Home grown: Millard Auction Co.
Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.
What do you do and how long have you been doing it? I began selling horses in Central Point at auction, then got into vehicles, guns, business liquidations, as well as personal or estate liquidations. I started in 2006.
How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? I was born and raised in the Rogue Valley and went to Eagle Point High School.
What inspired you to go into this line of work? I had been involved in rodeo and had spent my whole life riding and training, and selling all over the United States. When the horse economy started slipping, there were people losing everything. I thought I could provide a local service so they didn't have to lose everything. People aren't buying brand new furniture, they're buying slightly used furniture. So it gives people a chance to restock their house or business.
What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? My wife was director of new business for Channel 10. If I could have got her involved a little sooner, it would've been better. I was doing all the marketing, advertising, labor and built the website myself. We have 25,000 to 30,000 auctions a week in 11 countries. But I'm a great multitasker.
What's the toughest business decision you've made? Moving back from Grants Pass after 18 years, leaving another auction company and going to work for myself. Coming back to the great unknown and coming back to my home town.
Who are your competitors? Red Barn in Talent and Liska Auctioneers in Grants Pass.
What are your goals? We're branching out and opening up a retail consignment gun shop. Sometimes, people don't want to sell them at auction. By putting it on consignment, they can see what the market is. We sell coins, jewelry, cars, farm equipment, you name it. Some people need the money, but want the best chance of marketing their goods and want to let people look at it for a week or two. It gives them another option not to feel so pressured. We work for banks and attorneys, trustees or executors of wills. We've outgrown four different facilities in the past year, it's incredible. We work side-by-side with other people, and we supply companies such as Larson's with a lot of their furniture.
What training or education did you need? I'm a jack of all trades. My uncle, Norm Woodward, was the auctioneer at Rogue Valley Livestock Auctions, and I learned to be an auctioneer from him. Basically, I was always intrigued by the auction chant. I learned a lot about different products, antiques and a vast amount of knowledge about the business during my time with Liska.
What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? It takes a lot of hard work and commitment; they didn't conquer Rome in one week. My dad told me that you are only successful with the friends in your life. Your customers are your friends. You want the people in your life to want to be around you. If you are good and reputable, your friends will show up, and that's what we're here for.
To suggest ideas for this column, about businesses that are at least five years old, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email email@example.com.