Monday, October 22, 2012

Uta Halee Auction

Since beginning our bakery-owner research, we have been told by a few restaurant owners that auctions are great places to get deals on kitchen equipment and utensils, as long as we went into them knowing what actually was a deal!

Our auction opportunity came this past August. Omaha's Uta Halee Home for Girls, which had opened in 1950, closed down in December of last year. Located in Ponca Hills, it was a group home that offered psychiatric help for teens with emotional and behavioral problems. The campus is in such a beautiful and serene place, surrounded by woods and nature. It seems like the location alone would help in the healing process of the mind.

Well, so, our opportunity came when friend of ours saw on that Uta Halee was having a liquidation auction on August 29th. Online we found that all of the items up for auction were listed, photographed and described on a central website called Holy wow, there was a lot to look at! Rooms upon rooms of office furniture, vans, lounge chairs, exercise equipment, and a golf cart. We were more interested in their commercial kitchen equipment. We saw a 20-quart mixer, two convection ovens, a gas range, a three-basin sink, over one hundred sheet pans and muffin tins, and many many units of industrial wire shelving. There were also a lot of bins full of random utensils that we could have used. Overwhelmed by the selection, we made a list of the items we wanted to bid on, and the prices of those items both new and used. We were prepared to get some deals! Oh yes we were!

The auction was a great experience; it was really fun! I got to hold the little fan with our registered bid number on it while Trilety helped me to keep track of which items we were bidding on and when to stop bidding. I think I can understand why people like to do that and how it could be addictive. I got a cool rush each time I raised my little fan in the air.

As it turned out, we were outbid on all but one item, which was a microwave. But as we had looked up new and used prices for all of this equipment prior to the auction, we knew that we were not only being outbid, but that people were severely overbidding on a lot of things. Trilety and I found ourselves giving each other looks of bewilderment as the bidding ended on each item, well over what we had priced out a few days earlier.

In the end, we walked out with a really great experience as well as a pretty great microwave. Perhaps we will have more auctions in our future. I hope so!

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