Owner and professional auctioneer, Col. Corrina McEwen Pauldine, hosted the company's first weekly auction Monday, Nov. 19, and said in spite of a few computer glitches, said overall it was a huge success.
"Even though I was hoping for a larger turnout, it was a great first night," Pauldine said. "I received a lot of good feedback and suggestions, and it was a good learning experience. Now we'll just keep improving on it until it is a well-oiled machine."
McEwen Auction Company accepts a variety of items for consignment. Pauldine said she is looking for things like antiques, household furniture and appliances, such as washers, dryers and refrigerators in good working condition. Other items she said she is interested in trying to sell for people are vintage clothing, old books and local memorabilia, tools and electronics.
"I also dabble in clothes, jewelry, coins," Pauldine said. "It can be a lot of different things; right now I have a big bird cage. Just tell me what you have or bring it in so I can take a look it and I'll let you know if I think it will sell at an auction."
Some of the items she said she does not deal in, however, include clothes, baby toys and cribs.
A graduate of the Texas Auction Academy in June, Pauldine earned the official title of Colonel, which is ascribed to every professional auctioneer. She said she not only learned the rapid fire chant, but the 10-day intensive course also taught her every aspect of running and owning an auction company, from bookkeeping and state and federal regulations to community involvement and auction technology.
Pauldine said she has been interested in auctions and antiques ever since she was a child. She said her mom was always dragging her to auctions and she bought her first item by herself at an Earl Johnson auction when she was about 10 years old.
"I've always had a passion for it and was always collected things," Pauldine said. "While other girls were collecting stickers or whatever, I was collecting antique figurines and even antique furniture."
As an adult, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in English literature with a minor in computer information systems; has been a licensed Realtor; and owned an antique store in downtown Oswego.
All the while, she said her mom was continually encouraging her to become an auctioneer.
In March of this year, she said she had an epiphany and decided it was time to pool all of her experiences and resources and start the career she had always wanted.
"I looked back over all of the jobs I'd had in my life and realized all of my experience could be used in this venture." She said she kept hearing her mom's voice in the back of her head, encouraging her, and decided now was the time.
"I wanted to be in charge of my own future," Pauldine explained. "To me, that is being self-employed. It is my work ethic and my hard work that determines where I go in my life."
So, Pauldine wrote up her business plan, utilized the small business development center at SUNY Oswego and applied for a small business loan through the city's community development office.
Her plan for the first year is to become very well-established through her weekly auctions and expand out to include specialty auctions. She is already getting ready her first one, Dec. 28, which will be an antique exclusive auction and will include antique furniture and home décor items.
Another feature she plans to incorporate bidding against my live bidders," Pauldine said.
She said she is hoping to have the web cast up and running for the Dec. 28 auction, but is not sure she will have everything in place that quickly, which includes training and hiring another employee.
McEwen Auction Company currently has five employees and hopes to have a lot of the kinks worked out through her weekly auctions by the time of her first specialty auction in December.
Pauldine is looking to perform on-site estate auctions beginning in the spring.
"We will bring the auction – chairs, tents, computers, employees – right to the site," Pauldine said.
She also offers fund-raising services to local organizations that want to do a live auction as opposed to a silent auction.
"Live auctions generate more excitement which in turn raises more money," Pauldine pointed out.
Eventually, within the next year or so, she said she would also like to move into real estate auctions.
"Bernie Brzostek has done a lot to change the local perspective on selling items at real estate," she said. "People generally think it is a huge risk and it's a hard concept to grasp, but Bernie has been doing it for a while and he has helped local communities see that as an option."
A website for McEwen Auction Company is currently being developed, but those interested can find out more or interact with Pauldine on the company's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/McEwenAuctionCompany.
"I really want to encourage people, especially those who have never been to an auction, to come in, sit and see what it is like," Pauldine said. "It is really fun and a great way to find a lot of interesting and unique items."
The next auction will be Monday at 6 p.m., with a preview from 5-6 p.m.
For more information or to find out about consigning, contact Pauldine at 343-6530.