Business

Father-daughter auctioneers from Solon do more than 'talk fast'

Wears Auctioneering sees online events as 'biggest growth opportunity'

Emily Wears of Wears Auctioneering, Inc. checks in Jack Robinson of Iowa City as he comes to pick up items he bought at the site of an online estate sale at a home outside of Ely on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Brent Wears started the business nearly forty years ago, and he expanded to online auctions five years ago. He now runs the business with his daughter, Emily Wears. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Emily Wears of Wears Auctioneering, Inc. checks in Jack Robinson of Iowa City as he comes to pick up items he bought at the site of an online estate sale at a home outside of Ely on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Brent Wears started the business nearly forty years ago, and he expanded to online auctions five years ago. He now runs the business with his daughter, Emily Wears. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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Brent and Emily Wears have a great father-daughter relationship. They’ve also developed a pretty good working relationship over the years — the pair works side by side at Wears Auctioneering, based in Solon.

Brent founded the company back in 1985 after attending auction school.

“My dad went to auctions a lot and I tagged along with him,” Brent recalled.

Emily, having grown up in the family business, also felt that following in her father’s footsteps would be a great career fit. She, too, went off to auction school — a 10-day, intensive course of study where you learn the profession and practice learning to talk fast and chant — and at the age of 17 completed that training so she could be fully invested in the family-owned business as an auctioneer.

“Everybody finds their own thing,” said Emily of auction school. “But we definitely do more than talk fast.”

The Wearses continues to enroll in advanced courses to gain specialized training and designations in different asset classes, such as real estate, farm equipment and benefit auctions.

“We pretty much sell anything,” Emily said.

Being involved in state and national associations has been a huge benefit to their business over the years.

“We’ve been on the leading edge of what’s new in the industry,” Brent said. “We’ve been able to implement and do things sooner than others, like computerized clerking which we started 15 years ago when no one else around here was doing that.”

Brent also had a motor home customized to serve as a mobile office that travels along to on-site auctions, which have been known to last five hours or more, with an average 100 lots being auctioned off per hour.

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Today, the father-daughter duo work together but manage different elements of the business. Brent handles all the on-site auctions while she heads up the online auctions, a relatively new business venture for them.

“Those retirement farm sales are less the norm for us these days as opposed to when I started the business,” Brent said. “You don’t have to be moving off the farm after 100 years to have an auction. We have options to help you.

“Our industry has really changed. Online auctions now make up the majority of their business. We are still doing traditional on-site auctions, but online is going to be a biggest growth opportunity.”

Five years ago, he noted, “it was nothing and now it is a much larger portion of our business. We are doubling the number of online auction we are doing this year.”

Just this week, for example, they hosted an online farm equipment auction, coin auction and a moving sale through their website.

“There came a point when there weren’t any more days for holding the on-site auctions,” said Emily, who also currently is on A&E’s “Storage Wars.”

“We come out and inventory what they have, organize items into lots, take photos and put it up on our website.”

The Wearses then hosts the auction online for 10 days to two weeks. They handle the invoicing, credit card charges and oversee the pick up of items when the auction is over.

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l Know a business in operation for more than a year that would make a nifty “My Biz”? Contact michaelchevy.castranova@thegazaette.com.

At a glance

l Auctioneers: Brent and Emily Wears

l Business: Wears Auctioneering

l Address: 1826 Mehaffey Bridge Rd. NE, Solon

l Phone: (319) 624-3779

l Website: http://wearsauctioneering.com/

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