Mark Putney is moving west.
The longtime Indianola auctioneer will move Putney Auction Service from its location at 907 W. Second Ave. (on Highway 92), further west to the former Farmers Co-Op building at 2612 W. Second Ave.
It’s a move of just over a mile, but it’s a change of about 7,500 square feet, 25 years of history, and the ability to serve both buyers and sellers better, said Putney.
“This has served its purpose for a long, long time,” Putney said, indicating the 3,800-square-foot building. But in the new space, he continued, he’ll be able to “do a better job for sellers, and make buyers more comfortable.”
He said he plans for the last auction at the current location to take place Feb. 10. The first auction in the new space will be Feb. 27.
There’s a lot to do between the two.
“Twenty-five years of being in the same spot is a long time,” said Putney. “I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff, my dad accumulated a lot of stuff. This is a big change.”
Among other things, Putney will be leaving behind the space where his father, Kevin, conducted auctions for 20 years, until his death in 2004.
“He bounced around a long time before he found a permanent spot,” Mark Putney remembered.
“What we’re setting up for now will be the last auction we set up for here,” he added. “It’s sad, but fun.”
Putney holds about two auctions a month at the auction house. Usually they combine items from a number of smaller estates. He’ll hold an additional 50 or so auctions on location each year, plus another 75 or so benefit auctions, such as the upcoming Hearts of Fire auction for Victory Christian Academy in Indianola.
The on-site auctions attract close to 450 people, with rings running inside and out. The inside sale features knick-knacks, household goods and furniture, while the outside sale usually targets tools, equipment and other outdoor items.
The new space is 10,000 square feet, allowing him to have more people at each sale, to have all the sales space indoors, and for buyers to sit during auctions. He’ll also be able to display items for sale more attractively.
The move itself will be a challenge. He said they’ll sell everything up for sale on Feb 10, but that will leave a lot to be moved.
“We’ve got to move all our computer systems, get all that up and running, move all of our stuff out there, our tables, our speakers, our monitors, all that has to go,” he said. And that’s just the inside stuff. In addition, their enclosed trucks full of future merchandise, snow removal equipment, dollies, four-wheelers, moving blankets and totes all has to go.
“We move people all the time,” Putney said. “Now we have to move all our stuff, too.”
Putney said he has about 12 employees who will help with the move, but “I’ll use all my phone-a-friends, too,” he said.
Once the move is done, he said it still will take time to organize it all and figure out the best set up.
“You don’t always get it right the first time,” he said. “We’ll be making improvements all the time to see what works and what doesn’t work.”