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Business Profile: Great Estate

During the spring and summer people tend to clean house or move. Gigi Gummerson of Great Estate explains how her company can help you get the most value from those things you no longer want.

How long have you been in business for?

I have been running sales in the South, Southwest and parts of Indiana for 21 years.

Why the Homewood-Flossmoor area?

I started in this area because I live here and I was born and raised here. This community has a rich heritage and everyone's sale is unique.

What made you want to direct estate sales?

When I was a child, my mother took me around to antique shows all over the Chicagoland area. My major in college was fine arts with a concentration in design. While in school, and afterwards, I was in retail and at one point was the manager of an entire store. When my husband and I moved to Flossmoor, I was an avid "estate sale" customer. We had a neighbor who had been very kind to our family and they were moving, so, I offered to help them sell their things. At the time I was a clerk on the Flossmoor  Village board. The neighbor was the mayor (of Flossmoor) and he suggested that I do this as a business. It all took off from there.  

What have been some of your best finds over the years?

Some of the best things that I have found and sold for clients are paintings, authentic Eames chairs, a corkscrew which sold for over $300 on Ebay and an enameled spoon that sold for around $3,000.  You never know what you might find in a house or where you will find it. Just because something is in a garage doesn't mean it has no value. You have to be acquainted with brands and have a background in finer things to know what you are looking for.  

What makes your sales stand out from others?

My staff puts around 50 hours or more into organizing a sale. Things need to be in "departments," cleaned and presented at their very best. The garage and basement also gets organized. Many items will be pulled from those spaces to be put inside the house. The process is very labor intensive, but I know I make more money for my clients because of it. My staff dresses professionally on the days of the sale. We treat it like we are working a retail store. I have many clients who are overwhelmed with organizing either theirs or their parents' homes. I tell them to pull what they want, give me the keys and I will take care of everything. It is a great stress reducer for them. To me it is just "stuff." I have no memories so it is much easier to organize and find the items that will bring them the most money.

Do you only work with local sellers?

I have customers from all over the Chicagoland and Indiana areas. I have a couple from Indiana that have been following me for about 15 years. I had a gentleman that drove one-and-a-half hours to come to my last sale. With the power of the internet, you can highlight your best items and that will absolutely bring folks out. 

What are your favorite places to eat and shop locally?

Oh my gosh, that is a tough question because I love so many places in Flossmoor and Homewood. I would say, for restaurants, is one of my favorites because I was brought up on their pizza.  has some of my favorite salads, and for fine dining, I always look to for either a quite lunch or dinner. Of course, I cannot forget for that special treat!  As far as a great place to purchase something for myself or a gift, I have had great luck with Poppie's and .  Their prices are just as reasonable as a TJ Maxx for jewelry and you get great service. For work clothes, I will pop into . My company's motto is "recycle, reuse and renew," and what is more "green" than wearing gently used clothing?

You can keep up with through their facebook page or by contacting Gigi directly.

Leona Calvin May 30, 2011 at 07:22 PM
Gigi, What a great article ! I really miss your shop ; I purchased many wonderful items from you. Leona
Gigi Gummerson May 31, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Hi Leona!! I miss seeing all of my old customers :( keep watch for my upcoming Estate Sales, or you can visit my Ebay store at GRTEST8. Hope to see you soon!!

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