As one of the true pioneers of the auction industry, Akron Auto Auction was founded at the close of World War II, in 1945, by Reily Jerrel, Gordon Phillips and Roy Gray. The original auction was opened as an expanded gas station on East Avenue in Akron, where it operated successfully until 1966, when it was moved to a pair of spacious Quonset Huts on West Waterloo Road and sold to Jim Fisher. Fisher operated Akron Auto Auction until 1973, and then sold the auction to five partners -- Jerry Hall, Gene Campbell, Don Bailey, Gary Linsted, and Bill Janes. The partners already owned two other Ohio Auctions -- the Canfield Auto Auction and Cuyahoga Auto Auction, but consolidated their efforts and combined expertise in Akron Auto Auction.
The auction soon outgrew the Waterloo location and a six-acre site was bought on Ley Drive in Akron for a new three-lane facility, which opened in April 1979. At the same time, Jerry Hall sold his interest and became a fundraiser for Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary. Business kept booming and two additional lanes were added in 1984. At that time, Bill James sold his interest in the business and Jeff Bailey, then general manager, joined the partnership.
Further acquisitions of nearby property and buildings continued the business's expansion. In 1993, another addition was built, more than doubling the size of the original auction. In 1994, Don Bailey retired from presidency of Akron Auto Auction and was succeeded by Jeff Bailey. Gene Campbell is vice-president and Gary Linsted serves as secretary/treasurer.
That brought us to 1999 where Jeff's nephew, Chad M. Bailey, came on board in a part-time fashion upon returning to Ohio from Florida where he obtained his MBA. What started out as just helping here and there has turned into a love affair which has landed him the role of General Manager.
Today, Akron Auto Auction runs six lanes with four separate buildings on about 30 acres. The auction operates a 125-seat cafeteria, a registration tunnel, one central office with several smaller office buildings, a reconditioning shop and repossession office and garage. The auction also operates an internal Floor Plan with well over 150+ dealers on board, which is run by Joel Hamsher & Jennifer Schumacher. Each Tuesday, a 1200-car dealer consignment goes under the gavel at Akron Auto Auction, as well as a bank repossession sale of 150 vehicles weekly which is run by Mike Waseity.
Employment has grown from 27 employees in 1973 to over 230 in 2016. Currently, the auction has three owners-- Chad Bailey, Tricia Short, and Joel Hamsher. The employee-friendly Akron Auto Auction likes to think of itself as a "family", and in fact, two employees were married at the auction. During one anniversary sale, a pony was given away as a prize, and the dealer that won it promptly rode it about the lot. With the third generation of family running the business, it is safe to say that the Akron Auto Auction really treats their customers as though they were family!