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B&B Design and Consign first opened its doors on St. Simons Island in November 9, 2012. During that time, Brian Elrod and Bob Spann (the Bs behind B&B) have truly created something special. Customer Ann McKinney calls B&B her “‘feel good place.” She says, “From the dogs that greet you to the friendly and knowledgeable staff, I can say as a consignor and a buyer, there’s nothing else like B&B on St. Simons or in the area.” And based on B&B’s continued success, Ann is certainly not the only one who feels that way! In celebration of B&B’s 10th Anniversary, Elegant Island Living sat down with the store’s owners to learn more about how the store began and their experience in the Golden Isles over the past decade.

Friends for 20+ years, Brian and Bob began this venture each with their own MBAs and years of experience in their respective fields of banking and healthcare. Brian was the small business banker helping Bob’s physicians finance, expand, and diversify their business. When asked how the business came about, they explained, “Given our innate decorating abilities, many of the doctors asked for assistance decorating the offices and waiting rooms, usually on a very limited budget. The limited budget led us to estate sales, hotel furniture liquidators, as well as consignment stores. However, consignment stores quickly became the go-to for quality stylish pieces at affordable prices.” It was this market research that led the duo to the realization that a furniture and home accessories consignment store on St Simons Island would fill a niche for gently used furniture and home accessories. They were certainly on the mark! 

Not only did B&B fill a niche on the island, but it is also part of an industry with explosive growth. According to a CNBC Report, “The consignment Industry is predicted to exceed $53B in revenue for 2022.” The National Association of Retail and Thrift Stores, states the US secondhand market will more than double by 2026. Increased costs of furniture & home accessories, scarcity of new inventory and long wait times for new furniture are all factors that have brought consumers into consignment stores. Several years ago, these individuals would not have considered gently used furniture as an option.

An influx of new customers keeps Brian and Bob on their toes. The consignment industry, like the fashion industry, will always be a slave to demands in current decorating styles, colors that are in vogue, and upcoming trends. This requires B&B Design and Consign to read, listen, and assess trends for the Coastal Georgia market. Brian explains, “Every market is different, but the Golden Isles has an interesting population mix of full time owners, second home owners (many who are snowbirds), and tourists. Each come with their own expectations to consign and purchase. We see demand increase in October of each year when snowbirds return for the winter. They haven’t been in their homes for six months and usually like to make changes or updates to their décor.” When asked about current trends, they respond, “We’ve seen a continued trend moving from less formal to a relaxed coastal style that fits into many of the lifestyles here in the Golden Isles.” 

The discerning shopper and bargain hunter will find B&B is a veritable treasure trove of unique items, including art. Bob says, “Artwork is the biggest seller at B&B and there is a great art community here.  We have consigned artwork of most of the prominent artists in the Golden Isles.  We also offer many nice pieces that are prints, limited prints, artist proof prints, and giclées (prints on canvas). Subject matter, style, and material are quite wide ranging. We sell artwork for most any décor you can imagine.” Additionally, because B&B’s consignors have lived around the world and traveled extensively, their acquisitions contribute to the rich diversity of items carried in the shop. Some of these items include a complete set of Turkish copper kitchen utensils and sculpture usually found in Metropolitan Museum shops. You’ll even find fantastic pieces hanging from the ceiling! Bob and Brian had to put up a sign reminding customers to look up so they wouldn’t miss their selection of chandeliers! When asked if there are any finds they’ve just had to keep for themselves, Bob responds, “Too many to name! One that stands out is the conquistador figurine that is used on our Facebook page and has been featured in several of our ads in Elegant Island Living.”

B&B’s customers are just a much a treasure as the store’s inventory. Brian was spot on when he said, “The warmth and friendliness people of the Golden Isles are its most endearing attraction.” He added, “Our customers have quickly become our friends. It’s not unusual to exchange favorite recipes or be asked to provide referrals for local restaurants and businesses.” Not only do B&B shoppers appreciate Brian and Bob for the warm and welcoming atmosphere they’ve created and the top-notch inventory they carry, but their consignors also highly recommend them and appreciate their services. Bob and Barb Gilmore shared this glowing review, “Selling furniture and fine art is a big deal.  From the very beginning we felt like we could trust these guys to know what sells and at the right price.  We never, ever, had to worry about getting paid.  Their bookkeeping and accountability are without question.”

Bob and Brian also believe in giving back to the community. In particular, they are big supporters and beneficiaries of the work done by the Humane Society, as are their store greeters Lucy and Harper Lee, whose litter mates were adopted through the Atlanta Humane Society. Prior to the opening of the Big Flea (the not-for-profit retail shop that benefits the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia), B&B Design & Consign conducted an Annual Sidewalk Sale & Mobile Adoption Event each May. Those eight Sidewalk Sales raised over $10K to support our furry friends in South Coastal Georgia. B&B customers are also generous donating cash in the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia’s donation box at their cash registers. B&B currently donates items to The Big Flea, St. Vincent de Paul and Hello GoodBuy, all non-profit organizations that provide important services to those in need, both four-legged and two-legged, within our community. 

When asked if there are any tips for bargain hunters, Brian and Bob offer the following: “Generally, the prices at consignment shops start 50% to 60% off the retail price. Savvy shoppers know this and frequent B&B regularly. B&B keeps a running “Wish List” to get in touch with customers when a specific item comes into the shop.” They add, “Given our price structure reduces every 25 days, we’ll keep our fingers crossed for customers choosing to play the waiting game! However, as one of our customers says. ‘Feel free to ride the wave, but be careful not to wipe out!’” 

With the holidays approaching, there are some things B&B shoppers and consignors should keep in mind. In November, B&B consignment will include upscale Christmas décor. While fine china doesn’t sell throughout the year, B&B does consign several traditional holiday patterns, so keep an eye out for any pieces you might need for replacements or to add to your holiday table. Additionally, B&B is the sole retailer for Trapp Candles within a 25-mile radius. These popular scented candles always prove to be a perfect gift at the holidays, or as a hostess or birthday gift throughout the year. They have a wonderful selection of enticing aromas!

B&B Design & Consign has been an excellent addition the shopping experience on St. Simons Island and to the community in general. We appreciate Brian and Bob taking the time to talk to us during this busy season and wish them all the best for many more years. Stop by and do some shopping with them at 2483 Demere Rd #101. Store hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. You can reach the store by phone at 912.268.4940 or visit their website at bandbdesignconsign.com. New items are featured regularly on their Facebook and Instagram pages, so keep an eye on those too! 

B&B Turns Ten originally posted on by Elegant Island Living magazine.

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