Auctioneer Carla Harris calls on a bidder during the Emporia Storage Auction.

Bidders came from North Carolina, Smithfield, Virginia, and many were from right here in Emporia Greensville. It was similar to an atmosphere of a major sporting event, and excitement was in the air.

“I love being here. I’ve been waiting for it,” Jean Booth said. “I love to find the deals. I love to hear Carla (Harris) talk. There is nothing better than being at an auction.”

With 35 units up for bid, there was plenty to bid on Saturday at three Emporia Storage sites. The previous Emporia Storage Auction was in June.

A storage auction allows bidders to bid on the contents of a storage shed. They see the inside of a unit but cannot enter and physically go through the contents. The top bidder wins all the contents in the storage structure, and everyone moves on to the next unit for sale.

Emporia Storage owner Boyce Adams brings in a private auctioneer to sell the contents of delinquent units. The owners of the contents of the storage shed have ample opportunity to keep their stuff. Suppose the payment contract is not supported for four months. In that case, the delinquent owners are sent a certified letter letting them know they are delinquent on the contract.

Adams takes extra measures to allow the delinquent owners to keep the unit’s contents through a phone call, email, social media, and announcement in the newspaper of the scheduled auction. It’s a way for Adams to recover some of his losses from non-payment by customers.

Emporia Storage’s main office at 315 West Atlantic St. was the first site for Saturday’s auction. It moved to the 623 South Main St. site, followed by the East Atlantic St. Emporia Storage facilities near Georgia Pacific.

The exact number of delinquent units up for bid is not known until the day before the auction. Once the auction begins, the bidders don’t know what is inside until the storage bin doors open.

“The most interesting thing I’ve seen sold is one unit we opened up that had three 4-wheelers in it,” Adams said. “The highest-paid unit was $2,000 to $3,000. It looked like someone had an automotive shop in there. It was loaded with tools, supplies, and stuff like that.”

Davis Throckmorton came all the way from Smithfield to search for bargains. It was his first trip to Emporia for a storage auction.

The exciting vibe coming from the bidders had some assistance in the vibe coming from Harris as she bantered back and forth with the crowd. Harris is a veteran auctioneer. She’s worked real estate and fundraising auctions, but the storage auction is a different breed altogether.

“My absolute favorite is the storage auctions,” she said. “They are like what you see on Storage Wars on TV. You just never know what you are going to find.”