So, a few weeks ago, we drove down to Florida and went by way of North Carolina so we could stop at Replacements, Ltd -- you've probably heard of them and may have looked up china or silver online. I was excited to see the brick and mortar building, which (according to their website) is " 500,000 square foot facilities (the size of 8 football fields!)" and home to "an incredible inventory of 12 million pieces in more than 400,000 patterns."
I had some china to sell them -- odd plates, serving pieces and place settings. Being a seller is quite a process! The first step is to send them your pattern name and they send you an 'offer to purchase' which is good for 30 days. It names every piece made in the pattern and what price they're currently paying for that piece (or 'not buying' if there's no demand or a backlog).
Next, if you're delivering you china like I was, you make an appointment and then check in at the sellers' entrance. They take your china to a table (there were rows and rows of these tables, with many workers evaluating) and look what you brought. They'll either pay you full price from the 'offer to purchase', half price (if the item has wear) or refuse it outright (if they find a flaw or something they don't like).
|Evaluation tables ... The colored plastic cups represent their evaluations -- some are for 'full price', some for 'reduced' and some for 'refused'.|
|Boxed pieces on skids, waiting to go tot he storeroom|
|Shelves & shelves of evaluated pieces, just waiting to be put away. The brown 'stacks' at the back are the ends of rows of shelves.|
There's a retail store with lots of china, silver flatware and silver pieces.
|Fiesta at the retail store -- the tour guide told me it's one of their best sellers, which I found odd since you can get this at most department stores|
|Rows and rows of silver at the retail store|
|Can you read the price on this sterling tea service?!|
|New china and collectibles|
The storerooms have really high ceilings -- maybe 20-30 feet and rows of shelves that go all the way up, completely packed with merchandise. They even sell newer collectibles and Christmas ornaments (Christopher Radko & ones like that).
They have one huge warehouse area (the original one) that's full of every pattern and item that they sell. Then there's a second warehouse addition (recently built) that holds the backlog of those items!
There's a silver restoration service, a crystal restoration service and one for china, as well, but I didn't get any pictures of those areas, as they were behind closed doors and could only be seen through little windows. I was amazed at how they could reclaim really worn dishware and completely restore broken crystal.
Their researchers are experts, too, at finding pattern names and identifying look-alike-but-not-the-same patterns (like some of the Noritake Occupied Japan ones). I think they have the most fun job in the whole place!
The last thing you see is this hallway, where they have their most popular china patterns on display. Pretty impressive!
|The most popular china patterns|
If you're passing by Greensboro, North Carolina, stop by the store (and take the tour, if you have a half hour free) -- it's fun to see the operation behind the online site!