Geneseo businesswoman Julie Meyers opened Florence’s Perpetual Estate Sale on Main Street in December 2016. Having previously worked at Xerox and Not Dot Shop, Meyers—who earned her Masters in business administration at Dartmouth College—has diverse business experience.
“The idea [behind Florence’s Perpetual Estate Sale] is that the store is always changing and always open,” Meyers said. “Usually, when you see an estate sale or a garage sale, it only lasts for a weekend.”
Before opening her antique shop, Meyers served as a marketing executive at Xerox, where she oversaw strategy and development for 22 years. After getting into a car crash, however, Meyers took a leave of absence for several months. When she returned to Xerox, she had a new perspective on big business—thus, she decided to leave the company.
“I have a certification in antiques that I got from St. John Fisher College, where they offered night classes and all sorts of certification programs,” Meyers said. “I had actually gone with my mother in the 90s to get the certification.”
To begin her antiquing career, Meyers initially worked as a co-op member at the Not Dot Shop, Main Street’s other vintage and antique retailor. Following two years at the Not Dot Shop, Meyers—whose inventory had vastly expanded—executed plans to open her own store.
“Just from organizing and some of the other things that I was doing, I kept getting more inventory and needed more space,” Meyers said. “I constantly salvage and try to bring back items that I think someone could use and would love.”
In finding and collecting inventory for Florence’s, Meyers actually hosts estate sales, which—if they have enough to display—usually occur on the homeowner’s property. Once the on-site estate sale ends, Meyers returns to the store with anything that—for whatever reason—no one in the family wanted.
“I’ll usually go to people’s homes when someone passes away, which is why most people have estate sales,” Meyers said. “I sometimes, however, also help older couples or individuals who are downsizing or organizing—just so that their kids don’t have to do it.”
Using her past business and marketing experience, Meyers skillfully authors the necessary business plans and contracts while orchestrating estate sales. When organizing her sales, Meyers tries to begin by determining the seller’s objectives and goals.
Although she does much of the work, Meyers receives assistance from family and friends, who sometimes run the register or watch the store when she goes to a sale.
“If I’m running an estate sale, then I spend Monday through Wednesday—and sometimes the weekend—organizing, sorting, pricing, cleaning and advertising,” Meyers said. “After a sale, I go through the items and decide what should be moved to the store, disposed of or donated—then I bring back the leftovers.”
Since opening the store this past winter, Meyers’ favorite memories include helping students pick out and purchase gifts. Thinking about her favorite inventory, Meyers described the base and pedal from an early 20th century dentist office drill.
“The gentleman at the tattoo parlor farther down the street purchased the pedal and is making it into a lamp,” Meyers said. “That’s what I love to see—something old and without much use being turned into something new and really cool.”
Within the estate sale and antique fields, inventory and business ebbs and flows as the seasons change, according to Meyers. As spring approaches, she anticipates visits from out-of-town guests coming to Geneseo for commencement and move-out day.
With a colorful business background and a passion for antiquing, Meyers continues to provide accessible items for people of all ages, including Geneseo students.