WJBF EXTRA: Cable Shows Increase Interest In Local Storage Aucti - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

WJBF EXTRA: Cable Shows Increase Interest In Local Storage Auctions

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By George Eskola

Rachel Carrell and Kyle Gallagher tuned in and were turned on to the world of storage auctions.

“That’s definitely TV, it's not as exciting here in the real world,” said Rachel.  

The auctioning of storage unit's isn’t new, but you could say in the business...there was time BC, for "before cable".

And, the cable shows like 'Storage Wars' and 'Auction Hunters' have really impacted the storage auction business.

“Yes, by watching the show, it definitely made me decide that I need to go do it. It's one of those things...you see it all the time, you might as well do it,” said Gallagher.

“Oh my goodness, it has increased the number of people who come to the auctions tenfold. We used to just get the flea market people, now we're getting the common folks who watch the show on TV and everything,” said Neil Klein, who serves as a regular auctioneer.

And, that's been a help for the storage unit owners, who by law, put the units up for auction after not receiving rent payments.

“The real bottom line is we were collecting about 30 cents on the dollar that we were owned. Now, we're collecting about 60 cents, so it's helped,” says Doctor George Snelling, the owner of more than 5,000 self-storage units in the Augusta area.

Dozens of people will turn out for local auctions. They are the growing number of storage warriors. And, with more people making offers, prices for the units are going up, something those who were into storage auctions before they were cool, resent.

“It's horrible. It's taken some of the common decency out of people and turned it more into more of a competition. It's taken decent people and turned them into competitive buttheads,” said Becky Kielbasa, who admits she watches the shows on TV.

Gallagher understands, as someone new to the storage auction business, he’s disliked by the old crowd. “I’m sure they do but cash is king as they say it on TV,” he said.

And Kyle and Rachel were ready to spend some of their cash...$400 bought them a storage unit on Dyess Parkway.

“Some good looking furniture, definitely some good looking furniture,” said Rachel.

“Ugh, we'll at least break even, might make another hundred bucks off of it,” said Kyle.

“It’s shocked me that anybody would care that much about what's in a self-storage unit because, quite often, the value is not that great,” said Doctor Snelling, who auctions about 30 or 40 units a month,

But, what is great now is the interest in giving it a try, finding those hidden treasures like they do on cable TV.

Of course, the auctions only occur when someone can’t pay the rent...something Snelling says he would prefer not happen. He says he and other storage unit owners will work with renters to help them make their payments instead of putting their possessions up for auction.

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