New estate sales store opens in Ranchos Plaza

By Kathy DeLucas
For The Taos News
Posted 2/20/19

The idea came to the three business partners who conducted three estate sales this past summer, beginning with the Rock House, or McCarthy house, across from the Taos Inn.

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New estate sales store opens in Ranchos Plaza


Simple, stripped-down living may seem like a rising fad, thanks to the Marie Kondo books and Netflix series. One set of new Taos shop owners may be able to help.

"The shop is called Taos Estate Sales, because that is what we do," business partner Ron Usherwood says. "We serve a lot of different clients, from families and lawyers, to banks and local business owners."

Located near the San Francisco of Asis Mission Church on the Ranchos Plaza, the store has an eclectic, unique vibe.

The idea came to the three business partners who conducted three estate sales this past summer, beginning with the Rock House, or McCarthy house, across from the Taos Inn.

"We were looking for a new gig, so we got into the estate sale business," Usherwood explains. "That morphed into another sale and another one."

Usherwood, together with his wife Dancer Dearing and business partner Cynthia Spray, who owns the downtown store Kimosabe, decided that local estate sales could support a larger clientele. The brick-and-mortar shop became a reality.

"What I like about it is that we can have everything from a $5 item to $5,000," Dearing says. The store recently sold a painting by Ann Wyeth McCoy, younger sister of Andrew Wyeth, for more than $4,200.

The team now spotlights what wasn't sold at the estate sales, and Spray can display merchandise that people bring to her store Kimosabe, but that doesn't quite fit in with that store's genre.

Nearly half of the items are higher-end pieces that didn't sell at the estate sale.

"People show up and they want a bargain, a bargain, a bargain. And we're all for bargains, we want people to get a good deal," Usherwood said. "But sometimes there is a $15,000 painting that you're not willing to let go for $500, so we needed a place for that."

They also maintain an online presence with an eBay and Etsy store.

The business can be a big help to families in certain situations. Spray says that when the group agrees to conduct an estate sale, they do everything, cleaning, organizing, marketing and sales. If items need to go to charities, like Habitat for Humanity, they will arrange that as well.

"They really don't have to do anything, if they don't want to," Spray says. "We're very full-service, I even adopted a dog from the last estate sale. The dog didn't have anywhere to go and so it really worked out. I like finding the right person for the right thing - that to me is exciting."

There are a variety of reasons that people may need an estate sale, Usherwood says, not necessarily an end-of-life reason. Often the situation is empty nesters downsizing, or the need to sell after a foreclosure or to consolidate after a marriage.

"We come in and help from under the sink, the old weed-eater items up to the high-end art at the other end of it," Usherwood said. "We treat people as if we were family - we're very sensitive to the sentimental stuff."

For example, when Total Arts Gallery shuttered its doors, Usherwood came up with a plan to sell the merchandise from his friend of 30 years, Harold Geller.

"We didn't want his stuff to go to just anybody and be put in the back of a truck and disappear somewhere," Usherwood says. "It's part of him. It's part of Taos. It's part of the collective family of Taos."

A greater vision for the store is to reinvigorate the Ranchos Plaza.

"I'm hoping that just us being here will pick up the buzz on the plaza. These buildings are wonderful and there are some great shops here, but it's been under the radar for a long time," Spray says.

The group is developing ideas from having matanzas and barbecues to showing decorative flower baskets and flower beds that make it more inviting for customers to visit. The store is located at 66 St. Francis Plaza in Ranchos. It is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 to 5, Sundays 10 to 3. Usherwood says they will be open more hours during the high-traffic summer season.


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