After a career in advertising and Jewish nonprofit, 60-year-old Jay Tenenbaum was unemployed. He had been selling items for friends online as a sideline, from pianos to art, china and collectibles. For one client he sold an 1880s coffin, which he got on the TV show “American Pickers” in 2017.
Tenenbaum served as the director of marketing for Rhodes Furniture in the ’90s, believed the nation’s fourth-largest furniture retailer, and ran the annual ADAC Sample Sale for 17 years, using his vacation days to manage it.
“It hit me. Why not a consignment shop?” He posted a Facebook appeal, “I’m taking my reselling skills to another notch. If you would like me to sell your things, message me.”
Soon he had 23 inquiries. Some new clients lived in luxury high-rises, which don’t allow estate sales onsite or had larger items that are difficult to sell online and would have to let strangers in their home to view.
Tenenbaum spent several weeks shopping the competition before opening Estate Sale 365 in Midtown last month. He found three types of consignment competitors: high-end, low end and shops that specialized in clothing. His niche would be down the middle, “in reach prices,” but no “junk.”
At Estate Sale 365, one might find eclectic items and oddities such as electric golf carts, Vespa scooters, high-end 21-speed bikes, a 1920s phone from Denmark without numbers, and early ’70s Sacco Italian bean bag chairs in original packaging.
“We target right in the middle of what’s already in the market. No $10,000 sofas for $6,000; more like $5,000 sofas for $2,500. We aren’t accepting anything not in excellent used condition or nearly new, except antiques.”
Tenenbaum has seen sales grow every week since opening last month. “It seems like the word is spreading, and the passersby (walkers headed for the BeltLine and Piedmont Park) are checking us out. I love working in retail with people chatting and smiling. At a certain age, you can’t allow yourself to feel stuck. Work is often more than half our waking hours, so if you’re miserable there, it will affect your whole life.”
Estate Sale 365 is located at 549 Amsterdam Walk. It is open Thursday through Sunday, https://www.estatesale365.sale