New Era items up for bid on Wednesday

Published 3:05 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Items at the former New Era Caps factory on Cedar Avenue — from sewing machines to miter saws to a pair of delivery trucks parked outside — will be auctioned off inside the plant today (Wednesday) beginning at 10 a.m.

Bruce Costello, the vice president of operations for Heritage Global Partners, will be directing the auction. On Tuesday, the public was invited to preview the equipment and to register for the auction at the plant until 5 p.m. The facility will be open today at 9 a.m.

The Dove brothers — Ross and Kirk Dove, who are grandchildren of HGP founder Harry Ross and third-generation auctioneers — will lead the auction at New Era.

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“We will have a live auction bid going on, but we are also inviting people to bid on the Internet,” Costello said. “People are registering on the Internet so, if they can’t be here in person, they will be bidding online in real time along with the buyers in the room here in Demopolis.”

People can register online at before the auction or while the auction is going on.

“We recommend that they register before the sale so that they are set up,” Costello said. “That way, if they want to bid on something, they are ready to go. We expect the sale to go until 4:00.”

This will be an absolute auction, meaning everything must go.

“Everything in the building either came out of this facility or it was owned in Derby or Jackson,” said plant manager Alvin Williams. “In addition to that, some of the items at the auction were brought in was owned by the auction company itself, so not all of the equipment that’s out there came out of this building.

“It’s amazing, the amount of traffic that we’ve seen this morning. A lot more people are coming to this auction than went to the Jackson auction. Jackson had a similar amount of equipment at that facility, and they started their auction at about 10:30, and by 2:00 everything in that mill was sold.”

“This is a plant closure, so everything has to be cleared out,” Costello said. “We’ll have a good mix of people — international buyers as well as people in the United States who are in the embroidery business who do this type of work — and we’ll get a mix of dealers, also, who buy actually buy this equipment, fix it up and resell it.

“I think we’ll get a good local crowd here because we’ve got the sign outside, and we’ve had a lot of people ask about it. There are a few odds and ends — some material handling equipment, some gardening equipment, a variety of other things that have a local appeal. There are a couple of trucks outside for sale, box trucks. We’ve got one Ford and one International.”

Williams said that the online bidding would attract some international action, including bidders from Mexico, the Dominican Republic and China.

“Things will really move forward very rapidly, because we can start shipping equipment as soon as they line up trucking firms to come in and pick it up,” Williams said. “That would probably start on Friday. Jackson had its auction about five weeks ago, and in the first two weeks, over half of it had moved, so I would anticipate a very similar type thing here.”

The auction is the final action for the tenure of New Era Caps in Demopolis. The plant was closed as part of a corporate consolidation, also closing its plant in Jackson, Ala., and bringing all of the manufacturing to its home plant in Derby, N.Y.

On Nov. 18, 2009, the company announced that it would consolidate its three manufacturing plants into one plant. It announced on Jan. 27 that it would close the Demopolis plant, and then closed the Jackson facility on Feb. 5. The final day for workers at the Demopolis facility was April 30.