Ken and Sylvia Robinson of Goodyear came to check out the cars at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, but they went home with a $250 table-top jukebox. There are 1,100 vehicles for sale this week at the auto extravaganza sprawled throughout WestWorld, 16601 N. Pima Road, in Scottsdale.
But nearly 400 vendors selling everything from $10 sandwiches to $1 million condos offer plenty of other shopping options.
“We come for the cars, but we always buy something,” Ken Robinson, a collector car owner, said.
The priciest cars and the biggest spenders are expected to show up today at the weeklong event.
Those hawking neon signs and giant bronze sculptures hope the car lovers and those along for the ride will buy lots of other stuff too. The booths take up about half the auction tent space and spill out onto the pavement surrounding the car staging area and the polo fields where the hundreds of collector cars are available for up-close viewing before they go onto the block.
The vendor wares include gourmet grub and designer duds, neon signs and herbal cures. You can buy a Rolex watch, an 8-foot sculpture of a grizzly bear or a lamp made of rock salt that claims to heal wounds and relieve asthma symptoms.
Mandy Ballor, who sells imported women’s clothing and accessories at Dolce Boutique at Gainey Village in Scottsdale, set up a miniversion of her shop in the Lifestyle Pavilion. The exclusive area requires an extra entry fee but keeps posh auctiongoers away from the massive crowds. Ballor said sales started out slow, but she is hoping the weekend’s big spenders will spend time and money on her goods.
“People who come to the Lifestyle Pavilion can afford this,” she said. “While the men are buying the cars, the wives are shopping, looking at clothes.”
Joy Stephens of Paradise Valley Antiques & Furnishings also opted for a Lifestyle Pavilion slot. She filled it with big armoires, silver tea sets and pricey furniture and artworks.
So far, she has only sold a $200 African mask. But several people said they plan to come back during the weekend, and two are interested in her $82,500 petrified wood table, Stephens said Friday. “I think we’ll sell that over the weekend,” she said. “I’m hoping for a few big sales and a lot of future business.”
In the humongous, flagdraped main tent where more people crowded into the side stores than into the auction area, several vendors said sales have been brisk since the show’s start-up Sunday.
The Starabilias booth is regularly packed with people eyeing autographed goods. Craig Zetena, who has brought his collection of celebrity collectibles to Barrett-Jackson for four years, sold a Jimmy Buffet guitar for $11,500, the “Seinfeld” Soup Nazi Bowl signed by the cast for $9,000, and a Johnny Deppautographed Pirates of the Caribbean poster for $1,300.
And he has three parties bidding for a couple of flags that adorned the White House Oval Office during the Richard Nixon years — priced at $200,000 for the pair. Last year Zetena sold about $700,000 worth of memorabilia at Barrett-Jackson, he said. “And we’re on a good pace to do as good or better this year,” he said.
Sandy Peterson’s California-based business Just for Fun restores and sells vintage items from gas pumps to strong boxes. She sold a pair of old barber chairs for $11,000, a Pepsi chest for $5,500 and several Sunkist juicers for $285.
Peterson also is a Barrett-Jackson regular. She has been carving out space at the auction for eight years. Last year she sold 80 percent of the items she brought along, she said.
Ruth McLeod has been selling her Patchwork Pig boutique wear at the auction for almost as long — seven years. “I have regular customers who come back every year,” she said. “Lots of Canadians. We’ve become friends. Many are women tired of looking at the cars. If he’s spending $100,000 on a car, she can spend $100 on a sweater.”
Even the dedicated car buyers like to take a break and shop for other things. Registered bidder Yvette VanDer-Brink of Minnesota was on the prowl for sweaters.
“I’m looking to pick up something warm to wear,” she said. “I’m freezing. I was anticipating it being in the 70s here.”
BARRETT-JACKSON COLLECTOR CAR AUCTION Catalog cover car: 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special
Dates: Today and Sunday
Location: WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale
Phone: (480) 421-6694
Web site: www.barrettjackson.com
RUSSO AND STEELE AUCTION Catalog cover car: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS-454
Dates: Today and Sunday
Location: 18601 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Phone: (602) 252-2697
Web site: www.russoandsteele.com
SILVER COLLECTOR CAR AUCTION Catalog cover car: 1954 Jaguar XK120
Dates: Today through Monday
Location: Fort McDowell Casino, 10438 N. Fort McDowell Road, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
Phone: (800) 255-4485
Web site: www.silverauctions.com
KRUSE INTERNATIONAL COLLECTOR CAR AUCTION AND SHOW Catalog cover car: 1931 Stutz SV-16 Cabriolet Coupe
Dates: Thursday through Jan. 29
Location: Phoenix International Raceway, 7602 S. Avondale Blvd., Avondale
Phone: (800) 968-4444
Web site: www.kruse.com