Maple Grove business steps in when restaurants close
When an area restaurant closes or a new one opens up, it presents an opportunity for longtime Maple Grove business Auction Masters.

Greg Christian is not a restaurant owner, but he does know how difficult it is to make a restaurant work.

"We know the majority of anybody that goes into a restaurant business is not going to make it, but the good news for us is there is always someone else that will come in and wants to do the restaurant business," said Christian, owner of Auction Masters.

At the business warehouse in Maple Grove, 20 truckloads worth of used restaurant equipment are up for sale through Tuesday evening. And at this auction, there's no need for a fast-talking auctioneer.

"It used to be a live auction, but for the last 12 years, it's all online. No more yakety, yak around here," said Christian with a smile.

Christian and his wife, Sharon, have owned Auction Masters since the 1980s, and auctioning off restaurant equipment is their bread and butter.

"We take a percentage, and the owner gets the majority of what that item sells for," said Christian. "You're going to be able to buy things for 25 cents to 50 cents on the dollar."

From old restaurant signs to refrigeration units, and everything in between, there's always a new person eager to pick up and start where another restaurant owner has stopped. In recent years, Auction Masters has helped liquidate restaurants such as Toby Keith's in St. Louis Park and Tryg's in Uptown, but none have been quite like the online auction for Nye's Polanaise Room in Minneapolis.

"It had such popularity. And the prices were nuts. We never saw anything like it, we had bar stools that went for $450, I mean, wow, because of that nostalgia," said Christian.

It's not always a restaurant closing that brings in goods, sometimes it's just a kitchen dish change or upgrade.
Still, it's the natural ebb and flow of area restaurants, that keeps Auction Masters in business.

"We've got a very steady business," said Christian.

Alexandra Renslo reporting
Twitter: @alexrenslo

September 18, 2017


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