Interview Of Stephen Etre, Owner of Stephen’s, A Consignment Gallery
By Rey Post
Associate Broker, Sotheby’s International Realty & Host of “All Things Real Estate” Radio Show
Q. How is your business starting out in 2016?
A. After more than 30 years of operating the gallery, I have witnessed many different business cycles in Santa Fe. The start of this New Year is evidencing a continuation of the steady economic recovery that we witnessed last year.
Q. A significant amount of your clientele comes from the real estate community—home owners, buyers and sellers, as well as real estate brokers, interior designers, and lawyers administering estate transactions. Given this reality, do you have an impression about the status of the Santa Fe real estate market as we start 2016?
A. Yes, my impression is that as you and your broker colleagues have seen a steady increase in buyer and seller activity over the past year. Correspondingly, the gallery has experienced increased activity. Sellers use us as a source for home staging activities, while buyers of new homes rely on our array of items to furnish their properties.
Q. And estate sales are a major source of activity for the gallery with each passing year, correct?
A. The gallery has a long-time relationship with estate lawyers, banks, and executors who turn to us to help facilitate the sale of some of Santa Fe’s finest collections of antiques, art, and one-of-a-kind items including heirloom jewelry. Though estate sales are driven by a special set of circumstances, we have found that they are occurring quite regularly, as people find them to be an effective method for marketing unique collections in certain homes. We have two estate sales already booked for this January, with many more to follow throughout the year.
Q. And to support your customer activities at the gallery in 2016, what enhancements have you added to the gallery?
A. As you know Rey, in 2013 we actually made some structural changes to the gallery’s outside façade to enhance our curb appeal to customers. We also added an “immediate placement” policy to the display of new arrivals at the gallery, so that the floor of our facility is constantly offering brand new items to meet consumer demand. These two elements have really helped to make the shopping experience at the gallery a lot more rewarding for our clients.
Q. I understand that you also have beefed up your staff and also changed the internal visuals of the gallery, correct?
A. Yes, we enhanced our already well-regarded gallery staff with new professionals who bring a level of knowledge and expertise that our clients seem to really appreciate. We have also transformed a major part of the gallery into actual “show rooms,” replicating what rooms in a house would look like with furniture, art, and accessories. This makes it easier for our clients to see how items could work in their own homes.
Q. A couple of years ago, you also launched a new web presence for the gallery that is quite attractive and very user-friendly!
A. Thanks for the plug about this element of our ongoing marketing efforts. We are very proud of our website which is not only visually appealing, but is constantly changing to provide our customers with the latest news about gallery offerings. For anyone who hasn’t visited our site in a while, I invite them to take a look at: www.stephensconsignments.com.
Q. So all in all, you are entering the New Year with your normal high level of optimism!
A. I couldn’t say it any better than that, Rey, and I look forward to helping every home buyer, seller, and owner throughout 2016.
Q. You also have a special relationship with the United World College (UWC) that is based in the Las Vegas, NM region of the state. Why is this important to you?
A. UWC is one of 15 campuses located on five continents and as a two-year residential school, it serves students age 16-19 who typically represent more than 70 different countries. They participate in a unique program that combines academic challenge with an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. I have been a supporter of the institution and actually have many of the students stay occasionally at our home while they are studying.
Q. On today’s show we are featuring one of the students who has stayed at your home.
A. Yes, Jose-Pablo, a former student and currently the Alumni and Special events Director at UWC will be offering an update on activities at the institution as students begin the New Year.
Q. To close out the show, I want to remind everyone that it is not too early to put Stephen’s annual “Spring Sale” on your calendar. This event has been staged for over 30 years at the gallery on the Mother’s Day weekend in May.
A. Thanks, Rey, for alerting people to this event, as well as for having me on today’s show. I look forward to seeing you next month during the February 14 “All Things Real Estate” radio show!
For more than 30 years, Stephen’s, a Consignment Gallery has been attracting consumers from all over the country, to see the best in antiques, estate items, jewelry, furniture, art, and countless home accessories under the gallery’s 13,000 square feet of space.
Stephen’s, A Consignment Gallery
2701 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe