CRESTVIEW — The auctioneer's staccato trill, the bang of the gavel and the familiar cry, "Sold to the highest bidder" have arrived in Crestview with the opening of Anything Pawn and Auction.
Located in what for 70 or more years was a succession of Chevrolet dealerships on West James Lee Boulevard, the vast building has had a major facelift, with its exterior brick cleaned and wood trim added.
In the refurbished former car showroom, glittering showcases display materials for sale.
Flat-screen TVs, classic "one-armed bandit" slot machines, guns, swords, china, crystal, jewelry and a brace of cannon indicate the higher-end caliber of goods offered.
During the April 13 Flea Across Florida on U.S. Highway 90 from Jacksonville to Pensacola, the building's parking lot was the site of a bustling flea market.
"It's a flea market, auction house and pawn shop all in one place," sales clerk Ricky Youngblood said. "We have food, too."
Sweet Southern Comfort, a mobile eatery offering southern cuisine, sits near James Lee Boulevard in front of what was originally Award Chevrolet's used car office and later, the News Bulletin's editorial offices.
Today the building houses a gunsmith’s shop that repairs weapons for law enforcement agencies and private owners.
Inside the cavernous former auto repair shed, comfortable theatrical-style seating is lined up facing the auction block.
Near the flip-up chairs, appraisers pore over antique furniture and vehicles in preparation for auctions held every first and third Saturday of the month.
Ever since Gerlach Motors leveled the land and built one of the city's earliest car dealerships in the 1930s, the building has been a local landmark. Today it has assumed a whole new life.
A 1940s, authentically restored World War II Willy's Jeep offered for sale on the site seems right at home.
Want to go?
Anything Pawn and Auction and Sweet Southern Comfort mobile food trailer are at 297 W. James Lee Blvd. Call 885-9932 for information.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.