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Going once, going twice, sold!

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

Becky Roberts of Eminence was so pumped for another evening of bidding and buying, she showed up at Mike Shaw’s auction house by 2:30 Thursday afternoon. The auction started at 6 p.m.

Roberts admits she is hooked.

“I’ve bought a refrigerator, a great front-loading washer/dryer set, dishes,” she said, “and I got a gorgeous organ last week.” To the obvious question, oh do you play, she answered ... “well, no.”

Owner/auctioneer Mike Shaw said the community has embraced the business, one that has found success in Eminence before. “Forrest Whitledge had an auction here forever,” he said. “Now he’s retired, but we’ve had a great response.”

Shaw said the doors are open Monday through Friday so people can check out the merchandise prior to the sale. “Lots of people come in and look around,” he said “We had about 40 in here at one time today.”

Shaw said some people attend the auctions as much for entertainment as to buy. “If you don’t want to spend anything, you can just talk to people and have a good time,” he said, “or get something to eat and a dollar pop.”

Mike and Barbara Shaw opened the auction house at 5245 Main Street in Eminence in April.

Mike is the auctioneer and Barbara is the cashier. Both work non-stop preparing merchandise for the weekly sale. Shaw said he and his dad, Cecil Shaw have run an auction barn in Livingston, Tenn., for 10 years. He also collaborates with auctioneer Joe Penn out of Frankfort. “Joe has had an auction barn for 30 years,” he said, “and he helps out sometimes with ours.”

Shaw said they decided to open in Eminence because of the location. “We can pull from all the surrounding counties and Louisville,” he said, “and it’s good for the town.”

Sonny and Marcella Smith of Paoli, Ind., said Shaw’s auction has become part of their routine.

“We picked it up on the internet,” he said. “This is our fourth or fifth time down.”

Marcella Smith said they’ve bought some practical things such as dishes and a weedeater, but spend most of their money on toys, books and videos for five-year old grandson Samuel.

Samuel even joined in the fun when his grandparents got him his own card to bid with. “His little card just kept going up,” she said.

Inventory at the auction barn is capricious, dependent upon who wants to get rid of what.

“There’s never any telling what you’ll find,” Shaw said. “We try to have a mix.”

Shaw said, for instance, people recently have come in to find furnishings for college students. Couches sold for about $70 and entire dinette sets between $20 and $50. There were microwaves, blenders, clocks and lamps — anything a young person would need to outfit a dorm room or first apartment.

Shaw said he also gets a lot of well-maintained furniture and household items from empty nesters.

“The kids don’t want their parents’ furniture,” he said. “They want their own.”

Shaw will try to sell for anyone wishing to clean out a roomful or a houseful. “You can bring your stuff here to get rid of it,” he said, “but if you like it, don’t bring it. It’s going to sell.”

Shaw said it takes about three weeks to prepare a lot for sale and recommended people contact him as far ahead as possible.

Besides a weekly auction, he holds special auctions. “Every six weeks we have an antique sale,” he said. The next one is on Sunday, Aug. 30.

A personal property sale is coming up Sunday, Sept. 11.

Shaw said Thursday auctions begin promptly at 6 p.m. and everyone’s paid for their stuff and out by 9:30.

“We go really fast,” he said, “more than 105 items an hour. You’d better get your hand up.”

Shaw also offered advice for auction neophytes.

“Just get you a number and listen to the amounts the auctioneer yells,” he said. “Set your top dollar amount and if the bidding goes higher, bow out.” Shaw said that not going over a planned expenditure is the hardest thing for bidders to do.

You can check out a list of items to be auctioned at auctionzip.com#9241 or visit in person at 5245 Main Street, Eminence. You can also call Mike Shaw at (859) 486-4198.

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com.