Restaurant auctioneers, equipment liquidators notice uptick in business in the Triad during pandemic


RANDLEMAN, N.C. — As restaurants around the state announce closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurant auctioneers and equipment liquidators say they’ve noticed an uptick in business.

“We get phone calls every day from people wanting to know their options,” said Randy Wester, CEO of Wester Auction and Realty.

Wester explained that approximately 30% of the company’s auctions over the past year were related to COVID-19 closures.

“We’re holding on better than I thought we would. I thought by this time we’d be in disaster mode,” he said Tuesday.

At Steve’s Stash Restaurant Equipment in Randleman, Steve Chiellini points out long rows of equipment in a 12,000 square foot warehouse.

“Everybody is really trying to hang on,” Chiellini said.

He explained that he’s worked with several chain restaurants closing or downsizing, and other restaurants pivoting their focus.

“A lot of fine dining equipment…people have fine dining. They’re scaling back to the home cooking styles,” he said.

Wester said despite prolonged restrictions statewide, plenty of businesses have been able to hold on.

“I would assume, by this time, that we would have been doing bars. Liquidating bars. That has not been the case,” he said.

He said that while auctioneers profit from liquidation, they hope restaurants continue surviving the pandemic.

“We’re pulling for them. We want them to make it. We really do. We’ve got plenty of work, and we really want them to make it,” Wester said.

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