All in the Family
“Let’s price this at twenty.”Twenty it is because Sue Molitoris knows her stuff. Lots of stuff. Beaucoup stuff. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff.
Sue owns All in the Family, an estate sale firm that oversees 95 estate sales a year in the Salt Lake area. An estate sale is more than a garage sale. It is the department store of one’s life. On a recent weekend, Sue oversaw a sale including canoe paddles, afghan quilts, Native American bead-work, a piano, and Dutch wooden shoes.
There is a demand for her services. Sue books six weeks in advance. A death in the family, downsizing, or a move are reasons people seek to liquidate possessions. Her team goes to a house on Tuesday to organize and evaluate. By Sunday they are gone with 75 percent of the items sold. The remainder is donated or carted off. “Everyone has so much stuff,” she says. “The family takes what they want and does not have to deal with the rest.”
The most unusual item? A human brain. Sue oversaw an estate sale for a doctor and found an encased brain in his garage. Priced at 45 dollars, it quickly sold. Soon afterward, medical students appeared asking if she had other body parts.
Sue watches trends and prices things accordingly. Antiques are out while 50s era furniture is hot. The most popular items? “Tools, kitchenware and books. People always want them.”
Each weekend’s quirks have fascinated Sue since she started All in the Family in 1997. “We first called it ‘Recycled Treasures’ and people thought we were buying tires or aluminum siding.” Then the name of a popular television show caught her attention and business boomed. “We got listed under ‘A’ in the phone book,” Sue says. There are now 3,000 people on her mailing list with several hundred regulars.
In and out is her motto. “If it doesn’t sell in three days, it won’t sell in a store. We give a person’s things a new life. They are being re-purposed. The person who buys them really wants them.”
Sue likes working with people. As folks queue up for checkout, smiles stretch across their faces. “I see you’ve got treasures,” she jokes. Indeed they do. No need for her to mention that “All Sales Are Final.”