Using the often empty CC Haynes building on Beaver Street, the Lamberts will hold their first estate auction on Saturday at 5 pm, and according to Bob Lambert, the Haynes building is an ideal location for an auction. “The CC Haynes building is perfect because it’s an old barn” said Lambert. “When you think of old auctions that’s what you think of.”
Lambert said the plan is to eventually hold weekly auctions, which will include estate auctions, as well as food auctions. While estate auctions provide a chance to bid on everything from hunting knives to coffee tables, a food auction sets the price of a product, say, a can of corn, and all in attendance can then purchase that product at that price. The goal is to create a price that is less than what a supermarket charges, providing a cheaper alternative for locals to get their food.
Lambert says the location of the building provides a central location in Wilmington that would make food auctions a service to the community. “Food auctions are big in other parts of the country where food is more expensive,” said Lambert.
After going through a 10-day class to become a licensed auctioneer, Lambert, a mortgage broker who runs White Wolf Consulting in West Dover, said it would be fun to be on the other side of the podium for once. “There’s a lot to know about the value of a product, and when you’re evaluating, the difference between perceived and actual value.”
The Lamberts have been buying and selling estate items for 20 years, and say that not only is it business, it’s pleasure. “It’s an event where you get to know people when you go to enough of them,” said Lambert. “The community gets together and has fun. Any activity in this area is good for the local economy, and any time you get the community together is good.”
The Lamberts are renting the CC Haynes building from the CC Haynes Trust, which manages two scholarships for local students. While the building is on town-owned land, the building is rented to support the trust and its scholarships.
CC Haynes was a farmer in Wilmington in the early 20th century who had no children, but willed his estate to be liquidated upon his death with the proceeds put in a savings account, used for the promotion of local agriculture, with a trustee elected to manage the trust. Haynes died in 1921, and in the time since the trust has accrued interest that brought it from $8,000 to $54,000.
The trust has since set up two scholarships named for former trustees: the William Poole and Ralph Howe scholarships, which provide $1,000 and $500 respectively, to high school students who are furthering their education in agricultural or environmental studies.
Carl Boyd is the current elected CC Haynes trustee. He said that in the past the building has been used for everything from Lions Club and Rotary meetings to farmers displaying products at fairs.
“It’s not an elaborate building and it’s not used often,” said Boyd, “ It’s not heated so it can’t be used year-round necessarily, but we’d like people to use it. An ideal use would be a farmers market. I think it’s a building that people who drive by have no idea what it is.”
The building was constructed with volunteer labor in 1930, and according to Boyd, has survived two floods, with the 1938 flood taking it off its foundation. Because the trust is supported by interest accrued from government bonds now, the trust relies on rent money and donations to compensate for low interest rates. “We’d love to see it used more if this begins to create interest,” said Boyd.