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Carole A. Sutryn has been conducting estate sales in the Williamsport area for over fifteen years. Her business comes from the referrals of satisfied customers. The following is a condensed version from the original article by Stephanie Farr that appeared in the Williamsport Sun Gazette on November 7th, 2004.
“The only reason I am in business is because this is where God led me,” Carole Sutryn of Montoursville, an estate sales specialist, said.
Carole moved to the area with her husband, Steven, in 1998 from Hatfield, a town 30 miles outside of Philadelphia.
Initially, she helped her husband with his business [SCS Custom Woodworking] and continues to do so; but when an elderly woman from their church broke her shoulder blade, Carole offered to perform house-cleaning services for the woman.
“We go where God leads us,” Carole said. She felt that God was calling her to use her strength to help others who could not do exhausting chores for themselves.
After picking up a few cleaning jobs, Carole was asked to help prepare a yard sale for an 80-year-old woman who had recently fallen in love with, and married, a widower. “I thought, ‘This is fun to do for a weekend,’” Carole said. “But I never expected to own my own business.”
Her services quickly spread through word of mouth, and she found herself helping many people who were moving or attempting to down-size their homes.
She said that most people are a little skeptical of her rummaging through their houses at first, as they should be; but they soon grow accustomed to her services and welcome her presence in their home.
For the people that Carole helps, especially the elderly, her listening services are just as valuable as her estate services. While going through a cluttered attic or dusty basement, Carole may uncover an item which brings back a flood of memories to the owner, and she is always there to listen.
“It’s so much fun because you never know what you’re going to find.” she said. “Plus, things tend to sell a lot better with a history behind them.”
The response she has received has been overwhelming, and it has escalated to a point where she has had to place a limit on the number of sales she can accept.
“The minute we get a call, my husband and I start to pray,” she said. “The ones that I don’t end up doing usually didn’t need me.”
When Carole believes she has been directed to the right client, she establishes a contract stating what will be sold and tells them not to throw anything away.
What some people think is trash isn’t” she said. “Often people will throw things out that are repairable.”
Steven Sutryn, her husband, will help repair and appraise furniture and tools, while Carole invites antique dealers and friends to help her decide the best asking prices on other pieces.
The sales are advertised in newspapers in the areas surrounding the sale location, flyer will be distributed, and mailings made to over 1100 regulars, who attend her estate sales.
At a Faxon Parkway sale, an old area rug was left behind in the upstairs bedroom. While pulling up the old padding, Carole spotted 5 envelopes under one of the corners. Upon opening them, she found a total of more than $400 in cash. The widow said that her husband used to save money in odd places and told her to keep the cash, but Carole sent the money to her in California.
Carole is a woman guided by her faith and led to people by her heart. Although she works with objects and money, they are not what bring her happiness. Instead, it is the unexpected, unexplained moments shared with clients that are the most fulfilling aspects of her business. The secret stories behind an old photograph or dusty wedding veil are the true treasures of her profession.