UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — Estate sale junkies missing the pre-pandemic days have a new opportunity to treasure hunt.
Chicago Estate Advisors, a family-owned company known for estate sales, auctions, buy-outs, clean-outs and consignments, recently opened at 2021 W. Division St. on the Ukrainian Village-Wicker Park border. The company replaced Nature Yoga Studio, which closed due to the coronavirus pandemic after 16 years in business.
Because estate sales are typically conducted out of the estate owner’s home, the pandemic severely affected her business, Chicago Estate Advisors owner Deborah Fossett said.
Having a brick-and-mortar store helps bring items directly to customers outside clients’ personal homes, she said.
“Every piece in here has a story,” she said. “We hope to see the community in here. … I hope the neighborhood likes us as much as we like them.”
Those in need of Fossett’s services suffered during the pandemic, too, she said. The stay at home order last year did not allow for events such as auctions and estate sales. So, after a loved one died, some families were left with no choice but to throw the person’s items away.
“It was just heart-wrenching to see someone’s possessions [like that]. … They had stories to tell about them,” she said. “It was hard to listen to those stories.”
The store is “COVID-safe,” Fossett added, with hand sanitizer near the front door. Dogs are allowed inside, too.
Items typically rotate weekly. About seven families’ estates were on display last week.
One was that of a former CBS journalist, whose antique cameras and typewriters lined the shelves.
Another estate belonged to an immigration attorney and her husband, an artist, whose artwork is on display.
Fossett, who lives in Streeterville, said the job of an estate sale manager is always interesting. Much of her work involves historical research — “forensic accounting” is another service her company provides.
The job can be very emotional at times, Fossett said.
One of her clients was a woman who needed help moving items from the home of her late mother, who had died five years earlier.
After the clean-out, the woman called Fossett and thanked her. Finally taking steps to remove them from the home had lifted her out of a five-year depression, she said.
Knowing she can ease a family’s burden during a difficult time is what motivates her to continue her work, Fossett said.
“Out job is never, ever the same,” she said. “The families are never the same. … It definitely beats sitting behind a desk.”
Chicago Estate Advisors’ is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays and 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays.
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