From left, Kirk Vartanian and auctioneer Loren Schwartz listen to bids during an auction at Public Auction R Us in Madera. The owner, Amanda Vartanian, has opened an online-only auction targeted toward Fresno residents.
For those who enjoy the savings and the thrill of auction bidding, but would prefer to do it from the comfort and convenience of their home, then a new local company could be something that thrifty shoppers might want to check out.
One Cent Auction is an internet-only auction company based in Fresno that allows customers to bid online for new and used overstock and returned retail items from a smartphone or computer.
All bidding takes place online and the online auctions have a soft close, meaning that if any new bids are made within the last minute of a unit’s scheduled closing time, bidding will be extended by one minute to allow the previous bidder time to respond. Bidders can go pick up the items they won from an office suite on Shaw Avenue in Fresno.
One Cent Auction operates under Public Auction R Us, a public live auction house located in Madera that hosts live auctions, with 10 people employed between both companies.
Amanda Vartanian, a Central Valley native, founder and owner of Public Auction R Us, said she opened One Cent Auction to solely focus on online auction bidding for Fresno.
“We knew that Fresno didn’t actually have an online auction,” Vartanian said. “It makes it easy because people are looking at the products online and kind of know what they’re bidding on.”
Vartanian, a business and advertising graduate from Fresno State, said that she knew she wanted to start a business in Fresno, and though there were more auction houses in the Visalia area, she noticed the lack of public auction houses in the Clovis/Fresno/Madera area.
Public Auction R Us will be celebrating its fifth year in business this November, and while Vartanian didn’t expect to go into this business, she has certainly enjoyed the venture.
“It was kind of a ‘lets try it and see where it goes’ thing,” said Vartanian. “It’s been pretty amazing for the last 5 years. Its been taking off pretty good.”
Along with running the auction house in Madera, Vartanian has partnered with a public auction house in Bakersfield, and has franchises in Lancaster and Van Nuys, California.
The 5,000 square-foot Public Auction R Us foot warehouse in Madera sees about 500 live bidders each weekend, and 500 bidders online as well.
Maria S., a co-owner of Best Buy Auto Sales in Madera, say she has been bidding on items at Public Auction R Us for over a year and has bought thousands of dollars worth of items, and that she is satisfied with her purchases.
“It’s good, we’ve gotten a lot of good stuff here,” Maria said. “Usually what we get works well, and you save a lot of money over buying it from somewhere else.”
Vartanian says that she hopes to open up more locations and bring more deals to customers that you might not be able to get at all retail stores.
“I’m thinking of opening a location in Selma and kind of venturing out and getting people really good deals,” said Vartanian.
Public Auction R Us hosts a public live auction every Saturday and One Cent Auction has online-only auction days all week with auctions closing on Sunday.