By Will McClure
Since 1999, the family owned and operated Knowles Auction Service has called Stamford home and, for the first time in nearly 16 years, the business will move to a new, larger location just one mile north of Stamford past Quality Implement. There, they will hold their first auction on March 21 for one of their two major auctions of the year. With the moving process still underway and the auction still a month out, Lanny and Clint Knowles were able to sit down and discuss the family business, which has been going strong since 1962.
With between 300 to 400 buyers coming to their auctions, the current location for Knowles Auction Service has been too small to accommodate everyone, resulting in the need to borrow property owned by the Co-op Gin in order to conduct recent auctions. Clint Knowles, one of the auctioneers and owners of the service, said that the auctions pull buyers in from over 300 miles away, with some coming from Mexico, Oklahoma and New Mexico just to participate. Knowles also said that the auctions sell all sorts of items from farm equipment to motor vehicles, specializing in business liquidations as well. There are even some interesting items that go through the auctions, such as a 1940s railroad “tug,” bottles of whiskey which were sold during a government-controlled auction on Dyess Air Force Base (a feat that could not be performed under normal circumstances due to regulations). The service even performed a liquidation of a drug store which required all buyers to be licensed and was overseen by several representatives to insure no unlawful activity was performed. The service provides sellers with a full service option to help the auction process easier for all parties.
“We can go in, you call us, hand us the keys and we can move it, set it up, advertise it [and] sell it. Anything that you need done such as clean it up or repair it or whatever, we can get that done,” Knowles said. On a typical auction day, buyers can expect the auction to run for eight hours and, if the auction begins to run long, two auctioneers will hold simultaneous auctions in order to speed up the day. Sometimes, the auction would need to run for a second day to make sure all of the items are sold. This caused a problem in space as not only would it be crowded for buyers and cause difficult parking situations, the fact that the space used would need to be borrowed summoned the need for the move. The new location spans 13 acres with three buildings and an office. This will allow the space to open up and alleviate many of the problems in past auctions.
The auction service currently has six licensed auctioneers, all of whom are part of the Knowles family: Lanny, Clint, Clifton, Dale, Dovie and Angela. These individuals comprise the “heart” of the service that was originally based in Floydada, Texas and opened by Lanny’s brother. The business moved to Clovis, Muleshoe, Hereford, Brownfield and Amarillo before arriving in Stamford in 1999, which the family considers their hometown.
The service stays up to date on the ever changing rules and regulations, even needing to send representatives to stay current on licensing and within all regulations. For more information, it is suggested that one can visit the TDLR website for all of the current rules and regulations for auctions and licensure. Knowles said that all auctioneers must complete at least eight hours of continuing education to order to maintain licensure and keep the business running smoothly.
The family also caters to first time buyers to help them with how an auction works and get them started in the bidding process. Clint Knowles said that “if they let us know that this is their first time, we will help them. We explain to them and help them out. If there is something you are interested in and want to bid on, just catch one of us and let us know. We will make sure you have your buyer’s number and whenever we get to that item, holler at one of us and we will stand there by you and explain what’s going on, how much and whether it’s your turn to bid or not. Everything to get you oriented.”
Knowles Auction Service currently performs between six to seven auctions a year, with two, such as the one in March, being bigger auctions along with four to five smaller auctions in between. The service also travels to conduct over 250 auctions a year all over the United States from liquidation auctions to car auctions. However, Stamford will continue to be the place they call home. They invite new and returning buyers to come to the March 21st auction at their new location and for more information they can call them at 325-773-2689.