It’s official now. Our final auction was our June 11-14 2023 online auction….and what an auction it was!
Over 900 lots, and by far a record auction for us, live or online!
I could not have imagined, or asked for, a better final auction. I wanted to go out on a high note, and we certainly did!
It took about two weeks to take care of the customer pickups, shipping, and deliveries, but we managed to pack up, clean the hall and turn in the keys June 30.
Lots of hugs, handshakes and best wishes from buyers and consignors…some of whom have been with me for over 20 years.
I think of the final auction, and of course then go back to our first auction in Bond Head, July 1996. Mom and Dad, David Beasley, Don Garner and myself, set up the auction. Carol Beasley & Patti Vanderdonk did registration and payment. My brother Brian helped hold up during the auction, and my sister Kris and brother in law Gerry Jansen did the food booth. (and would continue doing the food booth until 2020).
Right from day one, the auctions were large, and well attended. We packed them into the Bond Head hall for 14 years, most of the auctions were Friday nights, and then Saturdays in the winter months.
We then started doing huge May to September sales in the Cookstown Curling club, and then moved to Pottageville for our final years of live auctions. Final auction in Pottageville was March 2020, just one day before the pandemic lockdowns started!
Over the years we sold over 150,000 pieces and had 1000’s of people register for the auctions. Never a shortage of good items to sell, and always lots of good buyers. I consider myself very fortunate.
The pandemic forced us into online auctions, which was something I never thought I would do. The first few sales we operated out of three storage units in Barrie, then moved to a large former nightclub (ok, it was a swinger’s club but the pandemic put them out of business!). 8 months later we moved to the nice facilities in the Bayfield Mall, and that was our final location.
The online auctions were successful beyond my expectations, and eventually exceeded all previous sales records on a regular basis.
I did the photos and created the auction website listings, while Rick Osborne acted as my right hand guy (mother hen), looking after deliveries, pickups and everything else I needed to keep the business running. My brother in law Gerry looked after the shipping. With just the three of us, we managed to increase the sales dollars, by over 50%.
The final three years were hard work…60-70 hour weeks, and often 7 days a week, but it paid off. I estimated I shot and edited over 150,000 photos for the online auctions. Basically, my days and evenings were spent doing photos, but that’s what it takes to do successful online auctions.
So, without regret, our final auction was June 2023. The timing was right, I felt like I had done everything I could do with the online auctions, and at my age, I was not interested in expanding the business any further. It was time to move onto a new chapter in my life and catch up on the things I had missed out on the last few years.
I plan on taking it easy the first few months. We have a nice property in the country, and I want to spend time working on landscaping, and getting back to enjoying the property. Spending more time with family and friends is a big priority as well.
I will be helping a few auctioneers with their auctions, and probably doing a little buying and selling myself. Occasional small live auctions are not out of the question, so everything is on the table right now. The important thing for me, is to keep busy doing the things I want to do, without any real commitment. Focus on the fun stuff!
One of the things I am most proud of over the last 27 years, is my incredible staff, many who have been with me since the beginning.
Many thanks to my mother Audrey Sage, my late father Norm Sage, sister and brother in law Kris and Gerry Jansen, brother Brian Sage, Carol and David Beasley, Patti Vanderdonk, the late Donnie Garner, Charlie McAteer, Rick and Lynne Osborne, and Lisa Ferrie. Family and friends always there when I needed them on this 27 year journey.
Of course, I also want to thank the 100’s of consignors and customers. Great sellers, great buyers…that’s what makes for great auctions!
So now I embark on new journeys and look back without regret. It’s been a good run. There’s an old showbiz adage “always leave them wanting more”. I hope we’ve done that.
Thank you for everything.