BY MELANIE BUCK –
You could say that Farrell Cole was born with auctioneering in his blood. His father, Argle Cole, auctioned for more than 50 years, and now Farrell has caught up with him. After more than five decades in the business himself, Farrell has announced his retirement from auctioneering. “The auctions have been fun times through the years,” said Cole. “My dad started the business, and taught me that I could have a small business and make a little bit of money, if I didn’t have any other way to make money. He taught me to treat people right, and he always enjoyed the people.” Farrell began helping his father when he was around 18-years old and hasn’t stopped since.
Farrell’s wife Sharon has been at his side helping with the business throughout their 22 years of marriage. Around 2002 or 2003, together, they made it through their busiest year, holding 71 auctions in 11 months. “We had auctions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of most weeks, along with tending to our cattle and building our real estate business, too. We had prayed for God to bless us with work, so we just hung in there and worked,” said Farrell. They even worked on Sundays, going after church to list auctions and get them typed and ready for the paper on Mondays. “We don’t know how we got through that year, but we did.”
Through the decades, Cole Auctioneers has held auctions in the pouring rain, freezing sleet, and all day long in 100-degree weather. Farrell explained that auction-goers had to wait on them to arrive one day when they were flooded in, but, he said of their loyal customers, “they waited and they were still there when we got there.” Selling everything from airplanes to commercial Christmas trees to acres of slabs of marble and other stones, he added, “If you have good items to sell, people would come, and they’d bid good and pay top prices.”
Recalling his journey over the many years, and the changes that come with time, Farrell said, “We started out with a handshake instead of a contract, and receipt books instead of tickets, and from tickets to computer receipts. It’s been a good journey.” He also recalled a time when they would drive up and down the streets with a bullhorn to announce the next week’s auctions, an advertising scene that has since turned into local ads and flyers.
Farrell also recognizes the value he has in his crew. “I have to give credit to our crew, they’re the best, and they love our auctions.” Ves Parks has worked with the Coles for more than 30 years; Ray Savage and his wife, Shirley, worked concessions for 15 years; and daughter, Elena Cannon, has been their cashier since she was right out of high school. He added many other loyal workers through the years, such as Royce Steed and Sue Gordon, “who seemed like just part of us.”
With retirement, Farrell and Sharon have also sold the business to Kyle Todd, who Farrell said has helped him with auctioning for the past two or three years. Todd has purchased Farrell’s trailer and equipment and will change the name to K&D Auctions.
Farrell explained that even though he is retiring as auctioneer, they still have their real estate business, ReMax Mena, and more, to keep them busy. “Sharon and I would like to thank all of our loyal buyers and sellers for the enjoyment they’ve helped us have over the years. We appreciate them, and will miss them. It’s been a very bittersweet decision, but it’s time to slow down a little bit. We’re still in real estate full time and still have our farm and cattle, so we’ll still stay pretty busy.”
If you would like to join in the celebration of Farrell Cole’s retirement, a reception in his honor will be held Friday, August 21, from 2-4 p.m. at the ReMax Mena Real Estate office, 816 South Mena Street.