it to charity, for which they’ll get a tax write-off.”

No haggling is done on prices at the store. Fair market value for each piece is based on its condition.

“We are very fair,” Scott says, pointing to a heavy marble-top table that was appraised at $12,000 but is currently priced at $4,000. “We had a Persian rug that came with authentication papers, setting it at $9,000. We sold it for $3,500.”

Robin tells interesting stories about some of the pieces they’ve had:

“A young man inherited his stepfather’s estate,” she recalls. “The stepfather had been a worldwide traveler and collector. The stepson came to the store, saw the quality and how we displayed everything, and decided it was the right place to consign his stepfather’s furniture. When we researched each piece, we found that they came from all over the world and had history behind them, including a hand-carved table from Africa.”

Fine art collections and furniture from actress Lillian Russell also have been among the consignment items. But, Home Again only takes pieces that have been in non-smoking homes, without pets and without damage.


Why Furniture Consignment?

“I had a coffee shop before,” Robin explains. “I liked being my own boss, but it was hard with three children, so I stopped. When I went back to work, it was in Human Resources. Then, that job was being cut, so I had to look for something else to do.”

Robin remembered she had always loved decorating and rearranging rooms, even as a girl.

“One day, while I was looking for space for a shop, I talked to a saleslady at a Salvation Army store. She said the furniture sold very fast. That, plus the fact that Scott’s father built furniture as a hobby, sealed the deal on opening this business. Scott loved the idea, too.”

Robin now uses her love for decorating by helping their customers with making decisions, while Scott and the couple’s sons Ricky and Brad deliver the smaller furniture and accessories. A moving company is used for the heavy articles, but there is one set delivery fee, no matter the weight of the items.

Scott is a full-time firefighter with the city of Tampa with 27 years on the job. He plans to work at Home Again on a full-time basis when he retires. Robin’s sister Vicki also works at the store, so it’s very much a family affair.

Home Again’s inventory is listed on the store’s Facebook page, under “Home Again Interiors, Wesley Chapel.” There is no website yet, but the Winters aren’t hurting for one.

“We do plan on setting up a website,” Robin says, “but business has seen consistent and brisk, mainly through word of mouth.”

One example is customer Vicki Wise, who heard about the store from a neighbor when she was downsizing to a smaller home.

“We needed to get rid of two bedroom suites and a dining room set,” Vicki recalls. “I had considered furniture consignment before, and knew of one other place, but our neighbor told us about the wonderful items she’d seen at Home Again. When I first walked in there, it was like I was home. Now, I tell everyone about Robin and Scott’s business.”

Vicki adds, “Nobody follows you around the store. They let you browse, but at the same time are very attentive and friendly. I’ve already bought a different dining room table from them, and plan to bring in more things.”

And, apparently, customers already understand how the store works.

“We’ve had people watching ticket prices for when the discounts hit,” says Robin, “They’ll wait outside on that day to get a chance to purchase an item they love!”

Home Again Interiors is located in the Shoppes at New Tampa plaza at 1664 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Call 973-8363 or visit the store’s Facebook page.

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