Editor’s Note: Following are excerpts from Springfield, Ore.-based KMTR-TV’s report on opening day Thursday (Feb. 4) of the auction of Country Coach Holdings Inc. assets in Junction City, Ore.
Federal bankruptcy courts ordered Country Coach to liquidate all of its assets late last year. Now the company is selling everything from office furniture, hand soap and computer monitors to RV mirrors, seats and raw wood it used to build coaches with.
The biggest items of the day were the coaches of course. Ten completed RVs went up for grabs. At full price, those used to retail for around $500,000 to $800,000 each. Today, many of those coaches sold for between $200,000 and $300,000, around half of their original value.
About 900 buyers showed up to the auction site at Country Coach’s old headquarters in Junction City. While many items sold, lots of people were disappointed they would have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for the items they were looking for. Most of the items are being sold in what auctioneers call “lots.” Those are either large packages of items in the same category, like electronics, or large packages of multiples.
Eugene resident Gary Chapman was one of the participants in Thursday’s auction. He was looking for a TV. “The only TVs that I saw that I was interested in they had about six or seven going at one time, so I didn’t want to bid on six TVs,” says Jones.
Junction City resident Mark Jones also participated in the auction; he was waiting for a better deal. “Oh, there’s all kinds of stuff but, I can’t afford a $5,000 generator, so I’ll wait.”
The people running the auction say they’ll generate around $3 million on this auction. Despite their line of work, the auctioneers say it’s been difficult to see Country Coach go out of business the way it has.
Scott Lohman who works with the auction company, said, “We hired back about 10 to 12 employees who used to work here to help us set up and stuff. They introduce themselves, saying ‘I’ve been here 31 years,’ or ‘I’ve been here 25 years,’ and you know that’s half of somebody’s work life. What do you do when you’re 50 years old?”
Rob Beal called out some of the sales Thursday, saying this is one of the largest auctions for the Oregon area. His work has taken him across the U.S. and overseas to different countries in Asia. Commenting on his line of work and the economy, Beal said, “for a while we had flower shops, it was one after another to cabinet builders to vehicle manufacturing plants. It’s heart-breaking to see it happen.”
Once the auction is finished today, crews will have 10 days to get payments and to move everything out of the Country Coach headquarters. All of the money from the auction will go back to bankruptcy courts and be distributed from there back to creditors.