The story of how Fine Estates became what it is today is essentially a story of a hobby becoming a passion becoming a vocation. Founder and CEO Jim Friend had a vision for an antique business with a gallery that he could have as his own, as he particularly had a vivid interest in 17th-20th century antiques. In the mid 90′s, this vision came to fruition in the form of a store called Designer and Estate Gallery where pieces from private estates were purchased and then sold in this gallery.
As he pursued this young business, he began to learn the type of market that he was up against. With his family, he looked into the auction scene, antique exhibitions, and dealer interaction which covered basically all types of the retail and wholesale genre. Adapting to local market conditions and an ever-changing antique business, the need for a different location with more exposure came in the late 90′s; Estate Gallery on Scottsdale Road and Thomas then opened. This experience in retail called for an evolution in how to go about the future estate service. The family sold the gallery and he decided to seek out the auction side of the business full-time, taking over a small, well-known local estate auction in Scottsdale. The quick success of the auction grabbed the attention of a larger,
well-known Canadian house desiring to merge the two into an all-encompassing service.
With even greater success came an unexpected sale of the auction business, opening the door for what seemingly was always meant to be..an Antique and Personal Property service. He obtained his valuable GPPA appraiser’s license, NAA auctioneer’s license, and the CES estate specialist certification to further his knowledge of how to correctly handle estates. Through all the transition, the growing need for an all-encompassing personal property estate sale business was becoming more evident. This, of course, is where the idea for the Fine Estates of today was born. The desire to help people correctly and efficiently evaluate and sell their personal property was made possible through this company, opening the doors just prior to 9/11. Areas of probate, divorce, down-sizing, collections, designers, and special estate needs are the main focus of Fine Estates’ services.
Later, as the business grew, clientel including real estate agents, bankers, lawyers, home owners, assisted living companies, organization experts, and individuals all have become the recipients of service. Looking forward, Jim Friend continues to look for ways to grow his company, extend his resources, and ultimately to help people deal with their personal property in the best way possible. The service has been, and will continue to be built on a personal, referral-based network of relationships developed over a period of time.