Barry Bailiff is not the kind of guy to keep people locked behind bars, as his name might imply. Instead, he focuses his energies on what’s behind lockers. He has maintained a subscription to StorageUnitAuctionList.com despite leaving his family in a wintery world of work in Wisconsin for a transfer to the beautiful summers of Beaufort, South Carolina, and has been enjoying a revelation of storage hunting success in his new home that he might never have thought possible.
I caught him in the middle of a lawn mowing war between he and his neighbor, so he gracefully unclasps the safety, let the engine die, and begins to unweave his story of making sacrifice for a payoff.
Barry grew up in Seminole, Texas, a place known for birthing a iconic country singers Larry Gatlin and Tanya Tucker. His father was in the telephone business, the trade followed by himself and four out of five brothers soon after.
When he first moved, it was a dramatic one, raising his children in a town just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Before the auction hunting television programs even hit the airways, his children were already practicing the art of storage flipping, even in a state not particularly known for having robust, plentiful storage lockers. It was here, where auctions were slim, that Barry set his kids up with a storageunitauctionlist.com account to maximize their ability to locate facilities.
Acting as an overseer to their auction experience, he soon found that, to his disappointment, that the procedures in Wisconsin were not the way they were conducted on the hit shows that he followed. In Wisconsin, “piece auctions” were abound, whereby the auctioneer pulls single pieces from a unit and auctions them off individually.
“In Wisconsin,” he explains, “the owner of the place goes in, pieces parts it out, then brings something out and says ‘we’re going to auction this microwave’ off. I used storage auction list to find fifteen different ones (Wisconsin auctions), but they were all the same. You could never find your treasure, so to speak.”
This grim reality kept him and his family from the “diamond in the rough” possibility or the wide range of resale opportunities one gets to enjoy from winning the whole locker.
Southwestern Bell phone company moved Barry again, but this time, to an auction hunting paradise of Beaufort, South Carolina, a small beach town in the cradle of Hilton Head Island, Savanna Georgia, and not too far away, Myrtle Beach. And without his family, Barry, a thirty year professional at the age of 52, had to get a roommate. That roommate was twenty five year old Seth Tucker, a full time auction hunter, who pepped up Barry’s auction attending zest in a big way.
He lauds, “I’ll tell you, Seth’s the king man, he’s got a knack for it, and now I’m feeding off of him.”
Now excited, he describes to me a unit-laden, palmetto paradise, where you can’t even turn a corner without seeing a storage facility–where retirees who “winter” there ultimately leave the coast, sometimes nonchalantly leave their storage goodies behind.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, he confesses. The storage scene is rife with a flooded market phenomenon occurring because of the TV show blast. The Hilton Head, SC, an region crawling with money, can spike a ninety dollar unit up to two hundred and fifty with ease.
To deal with this, he embraces the maxim of “wait for a rainy day and keep the rookies away.” I refresh his memory about our new “Facility Weather Feature” of the new website which self-updates every two hours, so you always know when rain is on the horizon. He exclaims, “Why didn’t I think of that? I would have to jump up from work early if I saw something like that.”
I ask Barry what his most prolific unit purchase was, to which he had an immediate response. In Hilton Head, he reminisces, he and the young-blood Seth Tucker once gambled on a unit, seemingly just stacked with furniture. They sealed the deal with a two hundred and fifty dollar bid. In the rummage process, it took them awhile to wade through the furniture (a cedar chest, mint condition beds) and eventually stumbled on a golden find.
Before them was veritable sports shrine. It contained stacks of mint condition memorabilia belonging to Chuck Erlich, a once NCAA All-American football player at Purdue who went on to play for the “then” St. Louis Cardinals NFL team. The gear included a decorative plate, an authentic jersey, pants, a helmet with no facemask, and a collection of Chuck Erlich trading cards.
Just a day after their E-Bay posting, Barry and Seth were messaged by a buyer to “take it down,” because he wanted it badly. Twelve-hundred fifty dollars bad. On a roll with his riches, Barry continues to rant on about a three hundred fifty dollar Santa Claus figurine that he won for twenty five bucks, as well as a gold necklace, weighing over a pound, which he ultimately flipped for three-hundred dollars.
“It’s an addiction, I’ll tell you that, a total addiction…especially if you’ve had some luck,” our hunter surmises. But winding down a bit, he politely tells me that he needs to get back to his lawn mowing.
Sometimes, a small relocation can change your whole outlook on life. Although miles away from his family for now, Barry Bailiff has taken one consistent life thread, storage auction hunting, and discovered that new opportunity is always lurking for those willing to make sacrifices. He is a great testament to our industry because our business is all about sacrifice and backbreaking work, where sometimes, that diamond in the rough is just a plane ride away.
If you are a faithful subscriber to our services and have a storage unit saga of your own to share with our large readership, e-mail me at [email protected]. You just might be the next big thing we are looking for!
David Gross, SUAL.com Content Writer