After 3 years of shopping the Stickley warehouse sale – these are the Expert tips you need to know
As you can see from seeing me here in a LONG LINE, the annual Stickley Warehouse Sale is a BIG DEAL if you love furniture and want GREAT SAVINGS! There are a lot of tips to know, however, before you show up.
The 2020 event FORTUNATELY wasn’t canceled. It was our third year attending and we pretty much have it down. I have a LOT of pictures so I’ll keep my text to a minimum so you can scroll through and get to the good stuff … the tips and tricks!
1. ARRIVE EARLY
As you can see from the cones and line above, there’s a lot of excitement about this sale. That means that A LOT of people, including Dan and me, wait all year to buy our furniture here. Who else shows up? Regular homeowners plus scores of INTERIOR DECORATORS and HOME STAGERS!
Most of the people here know exactly what they’re doing and come with a strategy. The first must-do is getting on the EARLY BIRD LIST! The sale opens by invitation on a Wednesday and to the public on Friday – Sunday. Call and pre-register for the Wednesday hours.
We always show up early to get parking and a good spot in line.
This is our spot in line after arriving 30 minutes in advance of opening!
2. prepare for heat
Like clockwork, every year we’ve attended has been crazy HOT. This year was no exception.
By definition, the sale is in a warehouse WITHOUT air conditioning so dress to be sweltering.
Also, since you’ll be arriving early and waiting in line, bring sun protection. Several people had umbrellas. We also brought cool drinks to stay hydrated.
As a nice touch, the staff was handing out water bottles to everyone in line. Aww! Very much appreciated!
3. Have your list and measurements
You are going to have to make SPLIT SECOND DECISIONS. I know, that sounds super dramatic, but I’m tellin’ ya it’s true! There are people ready to swoop in and steal that couch if you’re humming and hawing about whether it will fit in your room.
I used NOTABILITY (a note-taking app) on my iPad to take photos. Then I marked up the photos of the rooms with measurements. That way I had the colors, layouts, and measurements all ready for a quick view!
You’re going to have to make really FAST DECISIONS!
Bring a tape measurer to get the dimensions. Everything is FINAL SALE!
Our first year, the inexperienced newbie that I was spent WAY too much time on my iPhone looking up the dimensions of the furniture and wondering if it would fit in our room.
4. Come as a team
This sale is IMPOSSIBLE if you go alone. I see people alone in line and wonder how the heck they’re going to stake claim to a piece and also find a salesperson. IT TAKE A VILLAGE, people!
Dan and I go alone and I wish we had others to come with us. I’ve debated paying my teenager (or just insisting … she has had an all-expense-paid life so far, after all!). Here’s the scoop.
- SCOUT – This person moves ahead looking for the right pieces. (This is my job).
- DEFENDER – This person sits on whatever piece you want so NOBODY else can get it. You may need a few defenders if you’re buying multiple pieces.
- HUNTER – This person searches down the salesperson you’re working with to add items to your list and marked the pieces you’ve purchased as SOLD.
- RESEARCHER – This is the person who is on their smartphone looking up the collections your buying from to see all of the pieces in a particular line to make sure you’re getting the best piece for your home.
- RELIEVER – This person fills in for the DEFENDER or HUNTER if a bathroom break is needed. They also help to hold all the stuff you bring because inevitably you’re going to need free hands to move around cushions, carpets, small tables, etc…
It cracks me up to see the design teams who come in and scoop up hoards of throw pillows, artificial plants, and accent items. They know how to do it right!
Notice my full hands! I really need a RELIEVER for next year.
5. know your colors & pull cusHions / small tables
Bring color samples and photos of your rooms so you know what you’re trying to match up. Also, don’t be shy about pulling a cushion from a piece you’re buying so the SCOUT can match up your next selections.
See the pillow in this photo? That’s from the couch Dan is having written up. As he gives the needed info, I took the cushion to match up the wood tones for the room.
Don’t wait for any more than necessary with the salesperson.
As soon as you have given them the essential information, move on!
They can finish writing up the piece without you hovering.
Trust me … they work on commission so they WANT YOU to keep shopping!
6. Prioritize and strategize
When you walk in, the first tent is all exterior furniture. This stuff sells FAST! If you want any of it, walk through quickly and position your DEFENDER while the HUNTER finds a salesperson. The salespeople are in red shirts. They can be hard to locate, especially before you’ve made your first purchase.
