Sonoran Explorin’: the furniture for your [Fever] Dreams | Currents function

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The alarm clock used is flashing 9:10 p.m., but it’s really 10:42 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and we’re at Liquidation Pros, Inc.

I saw an ad for this company on Facebook that made me feel like I was in a hotel during renovations, or some other time when I’m not supposed to be there. (I would say “in a hotel after hours”, but that’s about peak time to be in a hotel.) This photo – several sets of tables and chairs of a dining area in a hotel stacked on top of each other – convinced me to pay the place a visit.

I can’t put my finger on how this furniture immediately took me back to all the self-serve waffles and glasses of juice I’ve ever eaten at a continental breakfast. Was it the pallor of the wood? The unsustainable upholstery of the chairs? But my interest was piqued. It had never occurred to me that I, an individual! The regulars of me! — could buy furniture from high-end hotels and resorts.

Owner, Crystal Murillo-Magallanes, says the business has a large customer base. It runs the gamut between small businesses, Airbnbs, and VRBOs that need to source furniture, and college students or snowbirds that need cheap, durable furniture for themselves.

Murillo-Magallanes entered the business at the end of 2017. She met someone who had been running a similar business for decades and thought it sounded interesting, but what gave her the final impetus to do so was that someone told her she couldn’t.

“It lit a fire under my butt,” she said.

It turned out to be lucrative. Murillo-Magallanes walks me through the elements of a typical hotel room: bed set, nightstand, chest of drawers, mini-fridge, TV, desk, desk chair, lamps, mirrors, artwork, armchair , coffee tables. Desks and office chairs, she said, were always last in inventory. Until the pandemic, that is.

“When 2020 came around, we stayed open out of necessity, because everyone was working from home, and I was trying everywhere to find more tables and chairs,” she says.

Desks for children and adults were being ripped off as quickly as they arrived, and table lamps were flying off the shelves. The same was true for the 32-inch TVs which, while small for TV viewing, were nice, spacious monitors for people building work-from-home setups on a budget. One person’s bust, as they say, is another person’s boom.

Imagine all the furniture and furnishings in a hotel room, then multiply each item by 10, by 20, by 100. We all know that when we stay in a standard hotel room, our room is not one of a kind, but seeing the objects grouped in this way – as with as, rather than in clusters per piece – is wonderfully strange. Sometimes hotel furniture is definitely hotel furniture. There’s that polyester fabric on the sofas, or those continental breakfast chairs and tables that first caught my eye. There’s this painting of four colorful quails walking in a row that I see from dozens of different rooms in the warehouse. It’s hard to imagine it anywhere but here, or on the wall of a hotel or a dentist’s office.

But some of them, I realize looking at them in this strange, contextless place, might work well in a home. There are a few art deco chairs that I think would bring a touch of class to a den, and a birdhouse-shaped lamp that I can imagine in my grandmother’s guest room. A large framed black and white nature print that, if it’s not an Ansel Adams, might as well be, is only $5.

It has some of the fun you might feel walking through a flea market or garage sale, like when I find a decorative brass avocado or a huge bin of fancy hangers. But it also has the unparalleled thrill of practicality, much like walking into an IKEA. A granite entertainment center/cabinet for less than $200? A sturdy lamp, bulb included, for only $15? Almost irresistible.

Liquidation Pros gets new inventory at least twice a month, sometimes more often. Murillo-Magallanes and his team often don’t know exactly what’s in a load until the last minute. Sometimes it is a standard set of hotel bedroom furniture. It once included an almost life-size portrait of an Arizona socialite. Other times it’s a new piece of furniture for the home where Murillo-Magallanes lives with her husband and three children, when they’re not manning the fort at the store.

“Sometimes it’s like, ‘Dang, I didn’t know we were going to have these coffee tables. Can we swap them out with the ones we just moved?’” she said. “It’s like Christmas when we let’s get another truck.”

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