Yard sales, second-hand stores and church rummage drives are in no threat from Samantha Danahy.
But the Jackson businesswoman has put herself into the mix in recent years, skimming some of the best of things that need a new home and turning it into a going business. Catch & Release is also a way for people with stuff to dispose of to avoid setting it out in the driveway on a Saturday morning and hoping for the best.
Danahy’s business model is to find the merchandise and take it online. It’s a new twist on an American hand-me-down tradition, and one suited to the internet.
“People have really nice stuff they want to get rid of. ... They say, ‘Where can I sell this stuff?’” Danahy said. “There wasn’t a great option in existence.”
Catch & Release grew out of Danahy’s professional organizing business, which she started about 20 years ago. That evolved into InPlaceJH.com, a relocation business that helps people move their households and their stuff, either across town or the country. She also has her sights set on doing estate sales.
All the businesses intersect: All deal with the things people own and use but sometimes decide they don’t use enough or don’t like enough to keep. Estate sales, moves, just changes in taste or the thought that it would be nice to shed some possessions or make some cash are all involved.
In some cases it’s “when someone wants a house cleaned out or is getting rid of stuff.” Other times it’s “people who have storage units full of really nice stuff they don’t know what to do with.” She fields referrals by real estate people, builders, movers and decorators.
The owners hang on to their stuff. Danahy puts it online on her website, CatchAndReleaseJH.com, with prices, deals with shoppers and, if a sale is made, arranges to have the item delivered, which might mean a ride across town or the continent. Though most buyers are somewhere near, she has shipped a dining table and a bed to Montreal. The offerings are almost exclusively furniture and lighting, but she has dealt with appliances, cabinets, kitchen gear and other assorted home goods. Though she has stayed away from clothing and sporting equipment, Danahy said she might take them on if the right situation arose.
She goes for the best things she can find, figuring that’s what will move and bring a profit. But knowing ahead of time what will sell and what won’t is guesswork.
“Sometimes I think something will sell really fast and it won’t sell at all,” she said. “Sometimes something I think won’t sell sells immediately. ... It all depends on who is looking for what and when.”
Some buyers, she said, vary from the usual garage sale buyers in that they don’t just wander and buy what presents itself, but use internet searches to find a particular thing, even a brand or maker.
Danahy works from home in Cottonwood, with employees Alexandra Rapados and Erin Gaffney helping in the various businesses.
Danahy grew up in New Jersey and arrived in Jackson 15 years ago after a stopover in Montana. She has a husband who is a project manager for Two Ocean Builders and a 2-year-old son. In years past she worked at the Calico, in sales at Snake River Lodge and in a private equity investment office.
Not everything Danahy handles is high-end, but the businesses work in large part, she said, because Jackson is a place “with a lot of money and a lot of beautiful things.” It’s also important that she enjoys moving stuff around and matching it with new people.
“I love logistics,” she said.