ROCHELLE — A family owned rural business is planting new roots in Rochelle.
The Chana Auction Barn, a staple for over 50 years, is set to open next Tuesday in the May Mart shopping center and even though the location is changing, everything else is the same.
Melissa Clack, who oversees everything from the auctioneers to the staff and customer service, said her family-run business is still offering a wide variety of items for auction including poultry and small animals, along with seasonal produce and flowers.
It also includes household items, antiques, collectibles, and vintage items to lawnmowers, bicycles, and everything in between.
“It will be the same items we offered at the farmland… from eggs to antiques,” Clack said. “There will be the same auctioneers, same staff, same setup, same numbers. We used to have five rings, now we will have three rings, but that’s still a lot. Business as usual…nothing’s changing, just out of the mud.”
The types of poultry that will be available for auction is what Clack describes as “birds of any feather,” along with small animals such as rabbits or guinea pigs.
For now, the family intends to keep the auction to Tuesdays, but plans to add on a Friday evening and possibly a weekend each month.
Clack said anyone may sell their items at the Chana Auction Barn. She explained whether a person is buying or selling, staff assigns the person a number. Anything that is brought in to sell as well as buyers will be directly tied to that number.
“We give you a space to set up your items and whatever doesn’t sell by the end of the auction you will take home,” Clack said. “At the end of the day, as long as everything is cleaned up we will give you a check for what you sold that day. It could be a couple boxes, a trunk load, or a full trailer.”
Sellers and buyers are more than welcome to stop by on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., whether to set up or look around and see what is being offered at the auction.
“We also take pictures and post them to our Facebook page so people get a good idea of what’s for sale,” Clack said. “In the morning on the day of the auction we start the preview at 7. That’s when folks can bring animals.”
The auction begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday and usually lasts until about 3 p.m. that same day.
Clack said the cost to feature items in the auction generally comes up to 25 percent, with a sliding scale for hay and animals. There might be a special commission percentage, she says, depending on if it’s a specialty auction.
“The move is positive, it helps to fill the empty space there and those coming to the auction will frequent local establishments,” said Kip Countryman, Rochelle Building and Zoning Inspector. “If the business has been in operation for 50 years, they must get a lot of traffic.”
Clack, along with her parents Kalvin and Michelle Boewe and brother Nathan Boewe, have owned the business for the last eight years. Clack admits the move is something the family had wanted to do for some time — the rural farm location was hard to keep heated during the winter months. And the mud, at times, made things difficult for visitors.
The move became imminent after the family learned the property owner decided to use the land differently; therefore, the lease was not renegotiable.
The rural farm property had also been a drop-off facility in the days and weeks following the April 2015 tornado that hit the Rochelle area. Clack said the barn was the place for people to bring donations of clothing, household items, food, water, furniture, and appliances.
“Anybody that was affected by the tornado was able to come out and load up what they needed and take to their new or temporary residence. Just the outpouring of generosity and volunteers from Rochelle…the heart of the community coming around everybody warmed our hearts,” Clack said. “We figure our new location in Rochelle is the right fit, the right opportunity, and at the right time. We definitely want to be good neighbors and reach out to the community for anything we can help with.”
For more information, please contact 815-222-7001. The Chana Auction Barn is located at 130 May Mart Drive, just West of Turkington Terrace.