"People set the prices." Local auction business surviving pandemic, celebrates 30 years

phoebus auction gallery.jpg
Posted at 8:35 AM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 12:41:54-04

HAMPTON, Va. - Let's start the bidding at in years.

This year marks a big anniversary for a Phoebus neighborhood business unlike any other, not only because of the items inside, but the people who come in.

Phoebus Auction Gallery opened in 1992 on Mellen Street.

John Moyer began frequenting the business 11 years ago.

"The greatest thing I look forward to every month is my auctions," Moyer told News 3 at the gallery's most recent auction on Sunday.

Gail Wolpin owns the place and has served as auctioneer since the beginning. She says she's constantly getting in new inventory, from furniture to decorative pieces to one-of-a-kind items you can't find anywhere else.

"Waterford crystal, Lenox. The higher priced items, which I get a good buy on, [my wife and I] give as gifts," said Moyer. "I'm up for buying almost anything."

Wolpin says for the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person auctions went away in favor of virtual bidding, which she'd already had as an option for several years.

She gradually began bringing people back, but Wolpin tells News 3 business was down around 40 percent the last two years.

She's hoping the current state of the economy will open more eyes to auctions.

"Everything now, all prices are going up," said Wolpin. "Not here because people set the prices. They can bid what they want."

Wolpin plans to celebrate her people and her business with a 30th anniversary event around Memorial Day weekend.