Rancho Mirage is home to many fine furniture stores. So many in fact our little city is often touted as the home and office design center of the Palm Springs Valley. The Rancho Mirage Furnishings Associates mission is to promote awareness of the rich diversity of shopping opportunities in this category. In a future blog I plan to write about this segment of our community’s businesses. However, a less obvious and perhaps more interesting aspect of this shopping segment to visitors are the numerous furniture consignment stores that populate Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage.

Many corporate executives and entertainment executives retire in Rancho Mirage. Eventually they move on to the big retirement destination in the sky leaving behind vast homes filled with furnishings, accessories, art and clothing all with a resort vibe that might not be to the liking of their kids residing in Minneapolis. And so the call is made to the consignment store and often everything – lock, stock and barrel – is carted off for resale. Treasures and deals lure antique dealers from throughout the Southwest to scout these shops.

Your first stop might be J&J Consignments & Heirlooms. Open 10 – 5, seven days a week, this decade old wear house sized complex is jam-packed with finds. In the main showroom a mass of living room furniture is displayed beautifully in groupings. Accessories abound. Just yesterday, preparing for this article, I stopped by and spotted a fist sized hand carved turquoise Tibetan foo dog sculpture – can’t get it out of my mind. There are rooms dedicated to beds and side tables, mirrors and dining tables and fine art -19th Century erotic Japanese wood cuts populated the walls of the art space yesterday. An abundant selection of fine garden furniture and accessories are always on hand. In the back, a wear house is devoted to what might be described as the more worn furniture and accessories but one man’s junk is another treasure, and Reba I have carted home many a piece from this space. Here you will find a mass of linens – some very fine European table cloths and napkins. Cases of costume jewelry, crystal, china, travel curios, ethnic bric-a-brac, books and more make this hoard a must stop shopping experience. Make sure you say hello to Bluez a beautiful tri color collie that regally greets guest as they enter J&J’s. Don’t fail to chat with owner Jerry Effron, who hails from Chicago and has a sense of humor as dry as the desert we inhabit.

Driving east from J&J’s you find on the north side of Highway 111 the massive Cargo Furnishings & Consignment housed in what used to be a grocery store and open weekdays from 10 AM – 5 PM and weekends from Noon – 5 PM.

At Cargo the passwords are OVERSIZED and exotic. Patti Bonadonna and her team strive to keep the selection unique. Furnishing a resort home in the desert does not require the same restraint as when selecting furniture for a manse in Pasadena – to say the least! The second hand selection here proves that at least some of our residents let down some of their corporate reserve and really enjoyed their later years. African head dresses, fragments of Chinese buildings, massive doors from South America turned into coffee tables, inlaid Italian marble tables that would have thrilled Mark Anthony all add up to a fascinating melange. BIG mirrors, HUGE dining ensembles perfect for an Arabian with a harem, interesting and sometimes kooky side chairs that would add zip to any room, wardrobes that could house the Pope’s ensembles. Imagine Vegas gone ethnic. But not all is way out – my L.A based architect friend found a beautiful dark brown leather sectional sofa here that would look perfect in a Dwell Magazine layout – and without a scuff on it – for $1600. Same sofa new in L.A was priced at $6K! There’s a room of couture that’s really fun – mostly ladies ensembles but guys will find a small rack to peruse. This place is fun.

Nearby find the Collectors Corner managed by an auxiliary of the Eisenhower Medical Center. Furniture, accessories and some clothing make up the inventory that trend to be a bit conservative. Same is true for the inventory at the Cellar Door run by an auxiliary of Saint Margaret’s church and school. Both are worth a quick look-see as you never know what the day’s donations might yield an intrepid shopper. Remember wealthy ladies from the mid last century had great costume jewelry that’s now all the rage. It flows through these outlets like lava.

While were discussing used and second hand, Re Deux on Highway 111 near The River specializes in designer label clothing and accessories for women. My wife Reba and her girl friends love the place.

RM