Healthy Auction Translates To More Profits For Auburn Retailers And Service Industry

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 3, 2010 Updated Sep 3, 2010 at 5:37 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Hotels, restaurants and other retailers in the Auburn area are celebrating the fact that the classic car auction is thriving once again this Labor Day weekend.

Two months ago, the future of the event was very much up in the air.

Long-time organizer Dean Kruse spent the early part of 2010 defending himself against multiple lawsuits for failing to pay money owed to dozens of car consignors.

His auctioneer's license was eventually revoked, and it appeared that the auction, which draws thousands of people to the area, might not even happen.

What a difference a couple of months can make.

Respected auction company RM Auctions from Canada sailed in and bought the auction park from Kruse, and put the event back on solid footing.

In late June, lots of Auburn hotels were way behind in booking Labor Day weekend reservations.

A representative from the Days Inn says her business has no vacancies for Friday and Saturday, and that virtually all 430 hotel rooms in town are spoken for.

Jill Kaylor/Days Inn Auburn: " We would have rooms but nothing like what we have now. This is a good boost for our year."

Mayor Norm Yoder/(R) Auburn: " We're going to have a better weekend than we've ever had. So far, the events have all had record attendance. I've had calls to say we're glad it all worked out, so, they are breathing a sigh of relief and we look forward to growing it from here to another level."

Restaurants are also excited about the auction rising from the ashes.

The owner of Sandra D's, an Italian restaurant near the auction museum, says the eatery serves about 300 customers in a normal week, but more like 600 this week, and she gives the auction much of the credit for that increased business.

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