Remember, they work on commission (that’s not a bad thing) so once you show them that you’re there to spend, they’ll be MUCH easier to locate.
The salespeople in the tent stay in the tent so you have to find a new person once you walk in the actual warehouse. If you go regularly, get in touch with your salesperson ahead of time so they know you’re coming! Our gal is named Lynn and I have her cell number! lol.
While the layout might change from year to year, it’s usually in this order:
- Exterior Furniture (Tent)
- Fabric Remnants (Tent)
*Due to COVID-19 there is no fabric at the 2020 sale. Booo!
- Small accessories (vases and lamps) and faux plants
- Checkout, Delivery, and Restrooms
- Leather chairs and couches
- Upholstered Furniture
- Accent Tables
- Bedroom Furniture
- Mission Style Furniture
- Dining Room Furniture
There are also pieces along the sides that don’t necessarily stick to this order.
Oh, funny! Throw pillows are randomly scattered around the tent and warehouse. Not the ones that are sold with a piece of furniture but individual pillows for sale. You will find people (all women from my experience) hoarding them. They run around the whole place scooping them all up into a pile where their DEFENDER waits. It cracks me up!
Start with your BIG piece first and then move out to the smaller items.
Even better, use multiple SCOUTS to go to each section and transition into DEFENDERS if they find a good buy!
Also, there are often duplicates so break up FAST and see which one is in the best shape. There were two bistro sets we liked and one had a scuff so we DEFENDED the one we wanted like warriors! (Yes, dramatic but we’re talking about saving A LOT of money!)
7. be ready to ask!
No, the prices aren’t negotiable (from what I know … hmmm) so you can’t ask for a lower price BUT add-ons might be possible. One piece we bought had two stools with it and I knew from a prior purchase that it should come with three. I spoke with the head guy (I’m omitting his name yet it’s part of the company name) and he gave the okay for our salesperson to order a third at the warehouse sale price! WIN! It pays to ask …
Also, protect your purchase! The couch we purchased was right next to the checkout line so we knew that people would be tempted to sit on it until it was taken off the floor (on Thursday). I walked over to the team that was wrapping all the furniture for immediate loading into people’s cars and had them wrap up our couch so nobody would sit on it!
Not trying to say the people there are gross or anything, but we were ALL SUPER SWEATY and it’s a leather couch. Ew!
8. Check out, delivery, and load ‘er up
Once you’re done, get in line for check out. Make sure you have ALL YOUR SLIPS from your salesperson first.
The process is (A) Pay; (B) Arrange Delivery; (C) Load up your carry aways.
It can take a while so just expect that the entire start to finish will eat up most of your day. Then, if you do get out faster than expected it’s a bonus!
Dan is waiting (again) but still smiling! He loves a good sale. Not to mention that he didn’t have to wait for me to rummage through the fabric remnants this year (boo to COVID) so we actually had a pretty efficient trip, considering.
In the past, there was no delivery charge because of our purchase amount. This year, we did have to pay for delivery but we still saved a BUNDLE of CASH!
If you have a truck, you can just take everything with you. We took a few pieces home in Dan’s truck.
9. Be prepared to be surprised
While it’s vital to have a list of what you’re buying, don’t hesitate to look around a bit once you’ve picked out your must-haves.
Last year, we were shopping for a chair for our library. Got it! ✅ As Dan was working with the salesperson to write it up, I found a console table and “bar table” (our word, not Stickley’s) that we LOVE. Because of that, this year we purchased the HIGHLANDS GATHERING ISLAND.
Our surprise purchase this year … amazing quality faux plants!
that’s a wrap!
So there are my tips for you to get the most out of the STICKLEY WAREHOUSE SALE. Honestly, they hold true for any large sale event. Next year I’ll do a post on the MacKenzie-Childs Barn Sale but unfortunately, it was canceled for 2020 (once again, damn COVID!).
Here’s a peek at what we purchased, in addition to the couch and plants already shown:
is stickley still good quality?
I’ll leave you with this question as Stickley has changed over the past 20 years. Stickley has, historically, had an amazing reputation. The quality of some pieces does seem to be a little less than before yet we’re still extremely happy with our purchases. Also, there are lines other than Stickley carries in their furniture stores so it’s not ALL Stickley.
Do your due diligence before the sale. Visit their regular showrooms and see what you like. Then you won’t be disappointed! We have bought Stickley brand along with several others and are happy as you can see since we keep going back for more!
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Thanks so much for the generosity of your time and spirit! Namaste,