Then: Hundreds of people crammed inside Lightner’s Auction House at 220 S. Hastings Ave. every Thursday in search of bargains and collector’s items or just to soak in the atmosphere at Ed Lightner’s weekly consignment sale.
Now: The auction house and office building are still owned by the Lightner family and have been used sparingly over the past several years. Ed’s wife, Ruby (Rutt), and his daughter Vickie conducted garage sales in the building until 2007. Ruby passed away in 2008. Ed died April 7 at age 96.
The auction atmosphere that most people will remember is that of the Thursday night consignment sales at Lightner’s Auction House.
Patrons filled the building’s bleachers and listened for the calls of the auctioneers leading the room while employees held up antiques and low-priced odds and ends for sale.
Homemade hamburgers, sloppy Joe sandwiches, pies and other goodies, often cooked by what Vickie called “church ladies,” enticed passers-by and appeased kids who had been dragged to the sales alongside their parents.
Vickie and her siblings and cousins sold tins of popcorn, made fresh on site.
In those days, downtown Hastings had a promotional evening each Thursday and many businesses were open late to encourage people to shop. Thus, the auction contributed to and thrived off of that evening traffic.
Underscoring the din of chatter from visitors were Ed’s piercing, perpetual auction calls.
“Dad was the fastest auctioneer I ever heard. He would say ‘if you can’t sell 2-3 items a minute, then you’re talking too much.’” Vickie said.