Set to host its inaugural auction on Saturday, Blanton’s Auction House is the passion project of proprietor Jeff Blanton.
Having set up shop inside a Laurinburg landmark, the former Rocker’s Roller Dome, Blanton’s has the capacity to seat nearly 200 patrons, with standing room for many more. In the past month and a half Blanton and crews of hired workers have worked to rehabilitate the structure, which Blanton says was in “bad shape” when he leased it earlier this year.
“The size and shape of the building were perfect, even though the inside, especially, needed cleaning,” said Blanton.
In addition to cleaning, some remodeling was also done in the spacious building. Walls have been removed to give the interior a cavernous quality.
“It’s about triple the size of my former building,” said Blanton, who recently owned a similar auction house in Rockingham.
According to zoning officials, Blanton’s Auction house will be a unique business in the recent history of the Scotland County.
“With this economy, an auction house is a good place to find value for your money,” said Blanton, who also emphasizes the importance of “not having to worry about owing anybody on big ticket items.”
“You can find great value on big things, including furniture, and it’s all without using credit,” said Blanton, whose business accepts only cash and “approved checks.”
The most popular auction house items typically are antique furniture, said Blanton.
Blanton supplies almost 70-percent of the stock at the auction himself, with the rest coming from consignment (which Blanton receives 20-percent of the sale price for).
“I buy storage units and use their contents as supply,” said Blanton, who first got into the business of looking for storage unit deals three years ago.
“I loved it,” said Blanton, who works regularly as a plumbing contractor.
“Then I really got into auctions,” said Blanton. “The appeal of auction houses is not only getting a good deal, but also it gets your competitive juices flowing.”
Blanton expects that many first time auction-goers will be hooked after attending this weekend.
“They will come in and bid on something and maybe be a little too slow and miss out on it, and they’ll say ‘I’ll never let that happen again’ and come back next time.”
“I would also like to make sure that people know that this will be strictly a family atmosphere, with no smoking and no punks running around,” said Blanton. ID is required to register to bid at the door, and all attendees will be assigned a number for use at later auctions.
Blanton’s biggest thrill this weekend, outside of what he calls “anxious anticipation”, will be having the help of his three daughters and wife. Blanton’s wife, Tammy, works as a nurse for first health. His three grown daughters will be in Laurinburg to help with the opening. “It will be great to be together for this,” said Blanton.
“But I won’t be at ease until the auctioneer starts on Saturday,” said Blanton.
For the remainder of this month Blanton’s will host auctions every Saturday, with the goal of opening its doors every Thursday and Saturday by July.
In addition to three automobiles, there will also be customized golf carts, antique furniture and appliances, “and many, many other quality items that we test first” in the house on Saturday, said Blanton.
Blanton’s is located at the site of the old Rocker’s Roller Dome, across from the cinema. It will open to the public for the first time at 7 p.m. on Saturday.