The magic of garage sales still works. Is this a business niche?


Nikki H. wasn’t expecting much when she bought 3 lamps at a yard sale in Park Slope, Brooklyn. “I saw 3 unique looking lamps and instantly fell in love with them. The seller asked $25 for each but because they were not working I negotiated all 3 for $50. I knew it was a steal but didn’t expect them to be worth this much!”

Nikki, a waitress and single mother of two has a hobby of shopping at garage sales at least once a month. “I find deals all the time, on my income you need to hustle a bit to get by. I can go to a store to buy bikes for my kids and easily spend $200 or I can go to a garage sale, get a second hand one for $25, it’s a no brainer!”

She brought the lamps to Brooklyn Lamp Repair, a little known repair shop in southern Brooklyn with a reputation for being able to repair unique and vintage fixtures. Eddie, the technician at Brooklyn Lamp Repair, was amazed by her find. Nikki recounts “He seemed genuinely happy for me as he explained these are ‘vintage Venetian Murano Italian glass lamps’. He charged me a fair price for rewiring and cleaning them and took me to his computer where he went to Ebay and showed me listings for similar lamps going for $1,500 – $2000 each!” Not bad for a Sunday afternoon.

According to Eddie this happens pretty often. Customers come in with a lamp or chandelier purchased at a flea market, garage sale or Craigslist that’s in need of repair and discover the value is well over 10x what they paid.

Nikki says she plans on listing two of them on Ebay to pay off some bills and has a perfect spot in her living room for the third.


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