The doors of the old Snooks grocery store will open again Nov. 15 and customers are expected to file in, hoping for good deals.
The shelves are long gone and the cases aren’t packed with meat — instead, the store, which operated for more than 60 years, will be home to the Springfield Auction House.
“It’s a great idea for people who have items around the house to convert them into cash and for those people who don’t like to play retail,” said Tommy Snooks.
Snooks retired this spring and shuttered his downtown Springfield mainstay. Jamey Stancell, owner of Old Town Antiques and Bookstore, was kicking around the idea of an auction house in downtown Springfield and broached the topic with Snooks.
“I’ve been bugging Tommy to do something,” Stancell said, “so I said, ‘let’s do an auction house.’ Every time he came in, I’d say, ‘let’s do an auction house.’”
Springfield has had auction houses in the past, Snooks said, and the idea of his former store as the home for another one grew on him.
“Tommy has done more than his side of the deal,” Stancell said. “He does as much or more as I do.”
Since then, they’ve been receiving items to be auctioned steadily and have been busy moving furniture, collectibles and seasonal items, among other things available.
“It’s a great place to come get a great deal,” Stancell said.
Stancell considered an auction house in Springfield to be a natural fit. “It’s a good, Southern thing,” he said.
Said Snooks: “It’s always been in the back of my mind. I wanted to get into something that was fun and not have to worry about the burden of operating a business.”
While many of the items to be auctioned are everyday use, Stancell said there will be higher-end pieces available.
“Once people realize it’s not a penny, nickel and dime auction, they’ll come,” he said.
The auction house also may help bring more people to Springfield and let them see what the town has to offer.
“I think it’s great for the revitalization of downtown,” Snooks said. “All the smaller businesses are going to get exposed to people who live in the area but maybe don’t frequent downtown Springfield. The auction is going to bring people from out of town.
“I think it’ll be good for the economy of Springfield in the long run.”
The auction house also could be a “win-win-win,” Stancell explained. First, the auction house will bring more visitors to downtown. Second, those coming can get items at below retail prices and find antiques without paying antique prices. And third, it could allow some people to make money off items they may no longer need.
Plans to hold the auction initially called for it to take place every third Tuesday. But response has been so strong, Stancell has opted to add another auction every first Tuesday of the month, except for January.
“But after that, it will be every two weeks,” he said.
If the phone calls and Facebook likes are any indication, response and interest has been strong.
“The word spread,” Stancell said.
The auction house’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SpringfieldAuctionHouse, got 58 likes in its first three weeks and is up to 166 as of Wednesday afternoon. It’s also received more than 11,000 hits. There are approximately 60 pictures of auction items on the Facebook page.
“My phone rings all the time with people wanting to know how they can consign and how does an auction work,” Stancell said. “There’s been a lot of interest in how an auction works.”
A preview will be held Monday from noon-5 p.m. and Tuesday from 4-6:30 p.m. The auction will start at 6:30 p.m., with auctioneer Paul Lindsay. Items for the next auction will be taken beginning Nov. 17.
“People are stopping by every day, looking in,” Stancell said. “They’re excited about it. When we started putting up the sign, people started stopping by.”
Added Snooks: “We’re like a child getting ready for Christmas. We’re excited.”