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Auctioneer buys former Andreas fire building

  • Auction house employees, from left, Butch Wetzel, Gladwin Groff, Dean Arner and Henry Kriner sell a vintage Heywood Wakefield wicker perambulator on Saturday. DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS
    Auction house employees, from left, Butch Wetzel, Gladwin Groff, Dean Arner and Henry Kriner sell a vintage Heywood Wakefield wicker perambulator on Saturday. DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS
Published October 19. 2015 04:37PM

After growing up working the auction business at various locations, a local auctioneer and his gavel have found a new home.

Dean R. Arner Auctioneer LLC has acquired the former Andreas Volunteer Fire Company building, now up and running in what has been rechristened the Andreas Station House at 42 Andreas Road, Andreas.

The building, built as a firehouse in 1968, was in use as an active fire station until 2010.

In November of the following year, it was turned into an auto storage facility by businessman Lee Miller, a function it served for the next four years.

In August, Dean Arner and wife Andrea, along with Bob and Loretta Gilfert, joined together and formed West Penn Partners LLC, the entity that purchased the property from Miller for $110,000, according to courthouse records.

The four then went to work in overhauling the interior, repurposing it as a facility to not only host auctions, but banquets, receptions, parties and funeral dinners.

The transformation took a few months, said Bob Gilfert.

"We started with painting and cleaning up, fixing pipes and the heating system."

Gilfert of West Penn Township serves as facility manager.

For many years, Dean R. Arner Auctioneer was based at the nearby Andreas Sporting Club.

But Arner said gaining a permanent base of operation has given the business a boost.

"We're having more sales than we ever did," he remarked as he set up the sound system for a Saturday's sale. "We have five sales this week alone."

The complex includes a large kitchen and rear storage area. The main floor can hold 110 seats, and parking is available for at least 200 cars.

"The neighbors are saying that this place has become an asset to the whole community," said Loretta Gilfert, Andrea Arner's mother.

Some bidders said they routinely travel a distance in order to attend auctions at the Schuylkill County site.

"I like the jewelry," said bidder Doris Walker of Easton, accompanied by Debra David of Wind Gap.

Dean Arner serves as head auctioneer, having been introduced into the business in childhood by his late father Robert A. Arner. He has been operating his own company since 2009, conducting more than 100 sales a year.

The firm specializes in real estate, antiques, farm equipment, firearms, quality household goods and more, serving Schuylkill, Carbon, Lehigh and surrounding counties.

For more information about Dean R. Arner Auctioneer or the Andreas Station House: 570-818-4455.

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