Owner, Appraisals and Sales by Julie McClure
“I've run a professional appraisal and household liquidation service in Bradenton and Sarasota since 1971, and this was the best winter I’ve seen in a long time. My business is dependent on real estate, and it started picking up last July. I’ve hired three new people since summer. It’s mostly all downsizing, and they nearly all wait to sell their furniture until they have a contract, so I’ve seen a lot of quick closings.
“Attendance has been very good; I’ve been averaging 200 people in line [to get into my sales] at 9 a.m. People are buying every quality, from the very best to so-so quality. They’re buying furnishings for rentals, or helping their children furnish their own places. I had a big sale on Bird Key, and I sold a lot of antiques and very expensive items as well as odds and ends. I’m speaking at a national convention in St. Louis run by estatesales.net. My subject is how to have three sales a week and not lose your mind.”
Owner, Creative Framing
“I am one of the few people who can’t complain about the economy. I’ve been in the custom framing business for 31 years in Venice, and my son opened a second location in Sarasota in January. I’ve been graced by good customers; once they get their foot in the door, they keep coming back because I treat them the way I want to be treated.
“I’m an avid shell crafter. About 20 years ago I started selling my own things in here, and they started flying out the door. Now we have about 25 Florida artists selling homemade crafts. Two years ago, the place next door to me became empty, so I grabbed it and started a craft classroom. I charge the teachers a monthly rent, they get their own students and set their own schedules, and teach watercolor, ceramics, mosaic. We call it Creative Classes.”
President, Affinity Kitchens
“We do kitchens, outdoor kitchens, baths and closets. Business is good. We have expanded our selections and purchased a lot of machinery to create custom countertops. We’re doing a lot of remodeling work in Lakewood Ranch, even though the homes there are not particularly old, also in Palmer Ranch, Stoneybrook, on Longboat and Siesta, Ellenton, Parrish, North Port.
“Homeowners are looking for efficiency and functionality as they age. Even younger clients are choosing organizers and pullout drawers instead of cabinets they’d need to reach into. Ergonomics is a big consideration; we have a lot of clients with bad backs, and they want cabinet heights where they won’t have to reach up.”