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No bids for furniture store

auction canceled

March 24, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- With no bidders, an auction for the Davids Furniture & Interiors building was canceled Tuesday.

Two people showed up, but neither would bid at least $575,000, the minimum price, said Tom Bikle, director of real estate and marketing for J.G. Cochran Auctioneers & Associates.

Instead, one of the two - Vincent Groh - sat and chatted with Davids President Michael Martin and CEO David Martin in the store's showroom at 117 Summit Ave. They agreed to talk more.

Groh said he had no specific use in mind for the building, but joked that it might make a good church.

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"Some you hold for a long, long time," he said.

Last month, the Martins decided they'd close the Hagerstown store, a year and a half after buying it from Maidstone Interiors for $650,000.

Maidstone Interiors was in business for 73 years.

The 27,000-square-foot building was appraised this year at $890,000, Michael Martin has said.

"I had no idea going into it what would happen," he said after the auction was called off.

A year after Davids bought Maidstone Interiors, the store wasn't doing well, so the owners talked about moving elsewhere in Hagerstown, Michael Martin has said. Instead, they decided to close the building and sell it.

Last week, an attempt to sell the Hagerstown Cinema 10 property on Leitersburg Pike by auction also fell flat.

The 36,233-square-foot movie theater and 18.86 acres were assessed at $3.9 million. No one tried to buy the property, which required a minimum bid of $995,000.

Bikle said the Davids auction would be a "tough sale." Some people asked about the building but weren't sure what they would do with it, he said.

Groh, who owns or has owned several downtown buildings, would only commit to being a possible buyer.

"I have no money," he quipped.

Groh said he had his eye on the building years ago, before Maidstone bought it.

Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records show that George W. Downin sold the building to Maidstone in 1983 for $115,000.

Michael Martin said the Hagerstown store will stay open until its inventory is sold.

Davids Furniture & Interiors also has stores in Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The same furniture store owners bought Griffith & Bixler Furniture & Interiors in Reading, Pa., in September 2007. That store also is scheduled to close. Michael Martin said there is a potential buyer for that property.

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