Businesses in Clare have welcomed the news of a regular auction returning to Suffolk's smallest town.
The West Suffolk town of Clare has a long tradition of auctions, with early accounts of livestock auctions being held in what is now the car park of the Bell Hotel. Fast forward a few hundred years and the cattle and sheep are gone and the auctions focus more on antiques, collectables and interiors.
Following the construction of the Town Hall in the early twentieth century, a regular auction became a feature of the town's calendar. Auctions continued in the Town Hall for decades until Dyson and Son auctioneers bought the motor dealership adjacent to the church and turned it into a dedicated auction house In the 1980s.
The auction continued from its dedicated site for another two decades before Mike Dyson retired and Mander Auctions took on the lease of the site. Some five years later the site was granted planning permission for housing development and Mander Auctions were forced to relocate away from Clare.
A New Auction for Clare
Fast forward two years to 2014 and two local business people are bringing a regular auction back to Clare. Robin Stone of Market Hill Antiques and Frank Harris of Harris & Harris Books have joined forces and pooled their relative expertise in antiques and business operations to form Clare Auction.
The first Clare Auction date has been set for 24th of May 2014 and will see the return of a regular auction to the Town Hall in Clare. There are a further three dates in 2014 and eleven auctions booked for 2015.
A Great Boost to the Town
The major motivation in bringing back an auction in Clare is the increase in footfall that can boost other businesses in the town. "Auction days always brought new faces to Clare" commented Robin Stone "Those people often returned on non-action days to spend more time in the wide variety of independent shops in the town".
The business community is delighted to see the auction returning to Clare and has raced to support the new venture. Frank Harris explained "We are hoping to bring up to 500 people to Clare Auction over the course of two days and we want local businesses to benefit as much as possible. We have developed low cost advertising opportunities exclusively for Clare Businesses and we are dedicating a whole section of our website to promoting Clare as a place to visit, stay, eat and shop".
The amazing level of support was demonstrated when the opportunity to advertise on the first auction catalogue was snapped up by local businesses. In fact, all of the advertising space was taken within 48 hours of being made available. "I was so happy to hear all of the positive comments from business owners in Clare" Frank remarked "It is good to know that we are doing a good thing for the town".
The Town that Reinvents Itself
Clare prides itself on being a working town, although sometimes overlooked by tourists making a beeline for the chocolate box preserved buildings of nearby Lavenham, Clare is steeped in its own history that has seen the town evolve and remain successful since medieval times.
Today, Clare is busy serving residents of the town and the surrounding villages and hamlets of West Suffolk. A blend of traditional shops, modern ideas and antiquities allows shoppers to find everything from bread, meat and veg to books, gifts, hardware and treasures. "Clare is a special place and we sincerely hope that Clare Auction can help it continue to prosper and develop as a model of a how a sustainable town should be in the 21st century" Frank concluded.
Open for Registration
The Clare Auction website is now up and running and prospective sellers and buyers are encouraged to register at clareauction.com. People wanting to enter lots must register as a seller and then complete a lot entry form. Lots for the first auction will be accepted between now and 17th May.
The first Clare Auction is on Saturday 24th May with viewing from 3pm the day before