WEIRTON - Saving money doesn't have to be boring.
Fact is, there's a way you can save money, pick up items you need for yourself or to give as gifts and still have a fun night out.
"You're not going to beat the deals you get here," said Mary Little, co-owner of A&M Auctions, 1900 Pennsylvania Ave. "It's a blast."
DOING BUSINESS — A&M Auctions, 1900 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, offers a range of quality items at hard-to-resist prices. Owners Areltta Salko, left, and Mary Little purchase items by the truckload from some of the televised shop-from-home networks and then sell them at auction. The next auction is Saturday. -- Linda Harris
A&M sells everything from clothing, jewelry, purses, shoes and boots to designer housewares, including the popular Temptations cookware, stoneware, humidifiers, cameras, flatscreen TVs, craft tools, crystal, Dyson sweepers, exercise equipment, luggage, NFL merchandise, fans, paninni pressers, bluetooth keyboards, rice steamers, mini-flatscreens and even outdoor yard decor, all purchased by the truckload from televised shop-from-home networks.
It's all brand-name, quality merchandise, but since it's purchased by the truckload from the shop-from-home networks, Little and her cousin, Arletta Salko, can pass on the savings to their customers at auction.
"We buy their products by the truckload, get them for very reasonable prices that we can pass on to our customers," Little said. "It's just a fun night out - people see something they want to bid on, and the high bidder gets the product."
Little said she'd been a regular at similar auctions in Charleston. "They were selling quality items at auctions like this for unbelievable prices," she said. "These aren't knockoffs, they're the real thing."
The cousins decided to join forces at a family function, when they started talking about what a great time Little had had at similar auctions she'd attended in Charleston.
"We never know what we're going to have at auction," she adds. "It's a unique, one-of-a-kind opportunity, unique to this area. It's addicting, and it's a lot of fun."
Little said she can choose the lots they purchase, but beyond that they have no control over what's on the truck. "You take what you get. We never know what is going to come in."
Highest bidder wins. She said she's noticed that once people try it "they're bound to come back, and when they come back they bring friends."
"The deals you get, that's the big thing," she said. "You're not going to get any of this for any less."
It works like a traditional auction: They've enlisted the services of Benny Parr, licensed as an auctioneer in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. While Parr is selling one item, floor runners bring the next out so the crowd can see what's coming up. They typically go through 200 items a night.
Little and Salko said it's early going, but they're already getting positive buzz. They're planning a toy auction in time for Christmas, and are looking at the possibility of bringing in items that would appeal to male shoppers, too, like tools.
"People are talking about their purchases, they're happy with them and coming back," Little said. "And when you have good word-of-mouth in the business world, you'll succeed."
Auctions are held every other week at their storefront, located in the old J&J Pontiac building on Pennsylvania Avenue. Auctions start at 5 p.m., but the doors open at 4 p.m. so first-time bidders can register and returning customers can check in. Refreshments are available.
The next auction will be Aug. 25.