Sunday auctions begin at old Newell high school

NEWELL, W.Va. — Sunday consignment auctions have begun in Newell.

They are the latest addition to the flea market, inside vendors, fire department bingo and other activities that make the former Wells High School a busy place.

The old school is a community center operated by the Newell Volunteer Fire Department.

The auctions, located in the former auditorium, begin at 1 p.m. every Sunday, according to Glenn McConaughy, auctioneer. Doors open at 11 a.m. A food concession serving a variety of lunch items is operated by Mike and Penny Nixon. Mike is building manager and a fire department trustee.

“We started in early January,” said McConaughy. “It’s just an ideal site for an auction. We take anything and everything anyone wants to consign. I get estates, storage units, wholesale new food products and home supplies. I even have a wholesaler sending jewelry from New York. Almost everything is sold at absolute auction, with very few reserves.”

McConaughy launched Hillcrest Auctions in May 2018 on Route 45 near Wellsville, an indoor auction in a former grange building. Because of COVID guidelines he has had to operate on and off there for the past two years, sometimes holding the auction outside. McConaughy is licensed in Ohio and West Virginia and also conducts on-site auctions. He may be contacted at 330.420.5763.

The Sunday auction has made a nice addition to the many vendors and activities in the old school building, and attendance has been good despite the weather, according to Nixon. “My wife’s hooked on it,” he added.

The fire department assumed ownership of the old school building in 1991.

“We have bingo every Wednesday and Saturday at 6 p.m. There are some really nice shops in rooms of the old school.” Vendors offering general and specialized goods are mainly open Saturdays, and when weather permits the outdoor flea market will set up on school grounds, he said. Some flea market vendors may start opening Sundays and Fridays as well, he said. Fred Hulme and Bobbi Hockenberry rent gym space for dog training seven days a week, Nixon said.

Wells High School was built in 1926. A centennial celebration is planned four years from now.

Nixon may be contacted during operating hours at a house phone, 304.387.2300, or on his cell phone, 304.694.6481. Proceeds from bingo, food sales and facility rentals benefit the fire department.

McConaughy said the auction goes on until all consignments have been sold, usually three or four hours. He noted that the current trend of selling local items through online auctions has reduced the number of in-person auctions, which many people enjoy for their social and entertainment aspects.

“People really seem to like it,” he said. “Some come up and tell me, ‘I used to go to school here.'”


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