Living back in his childhood home, Mark Praetorius of Ellicott City found himself in an “archaeological dig” through his basement.
Cleaning out family heirlooms was an unwelcome challenge.
“A lot of ... older stuff that was my mom’s glass items that are quite nice but not my taste,” Praetorius said. “I wanted someone who appreciated their value to have them.”
He found the solution by accident, driving through the area one day when he saw a sign for Twig, a home consignment shop at 9170 Old Annapolis Road in Columbia.
“I worked with another shop one time and you had to bring so many items in and have an appointment. At Twig, you can just swing by with whatever you want and they’ll have a look right then,” he said.
Owner Olga French opened Twig five years ago after more than a decade of experience running a gift shop.
“The majority of the things that we were bringing in were reproductions of items brought over from oversees in packaging and cardboard, and they filled the trash bins daily,” French said. “It didn’t make sense for the environment. My current store generates no trash.”
Twig takes furniture, art, decor and jewelry from consigners for a period of three months and accepts walk-ins as well as scheduled appointments. When an item sells, the consigner gets 50 percent of the selling price. When an item doesn’t sell, French calls the consigner to come pick it up at no expense.
The shop is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
French has also found that offering original works from local artists as well as vintage jewelry and a small line of new clothes helps to bring in customers.
Sue Gershowitz of Columbia, a frequent customer at Twig, says she got more than just a painting when she purchased a painting by an Iranian artist at the store.
“It was rather expensive, but I kept coming back and looking at it, and finally I gave in and bought it,” Gershowitz said. “I was thrilled when I came to pick it up and the store owner arranged to have me meet the artist herself. She is very thoughtful.”