SOLD! in Superior
Cousins Brent Loberg and Mickey Greene started Seller's Auction in Duluth in 1982. After a five-year hiatus following Loberg's death, Sellers Auction is back — now in Superior.
"I was doing auctions for other people and other companies, and I thought if I am doing it for them, I might as well just open Sellers again if I'm going to keep doing it, Greene said.
"It was the right timing for both of us," said Greene's partner, Christina Kirk.
The found a building in Superior — the T.L.K. building at 902 Ogden Ave. — and launched the Sellers again in May.
Sellers Auction specializes in business liquidations; inventory reduction; antiques and collectibles; estates; farm auctions; benefit and fundraising auctions; and consignments for those hoping to reduce years of accumulated treasures as they downsize their lives, sometimes referred to as Swedish death cleaning.
"I never heard that until last night," Greene said.
"I didn't make that up," Kirk said. "The first time I heard that, the New York Times did an article ... if you Google it, it comes up."
It's a method designed to make it easy for people older than 50 to purge their homes and organize their possessions in hopes that their children won't be burdened by their belongings once they pass away. While it sounds morbid, death cleaning is streamlining your life so you're only holding onto what makes you happy.
"We deal a lot with people who just say they want to get rid of this stuff in their garage to make a little bit of space," Kirk said.
Greene and Kirk can help with that with their general auctions every Wednesday night or other special auctions, such as tonight's antique and collectible auction, the antique auction March 23 or the gun auction planned for April 14.
Kirk said Sellers Auction is licensed for gun sales, but buyers have to pass a background check. She said the process is quick.
Anything, from a vehicle to a set of dishes, can be sold at an auction.
"We sell just about anything as long as it's in good condition," Greene said.
In their new space, Kirk said they have enough room to store up to four auctions at a time, giving them room for specialty auctions, which allows them to run up to two auctions a week.
The auction house is open 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on auction days, giving buyers a chance to peruse the merchandise. The general auctions start at 5 p.m. With the space available to them in Superior, Greene said they can have the items from two auctions on display at once, allowing those who browse to see what's coming up.
"We always have the coffee pot on and people come and hang out and see what we have," Kirk said.
Bill Chambliss, a former coach at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, said he's been coming to Sellers for about 20 years, and he's been able to sell quite a few things through the auctions.
"They've helped me downsize," Chambliss said. "I don't have an audience. That I could show it to one person, suddenly I could show it to 100 people."
Name it, and there's a good chance Sellers has handled it, from prosthetic limbs to historical items.
"Historical Duluth items are always kind of fun" and prove to be great sellers, Greene said. "We get a really neat mixture."
And Wednesday night, the options were many, everything for 70s-era art deco lamp shades to a beaver coat and an ice bucket shaped like a toilet bowl.
"It's a fun night out," said Ryan Maeder, who attended Wednesday night's auction with his dad, Kevin Maeder.
"You can get pretty good deals," Kevin Maeder said.
As buyers and sellers, they agree there is really nothing like it.
"It's a game as well — trying to outbid somebody ... you may have overpaid but you won," Kevin said.
"If you're patient, you will find whatever you want eventually at the price you're will to pay," said longtime customer Randy Sarvella of Moose Lake, who attended Wednesday night's auction with his husband, Keith Johnson. He said it's a great way for a young people just starting out to furnish a home, sometimes for "5 cents on a dollar."
For collectors, like Sarvella and Johnson, they say it's the appeal of the hunt for the odd and unusual, and even the ugly.
Bill Satterlund of Duluth said he likes "everything" about the auctions. He said he used to buy a lot of carpentry stuff, but it's also fun "for old-timers" like him to see familiar items that has some wondering what they are.
Sharon Szamatula said it's a weekly thing she does with her husband, Rick.
"There's really quality stuff here," Szamatula said, adding the atmosphere is also appealing. "It's almost like a social gathering here on Wednesday nights. It's always unique stuff here."
Kirk said some people to drive more than an hour to get to the auctions. For them, she said they use Facebook and their website to show the merchandise that will be available at upcoming auctions.
For more information, visit sellersauction.com or go to facebook.com/pg/MickeysAuction for updates, or call (218) 464-4722.