Christmas every day at a Bostwick Auction
You could say auctioneering is in Laurie Bostwick's blood. Her grandparents were holding barn dances in Brockport, N.Y. back in the 1940s when they were approached about holding an auction. They continued to dabble in auctions; Laurie's father John Miller growing up in the business. Miller eventually opened his own auction hall in Waverly, N.Y.
Laurie's father died when she was only 19 years old, but not before her future was set. She had met her husband Pat Bostwick when she was 13, and Laurie had grown up in the auction business as her father did. Bostwick recalled meeting her husband during a disco dance at Fraley's Auction in Waverly back in 1977.
"We were anything but interested in the auction," Bostwick laughed.
Following her father's death, Laurie said she and Pat traveled the country working for anybody they could in the business. "It was a great and exciting way of life," Laurie Bostwick said.
In 1994, Bostwick decided to attend auctioneering school in Ohio, where she learned the craft of the caller herself. "It can be intimidating to get up in front of people and auction," she said, "intimidating and exhilarating."
She and Pat moved back to Tioga County and began their auction business with a single estate auction in the Cannonhole neighborhood of Barton, N.Y. By 1999, they had enough money to buy the land which is home to Bostwick Auctions, at 1121 Rte. 96 in Candor, N.Y. The facility opened to the public in 2000, and the Bostwicks haven't looked back yet.
Bostwick said she and her husband were making a good living, but found something missing. She was led to Christ, and found new meaning and purpose in her life through her faith. "We used to hold auctions on Sundays, but we moved them to Friday after I came to know the Lord," Bostwick said.
The success and professionalism of Bostwick Auctions led to the recognition as Auctioneer of the Year for 2013 by the New York State Auctioneers Association (NYSAA). Bostwick also serves as Vice President of the NYSAA, and will advance to President next year.
If you've ever watched the popular PBS series Antique Roadshow, or the current reality series American Pickers on the History Channel, you only need go to Bostwick's on a Friday afternoon to experience some of the excitement and drama of a live auction. A pet friendly family affair, many people from all over come to the auction hall for their weekly night out. Food is provided in ample portions by a kitchen run by Kim and Kerry Root.
The auctions start a 4 p.m., with simultaneous auctions held in a smaller barn behind the main auction hall. During those auctions a buyer can find treasures that might need a little work, or tools and recent household furnishings from stereos to rugs to kitchen appliances. Perhaps the most amazing thing to realize at Bostwick's is that everything you see when you walk in will only be there until the end of the auction's pickup deadline of Tuesday. By then the barn and hall are filling up with literally thousands of items for that Friday's auction.
Several special event auctions are coming up, including the famous 'Three Ring Circus' auction on April 20 at 4 p.m. It's the 16th year for the Three Ring Circus, named for the three auctions held: General Estate, Guy Junque (tools, cars etc.), and Architectural and Gardening. Bostwick said 1,500 to 2,000 people show up for the event held on the third Saturday each April. And there's also a chicken barbecue; last year 375 half chickens were cooked and they ran out before everyone was served.
The Bostwicks pride themselves on the family atmosphere of their business. Longtime employee David Pantle said everyone gets along, and he loves working at Bostwick's. Liz Hatton is also a full-time auction staffer, and agreed that she loves her job.
"The past six years have flown by," Hatton said, referring to her tenure at Bostwick's. "Every day it's like Christmas, there's a real buzz in the air. It's my night out every week," Hatton added.
Bostwick Auctions can be found online at bostwickauctions.com, where several pictures of items available in the upcoming auction can be found. There are also several galleries of pictures from Bostwick's friends, family, and auctions on the website. They can be reached by phone at (607) 659-4842, and will come to pick up items you may have and wish to get out of your house or garage. "We make their stuff go away," Bostwick said with a smile.