Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, Blue Moon Estate Sales is a growing national franchise with franchisees operating in 24 states. Established in 2009, Blue Moon Estate Sales was created to set the highest standards in the senior care industry. After five successful years in the Raleigh market, founders Deb, Ken and David Blue wanted to bring their proven business model to a larger audience.
Thus, in 2013, Blue Moon Estate Sales started franchising, developing an industry-leading training and ongoing support program. Fast forward to today and Blue Moon Estate Sales is now part of the Best Life Brands family, with private equity backing by The Riverside Company.
Under the leadership of Bob Lang, the Brand President, Blue Moon Estate Sales is standardizing the estate sales business with a proven system of expert training and partner support. Its proven franchise system consistently delivers results that excite its customers.
In an interview with Insights Care, Bob shared valuable facts about Blue Moon Estate Sales, highlighting its unparalleled service to the clients in the senior care niche.
Bob, Tell us about your journey so far at Blue Moon Estate Sales.
I’ve been in franchising for 25 years in the senior care and retail/wholesale spaces. When I learned about this opportunity with Blue Moon, it checked the boxes for me. First, to be able to lead a growing brand like Blue Moon within the Best Life Brands family was very exciting for me. Second, Blue Moon is focused on helping seniors in transition.
Working with seniors in transition and providing services within the home environment was something I was very familiar with from having spent years within the care space. Third, the retail component of what we do resonated with me because of my experience in both retail and wholesale. And finally, I really enjoy the franchising industry and having the opportunity to work with small business owners.
There are many things I like about my job. I love helping our franchisees to achieve their goals. I like Blue Moon’s reputation and how we are positioned in the estate sale industry. I’ll tell you a quick story. We were at a sale in Illinois. A lady came up and said, “Oh, this isn’t like other estate sales. This is so nice! It’s easy to get around and shop, and I really like this.” That was wonderful to hear!
Another person came up to me and told me his daughter lives in North Carolina. Whenever he is there, he goes to Blue Moon Estate Sales. He shared how excited he was when he saw a Blue Moon Estate Sales in Illinois, and he asked if there would be more in the area since they liked shopping Blue Moon Sales in North Carolina! I love that. The consistency of the brand, seeing it come to life and having that consistent experience—and it’s our owners that make it happen! Every time one of our locations gets a great customer review, that’s music to my ears.
What challenges do you face while working in the senior care industry?
While there are many challenging aspects of my position, there are a few areas that get a lot of my attention. The first is having to balance the interests of different groups of people.
Our CEO J.J. Sorrenti likens this to a five-legged stool- customers, franchisees, employees, stakeholders, and vendors.
The second area of focus is helping to lead our system through rapid change. As franchise systems grow over time, they go through different phases of growth. Managing the transition as we move to the next phase in our growth creates a big set of opportunities. It is good to have these presented because if you’re not growing and experiencing new challenges, you will get passed by.
The third challenge I focus on is how to protect and grow our brand responsibly while remaining true to the company’s vision. How we use our signage, market our brand, and serve our customers—all of these things are very important as we grow.
We have wonderful and dedicated owners who are committed to our clients and customers and to positively representing the brand. The ultimate test is when someone goes to a Blue Moon event, whether it is in North Carolina, Illinois, or Florida—they should all have the same shopping experience. Having our loyal customers experience that same high level of quality at each of our events and telling their friends and family about Blue Moon is part of our secret sauce.
What are the values and qualities that make Blue Moon a successful franchisee?
We work closely with our successful owners, and it comes down to a couple of things. It starts with networking and involvement in the local community. We found that our owners spend a large percentage of their time networking actively and developing relationships in the community.
They’re out there working it. They have a sustained marketing effort that’s going on. Because once you build up that sales funnel and you start building up that network, it allows you to be more selective and to grow quickly. You don’t have a scarcity mindset where you’ll take anything and pray. You’re actively out there, developing relationships. And there’s an education component to what we do. Not everybody understands what an estate sale is, so when you’re talking to a referral source, you’ve got to educate them on what we do and how we do it.
Next is building the franchisee’s teams. Many of the owners are looking to add team leads or people that can help with event management, which isn’t easy. You need to have the right people and the right culture in your organization. These owners are focused on those kinds of activities.
Our owners are passionate about learning, which is important in business. It is rewarding to watch the progression of somebody who came through our training and to see what they’ve learned and applied as they have worked a wide variety of sales. There is always something to learn in this business, and good owners are always looking for ways to try and improve.
How do you envision scaling Blue Moon Estate Sales’ operations eventually?
One of the common misperceptions is that estate sales only happen when there has been a death or divorce. In reality, downsizing is a big part of what we do. Educating the public and our referral sources about estate sales, who we are, and how we add value is important.
We have invested heavily in training and will continue to do so, to support the growth of our system. Our owners go through three weeks of training, and we have developed an extensive LMS that allows them to train their staff. We are members of the American Society of Estate Liquidators (ASEL) and adhere to their policies and ethics guidelines.
Third, our high-quality events with fresh merchandise and hidden treasures bring in large crowds of loyal customers. There is definitely a Blue Moon Estate Sales culture! This, combined with having a very nicely staged, the professional-looking sale makes for an enjoyable shopping experience.
We will continue to promote this through our marketing efforts, which bring thousands of eyeballs to our sales through our website and to our events. Finally, we have a loyalty program for our customers, which is one of the things that makes us unique in the industry.
We have a newsletter that we send to our customers, listing upcoming events and providing estate sale content. Our customers choose to come to our events when they could be doing anything else and shop. Having these loyal customers come back time and time again to our events to shop at Blue Moon is a privilege, and we want to thank and reward them.