Saturday, October 4, 2008

This One's for Cutey


Someone has asked me how Neil became an auctioneer. Although the story is not very interesting, I will tell it just for her (you know who you are).

The first time we went to an auction was in Florida while we were visiting my mean Grandmother (that is another story). Neil was hooked. From that point on he always had in the back of his mind the idea of becoming an auctioneer.

You know how life is though. First his Dad got sick and that forced Neil into the family business which was a pawn shop. Actually the pawn business is an interesting business and was good to us for awhile. But you know how things go when you work for family. Anyway as things worked out a side line at the pawn shop evolved into our electronics business. We ran Coronado CB Center for 18 years alone and with my brother. As the business grew, our main customer base became Mexico. Then NAFTA came about and our customers no longer needed us as a middle man.

We took a couple of years off, sort of a trial retirement. Very boring. We started going to auctions again and as we accumulated merchandise we needed a place to get rid of things so we started a used furniture store. The store was known as NP Enterprises....that would be Neil and Pam or Non Profit or Nothing's Perfect. Depended on what we were selling and to whom.

The more auctions we went to the more frustrated Neil became with how other auctioneers ran their auctions. We met another auction goer who was equally frustrated and he and Neil decided to try opening an auction house. This was a good thing but also another lesson is not having partners. Ron was retired so he studied for the auctioneers test, took the test and passed. The arrangement was for him to become a licensed auctioneer and Neil would apprentice for a year and then get his license. This arrangement worked out for the most part except.....Ron had a mild heart attack the week before we opened. He was OK but of course his doctor restricted his activity for awhile. This of course meant Neil and I did all the work.

We of course didn't mind after all he did have a heart attack. But it became clear that he liked this arrangement. He got to hold the mic and be the star on auction night and we did everything else. After Neil got his license we bought Ron out and it became just the 2 of us.

I think Ron thought we would die without him but here we are 10 years later and Auctions Unlimited is busier then ever. We did close the auction house 2 years ago. With the advent of Ebay we were not getting quality consignments anymore. Now we just do on site auctions, business liquidations, estates, storage locker foreclosures.

Ok Cutey there is the story for what it is worth. I will say it has been an interesting business and we have met some interesting people. You would enjoy one of our auctions even if you bought nothing. Neil is very understandable and you always know who has the bid and for how much. None of that fast talking you can't understand. He is also very funny. Our customers are always telling me what a comedian he is.

8 comments:

Anna said...

Thanks, Pam, for sharing your story! I found it very interesting. I don't know much about auctions, and I have yet to buy something on ebay. Actually, I think I might be the only person who hasn't used that site!

pamwax said...

Anna I will tell you this about auctions...you get great deals. You should find an auction house in your area and try it. I have a beautiful grandfather clock($250), 2 leather recliners and love seat practically new($500)and a like new Lazy Boy sofa sleeper ($150) all from auctions. Not my auctions by the way. I do sometimes bid at my auctions but most of the things I buy at auction come from other people's auctions. Actually there is not a room in my house that doesn't have something in it from an auction.

Anna said...

Wow! I'll have to look for auctions. I'm in desperate need of new furniture, and the way the economy's going, I can't afford to pay a fortune! Thanks for the info.

Jeannie said...

Thank you for sharing, Pam. Wow- when can I go shopping with you? You know how I'm into antiques and that I even used to go to auctions. I miss that, but what would be even more fun is to go with you. Just can't convince hubby to take a drive to Texas. Sigh...

pamwax said...

Jeannie meet me in Canton Saturday the 1st and we will do Canton's First Monday.

chaki said...

Oh thank you Pam for your story. I was certain others would be interested as well. You already know I'd love to see one of Neil's auctions. Wondered what I'd buy but I know I'd be the one giggling at all his jokes. There are no public auctions in Japan, only things they auction here are fish... Thanks again.

Arsenette said...

Hmm just fish auctiions in Japan? I've seen those on Television (the famous one in Tokyo who's name escapes me...)

Pam thanks for posting the stories! Give yourself a lot more credit. You are one very pioneering woman to have been a part of so many start ups! Most people would be terrified to try something new.. you did several!!

pamwax said...

Neil does the start up. Loves that stuff. I just go along for the ride and count the money if there is any.