Most weekends, Dr. Daniel Ibach makes rounds at the Blount Memorial Cancer Center. Two weekends every year, however, he is shepherding 20,000 shoppers, all looking for a bargain.
Ibach and his wife, Courtney, are co-owners of Duck-Duck-Goose, a children’s consignment event, with their friends, Tom and Christy Tison. In addition to the 20,000 shoppers at each event, the show attracts approximately 2,000 consignors.
The inception of DDG began when the Tisons were living in Nashville. Christy invited Courtney to “Encores and More,” a large children’s consignment sale. After shopping, the two women began talking about creating their own consignment sale.
“They wanted to make it look nicer, not like a rummage sale, more like a department store,” Dr. Ibach said. “They talked about it a lot. Tom and I were, like, ‘You’ve got to quit just talking about it. You’ve got to do it.’”
In August of 2004, they pitched tents in the Tison’s backyard and set up homemade racks for 36 consignors. After that sale, they had interest from more consignors, so they moved the sale to a store front on Gay Street in Knoxville. Since then, they’ve rented commercial properties throughout Knoxville that were increasingly larger. Duck-Duck-Goose now sets up shop in the former K-Mart next to West Town Mall for their spring and fall events.
Dr. Ibach said Duck-Duck-Goose has always been more of a community service than a business. The sale offers opportunities for groups to raise money for charities. One unique way groups raise money is the “Duck Out of Line” system. For a $10 donation, a shopper can ask a volunteer to save a place in line for him or her while they continue to shop. Dr. Ibach said groups have raised as much as $10,000 for their charities by standing in line.
Fundraising groups can also download flyers from the dkdkgoose.com website for “Fundraiser Friday.” Members of the charity organization distribute flyers to shoppers they know and 10 percent of what that person purchases on the Friday of the sale is donated to the charity.
Many consignors pick up items that do not sell, but for those who don’t want what is left at the end of the sale, Ibach has a charity component for that, too, with donations to local and international charities in need of children’s and baby items..
“We recently received pictures of a group who came back from a mission trip in Guatemala,” said Dr. Ibach. “Every child in the orphanage got a pair of shoes from us -- from the Duck-Duck-Goose consigners.”
Dr. Ibach said the recent addition of offering a venue for local, home-based businesses has provided another way for DDG to help others. “That has been a blessing to those who are starting a home business. They can get their name out there to about 20,000 people in one weekend.”
This year’s spring sale opens on Wednesday, April 14, and ends on Monday, April 18, with the event closed on Sunday. Dr. Ibach said closing on Sunday is important to them because they want their sale to maintain Christian values.
The founders have helped other couples create their own Duck-Duck-Goose sale in seven other cities through a licensing agreement. He said Christian character values are something the team looks for when helping others start a Duck-Duck-Goose event.
DDG won’t be offering a sale in Blount County because of its close proximity to Knoxville, said Dr. Ibach. “We have tons of people from Blount County who consign,” he said.
The oncologist works for the Thompson Cancer Survival Center in Knoxville and has privileges at Blount Memorial Hospital where he does weekend shifts. Dr. Ibach is a frequent speaker at the Hope for Today survivor support group meetings at Piney Grove Baptist Church in Maryville. “Blount County has some of the best cancer support groups,” he said.
The physician said his dad inspired him to become an oncologist. “When my father was 53, he developed cancer and passed away very quickly.” Ibach was 20 years old at the time and said, “There’s really no diagnosis like a cancer diagnosis.”
He said becoming an oncologist was a way to honor his father. “Unfortunately it seems like the better the person, like my father, the worse form the cancer is. Now, that’s not true and there are no statistics to support that, but it certainly feels that way.”
Dr. Ibach said he knew from a young age that he wanted to be a doctor; however, running an event for thousands of consignors and shoppers as a hobby was never part of the plan.
“We did not go into this as experts in the consignment industry or even in event planning.” He said his wife and the Tisons are always working to improve the sale with input from their consignors. “Even now, we are not experts. We just see every sale as an opportunity to learn something new.”
He said the four founders all have primary roles in making the sale happen. Along with helping organize the event, he said his main job is scrubbing toilets. Bathroom duty is a skill he learned from his father. “When he got back to the United States from being on the mission field, he had a hard time finding a job. So he cleaned restrooms at gas stations. I would go with him and I asked him, ‘Why are you working so hard to clean when people don’t really care?”
Ibach says his father’s answer is a mantra he carries with him whether he is serving as a doctor at the hospital or as a toilet scrubber at Duck-Duck-Goose. “My dad said, ‘This is the job God gave me to do today.’”