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Park and sell lot offers central spot for buyers, sellers

New business draws Auburnite out of retirement — again
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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A new car lot in Auburn is offering a unique take on vehicle sales. Owner Hal Payne, a longtime resident, isn’t selling anything personally. He’s simply renting spaces to owners who want to sell their cars, boats or mobile homes. “It means you bring your car here, you park it here and we’ll show it,” Payne explained. “But the buyer and seller deal directly with each other. We don’t have any sales people here.” Payne’s father purchased the property in 1960. Since then it has been the site of a number of businesses, most recently California Auto Sales, which relocated to Downtown in January. When it became vacant again, Payne decided to launch the space-rental car lot — something he’s thought about doing for a long time. “I got the idea in Reno in 1956,” he said. “It’s kind of an old trend. There’s one in Sacramento, one in Lodi and numerous ones in Texas and Oklahoma.” For now, as he works to fill the lot, he’s charging $20 for 20 days per car. Once the business is established, he plans to raise the price. And he’s emphatic that it’s just a space rental. “That’s it,” he said. “I don’t get a commission. I’m not going to tell (visitors) anything about the car. The information (the seller) gives goes on the window and the seller deals with it. All those people who used to park their cars (around town) with for-sale signs on them, it’s a place to put their cars now.” He also lists the cars on a website. Currently the site lists 12 vehicles, among them a boat, short-bed camper and two full-size camping trailers. The boat sold within a week, he said. Alta Sierra resident Keith Cook put his RV in the lot and sold it within a week, too, he said. That was after having it listed for a while on Craigslist. “(From Craigslist) I got calls from people who didn’t follow through,” he said. The calls also came from companies that wanted to consign the vehicle. Then Cook received a call from Payne. “My wife and I cleaned up the RV and brought it down to the lot a week ago Sunday evening,” he said. “We paid for rental fee. Then by Thursday or Friday we had calls. We had a showing on Saturday and sold it Sunday. I’m very pleased with the program.” In addition to having the RV in a visible location and listed on the Web, he cites pricing it correctly as a factor in getting a quick sale. “I checked with several sources and checked the book and RV dealers to come up with a price,” he said. “In today’s market, people are very discerning about how they spend their dollars.” Payne, 78, plans to turn over the new business to his two daughters, Barbara Silva and Dorene Kidd, once it is on solid footing. Then so he can get back to what he enjoys most — fishing. He moved to Auburn in 1958 after purchasing a Richfield gas station in Downtown. In the early 1960s he started Ross Rents, a tool rental company, at 1449 Grass Valley Highway, across the street from his current location. “At that time, everything in Auburn closed at noon on Saturdays, so customers would call me to see if I had cement or other products,” Payne said. “If I got a call about the same product three times in a year, I’d add it to the inventory.” The business grew and became Ross Lumber and Building Supply. Ross was his father’s middle name, Payne said. He has bought and sold various businesses since then, and “retired a number of times.” Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. -------------------------------- Auburn Park and Sell Where: 1440 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn Hours: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Telephone: (530) 823-0900 Website: auburnparkandsell.com