come along on a Trip to a Crystal Palace and Great Wall of China at Replacements
Two weeks after rightsizing into our cozy craftsman cottage, I gave up hope of finding space for seldom used dinnerware and goblets. I turned for help to Replacements, Ltd., the world’s largest supplier of vintage and current dinnerware, crystal, silver, and collectibles, with its 12-million-piece inventory from 425,000 patterns.
Join me at Replacements' ginormous 500,000-square-foot headquarters in Greensboro, NC. (Oh, and bring Fido. Replacements is pet-friendly, too. Not as much fun for young children, though.)
Replacements, Ltd., serves 8 million customers in 171 countries and territories. Attracting ordinary folk like me selling a few unused treasures, it's also a magnet for Hollywood producers buying authentic items for film shoots or customers searching for lost pieces of china remembered at Grandma’s Sunday suppers.
I felt the company would offer a fair price for my beloved pieces to ease the pain of parting with them.
The quest started with a sellers’ inquiry form completed on Replacements' website (which gets 2-million visitors monthly) and photos of my stash. I knew the names of most of my patterns, and Replacement’s Free Pattern Identification Service named the ones I didn’t by scouring its database and matching its inventory to my photos. (btw...you can use the free pattern ID service even if you aren't selling to Replacements. It's awesome!)
Within 24 hours, I received an offer to purchase that included a range of prices contingent on inspecting each piece’s condition.
While the company runs a worldwide mail order business, spouse JM and I opted for an in-person appointment, driving an hour from our new home to Replacement’s operations near Greensboro, NC. And that’s where the fun began.
The firm’s sprawling complex, the size of eight football fields, perches at the end of a winding country road off I-40.
Gently carrying our boxes of treasures, we checked in at the sellers’ entrance. It sits at one end of a space so cavernous that Rand Mc Nally once picked Replacements as one of its top 25 free attractions in the US (free tours still offered every hour).
Inspection can take up to an hour as experts scrutinize every miliimeter of potential merchandise to reject or write offers to purchase. We were invited to pass time in the waiting area, complete with comfy seating, snack bar, and free Wi-Fi. Instead. we opted to follow the long corridor through the warehouse to the 12,000-square-foot showroom and museum.
It's hard to prepare for seeing rows of floor-to-ceiling shelves jammed with beauties and running tall along both sides of the immense warehouse!
We gawked, walked, and waved to some of the retailer’s 500 employees in the large center work area, who were cleaning and restoring items mailed in by customers. The warehouse corridor funneled into another long hallway ringed by scores of glass display cabinets .... a preview of what was ahead in the showroom.
Looking for dinnerware?
Check out a great wall of china containing only 500 of the most popular patterns from Replacement’s 280,000 discontinued and active china patterns created by over 5,000 manufacturers. It's a walk down memory lane as you spot pieces used at family dinners in years gone by.
How about silver patterns?
Ooooo and ahhhh over more display cabinets filled with just 150 of Replacements' most popular silver patterns out of the 56,000 discontinued and active patterns it carries from 3,000 manufacturers.
Crystal suit your fancy?
I see you squinting to locate family stemware in the top 150 crystal patterns stocked from 75,000 discontinued and active patterns from more than 1,000 manufacturers!
Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be more,
the hallway spills into the
Rooms of display cases
filled with collectibles
like the ones
you and your Aunt Tilly adore ..
Tables filled with
selling at discounted prices
you may not be able to resist ...
Funky, fun pices
for every occasion...
The show-stopping museum
stretching along one end of the retail space
housed spectacular collections of…
A text arrived to signal inspection was complete. The only way to escape buying any showroom beauties was to hustle back to the sellers' entrance to learn the results.
There, the inspector accepted nearly all my pieces except for one wine glass that had a teeny chip (Mercy, our eagle-eyed inspector was good. I never noticed that crack until she pointed it out!) and a lonely saucer, whose cup I forgot to pack and left at home. My bad!
I accepted the purchase offer, and Replacements cut a check on the spot. With a final look at my pretties, I left smiling with money in my pocket and visions of new owners making their happy memories with my treasures.
How would you ease the pain of parting with sentimental items? Might you use a service like Replacements? Post online? What treasures would you absolutely want to virtual purchase from your trip to Replacements? Please share in the comment section...love to hear your thoughts! And thanks for joining me on another North Carolina virtual excursion.
I am not in any way associated with Replacements, Ltd. My opinions are my own, and I received no compensation for writing this blog.
by Cat Michaels except where noted
Blogging about books, writing, family life, travel and more good stuff.