Hilton House Offers Something For Buyers and Sellers
The Orinda consignment store is celebrating its 14th year of operation
Hilton had just retired from a successful career in the corporate world and was trying to put things in order.
"I really didn't know what to do with myself," said Hilton.
She came across some Waterford crystal and thought it would be a shame just to throw it out.
So, she came up with the idea of opening a consignment store in Orinda Village.
The move turned out to be a good one.
The Hilton House shop is starting its 14th year of operation and was recently named as the Orinda Chamber of Commerce's business of the year for 2013.
Hilton began her venture in an 800-square-foot space in the back of a small shopping center on Orinda Way across from Orinda City Hall.
Hilton said customers immediately poured in and so did the people willing to sell things from her shop.
"It was amazing what happened," said Hilton.
After three months, Hilton had to move her operation a few doors down to the store's current location, a shop that's about three times the size of her original store.
Business has been good ever since. About four years ago, Hilton needed to expand again. She leased a warehouse addition a few doors away and now sells goods out of there as well.
As a consignment store, Hilton House accepts furniture, jewelry and other items and then sells it for them. On most things, the two parties split the proceeds evenly.
Most of the items are used but in good condition. Few are antiques. Most are under $500.
The range from gold club chairs for $499 each to a black chest for $395 to desk chairs for $399 each to paintings from $85 and up.
A few items tip the price scales, including a rosewood chair for $995 to a cherrywood table with chairs for $3,795.
There are thousands of items for sale at any one time. Hilton says things generally sell quickly and their merchandise is constantly changing. New consignment items come in every day.
People come from Marin County, Washington and Los Angeles to see what's for sale.
"Customers tell us this is a destination for them," said Hilton. "Every time they come in here, it's different."
Hilton is involved in a number of community recycling programs. In a way, she says, that's what Hilton House is all about.
"Our goal here really is to recycle," she said. "It's a new way to recycle."
Items that aren't sold are either given back to the owner or donated to Hospice of the East Bay.
Hilton is also involved in Rotary Club of Orinda and the Chamber of Commerce.