Hammer falls on auctions
6:30pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
THE auctioneer’s gavel may have sounded for the last time in Old Town at the close of play today.
Town Auctions, an auction house on the Central Trading Estate in Signal Way, will hold its last- sale, after the decision was reached by partners Craig Cook and Tim Hodges to shut the business on October 3.
The three main reasons given by Craig, 53, of Kingshill Road, were the small size of their let on the trading estate, steep rent and a town too small to cope with three auction houses.
Town Auctions has been trading since October 2011, but in that time has faced the arrival of auction houses in Cheney Manor and Stratton, plus a retail unit which has limited the number of lots available in each sale.
Tomorrow’s sale will be especially emotional for Craig, who opened this business in Old Town in an effort to invoke the spirit of town’s original auction rooms in The Planks where he worked, which closed 12 years ago.
“Swindon is a tiny town, It doesn’t need to have more than one auction house because it compromises everyone,” said Craig.
“A year ago we realised we were struggling to achieve financially what we needed to.
“We aren’t bust, we are still making money, but the town is too small for three auctions rooms.
“We have to make a living, and although we kept growing we haven’t grown enough.
“We tried giving it a chance and worked seven days a week for as long as we could, but when you get a break in your lease you have to take that chance.”
There will be 500 lots available to bidders today, with Craig expecting at least 100 people to register to buy items.
This is the largest auction the business has ever held.
And it is a business likely to be missed judging by the comments of those previewing items yesterday and the feedback Craig has received.
“I hope it’s remembered. We certainly get nice comments and we certainly had a lot of disappointed people when we told them of our decision,” he said.
“It’s a good event to visit because it’s on a Saturday. People have always enjoyed coming here because of the social aspect and meeting the same faces.”
Mark Harrison, 49, who works at Mike Horan Printing in Westcott Place, said: “There is a good variety of items here and the staff are extremely friendly.
“I’ve got a good chance of getting things a little bit cheaper because there are fewer people here, as its items are not available on the internet.”
Craig and Tim have agreed to part ways once the business eventually closes. Craig, as yet, is undecided on where his next venture lies.
At this stage he is considering returning to the buying and selling trade, where instead of selling items for other people he will deal for himself.
He has not, though, closed the door on a possible return to business in Old Town if the opportunity were to arise again.