People often ask me how long I have been in the estate sale business. I tell them, “All of my life!” You see, I grew up in a big old Victorian farmhouse with an intriguing attic filled with my grandmother’s “stuff.” I played for hours in that attic and knew every nick and cranny. Whenever I would go missing, my grandmother would say, “Check the attic.”
As a teenager, you could find me driving around Macon in my 1962 Ford Falcon, bronze with a red top, red leather bucket seats, console in the middle. I looked for houses that were being torn down and asked if I could have lighting fixtures, old doors, architectural fragments, etc. That’s how I decorated my room and much of my parents’ home!
After college I married Allen Thomas, just out of the Peace Corps with absolutely no “worldly possessions.” He was worried that we wouldn’t be able to furnish our quaint little duplex off Nottingham Dr. in Macon. I told him that we wouldn’t need to buy a thing. And we didn’t–except for a $20.00 dining room table that I fell in love with and bought at a local salvage yard (My computer is on top of it now, and it’s still wonderful). Grandmother’s attic and barn were my favorite sources, and she would give me anything I wanted!
Starting a family led me into the old house restoration “business.” By this time we were living in Atlanta where Allen was a sales manager for Proctor and Gamble and I was a school teacher. We decided to sell out and move to Dublin, Georgia, a perfect place to raise a family. Allen found a job as Director of Public Relations at the Farmers and Merchants Bank, and I became a “stay-at-home-mom” for the next few years. I cried when I first saw the large run-down Victorian home that we soon bought. I’ve always been a girl who needed a project! We attended country auctions and haunted antique shops and any places where we could find a bargain. I had the first “yard sale” in Dublin, Georgia. The gingerbread trim on the wraparound porch of that old house made quite a display with old clothes, linens, etc. hanging from every rung!
We then bought the oldest house in Laurens County, a plantation plain style, that had survived Sherman’s March to the Sea. We restored that home and loved it for twenty-eight years. Our boys grew up there and really never remembered any other home. Allen went into politics and was elected Clerk of Courts for Laurens County. He wrote two historical research books, which won him the “National Award for Individual Accomplishment” from the National Geneological Society and grants from the R.J. Taylor Foundation. I went back to the classroom but had a little antique business on the side.
I began doing doing estate sales in the mid 1990’s because I knew the market for antique and vintage items and felt that I could relieve a huge burden from families who were left with the daunting task of clearing an estate. A long-time customer told me recently, “My house is full, packed to the gill, but I’m not worried about it. I have told my children that all they have to do when I am gone is to get what they want out of the house and call Lana. She’ll take it from there.” Others have written this into their wills!
Allen and I are now retired from out public jobs, and we are working as a team on the estate sales. I’m the boss, and Allen is the “silent partner.” We spend about a month on each sale. We do extensive research on current market prices, tag each and every item in the house, stage the house for the sale, advertise in newspapers and the internet, notify our extensive email list of customers, and have weekend sales. Do come to one of our sales or call use if you would like for us to do a sale for you. We’ve done many, many sales over the years and have many references. We look forward to meeting you!