After working in construction for 20 years, including as a union carpenter, the work finally dried up with the recession in 2010, said Cory Ellis, owner of Sound Auction Service.
That set the former construction worker on a new path, which found him buying items and reselling them at Olympia Weekend Flea Market. He did that for three years, eventually discovering the world of auctions and helping out at an auction house in Shelton.
That set him on another career path. He went to the Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in North Carolina and took over the Shelton business in March.
Students learn bookkeeping, marketing, legal aspects and technology trends, according to the website.
The Shelton lease expired and Ellis, 46, moved the business to Thurston County.
“There are more buyers and sellers and it’s a lot closer to home,” said Ellis, who lives off Sleater-Kinney Road Northeast.
Meanwhile, Sound Auction Service has occupied warehouse space off 12th Avenue in Lacey.
That is where bidders attend his auctions, occupying chairs or sofas to take part in live or online auctions. Those who want to access the online auction platforms do so through the Sound Auction Service website, he said.
Ellis said he sells everything from antiques, collectibles and art to housewares, electronics and tools. He sells individual items for people or an estate collection for a family, for example. He does on-site auctions and hopes to one day do benefit auctions, helping nonprofits and charities raise money for various causes.
Everything is sold by consignment, with Sound Auction Service typically collecting 30 percent of the sale, although it can be less if it is a higher-value item, he said.
“It all depends on the value, size and quality,” said Ellis about how he determines a consignment percentage.
His big-ticket item has been selling a used Hyundai for $3,500. But his auction set for Jan. 30 could top that in total value. That is when he will be selling jewelry and electronics, including a plasma TV and a Jules Jurgensen 14-karat-gold men’s watch, he said.
Sound Auction Service
Owner: Cory Ellis
Location: 3940 12th Ave. SE Lacey, WA
Type of business: Auction house. It is a not a store, Ellis said.
Years in business: New. Opened a year ago.
Hours: Auctions are 11 a.m. every Saturday. They last until about 3 p.m., Ellis said.
Employees: Joseph Nelson. Ellis also has friends and family help out on auction days.
Did you know? Before the auction business, Ellis worked in construction for 20 years, including as a union carpenter. He helped build Lacey City Hall, he said.