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The Suburbanite
  • Storage wars, Stark County style

  • The only people missing at the storage unit auction on Southway Street in Canton last week were the reality TV stars Jarrod Schulz, Dave Hester, Barry Weiss and the rest of the “Storage Wars” cast. While nobody yelled, “yuuup!” there were plenty of people bidding on the contents of 12 storage units up for auction.

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  • The only people missing at the storage unit auction on Southway Street in Canton last week were the reality TV stars Jarrod Schulz, Dave Hester, Barry Weiss and the rest of the “Storage Wars” cast. While nobody yelled, “yuuup!” there were plenty of people bidding on the contents of 12 storage units up for auction.
    Joe Stacy, Southway Mini Storage owner, auctions units a couple of times a year. He said that he has seen an increase in the number of people attending the auctions since reality TV shows such as “Storage Wars” and “Auction Hunters” have become popular.
    “We have everything here they have on those shows except the drama,” Stacy said. “There are a lot of repeat bidders that we see, and some are in the resale business.”
    Stacy said contents of the units are put up for auction after the renter gets behind on the rent. Just like the TV shows, the winning bidder has to completely empty the unit within a day or two. When each bidder pays for the unit, they make a $50 deposit that is refunded when the unit is emptied.
    One big difference from reality TV is that the renters' locks are cut off the units months in advance of the sale. The locks are replaced with locks from the storage company.
    “We comply with the Ohio Lien Law and send notification to the renter in the time required by law. That's when we cut the locks off,” Stacy said.
    As the crowd started to build at Saturday's sale, big pickup trucks, some with trailers, packed the auction site. As Geno Kiko from Kiko Auctions prepared to sell the first unit, he went over the rules with the potential buyers.
    “Rule No. 1: Do not go into the unit. Walk past and take a quick look but don't cross over into the unit,” Kiko said. “No. 2: today's sales are cash only. If you don't have green cash, don't bid.”
    Many of the bidders used flashlights to look into the unit as they walked past the open door. With well more than 100 people attending, Kiko told the group to use their bidding numbers or yell out a bid because he may miss a head nod or a wink.
    Todd Jefferys, of Jackson Township, bought one of the first units sold. It was one of the bigger units and was packed full of household items and collectibles.
    “I have no idea why I bought the unit,” Jefferys said. “I may buy more today. We'll just have to see how it goes.”
    The Farmer family from Akron knew why they bought a unit. Jim Farmer, Sr. and his son Jim, Jr. and his 7-year-old grandson, Jesse James, own and operate a store in Akron called Farmers' This 'n That Store.
    Page 2 of 2 - Jim Farmer, Sr. had his eye on a remote control car in the unit that he thought might make him some money.
    “There's also a floor jack and some used TVs that we can sell, and those items will make up our profits,” he said.
    The three have been going to auctions for more than a year and have seen attendance at the storage unit auctions increase since the TV shows have taken off.
    “Regardless of what people may think, there are no treasures in those lockers,” Jim Farmer, Jr. said. “You get exactly what you see.”
    Tammy Seward came up to Canton from Bolivar with her two sons. It was the first time they had attended a storage unit auction.
    “We came for looking for household items and to see what may be in the units,” Seward said.
    All of the units on Saturday contained household items, furniture, some tools and some collectibles. Prices for the units ranged from $150 to $1,000.
    “We hold storage unit auctions around the area 10 to 12 times a year. The most I've seen a unit sell for was $1,700. We've seen people pull out dolls, pottery and guitars from various units, but I don't know of any great find,” Kiko said.
    Stacy agreed, saying that most units don’t have any priceless treasures, though he has seen some units with a car in them.