Huge crowds flock to Lunker’s for auction
Published 12:14 pm Thursday, April 7, 2016
The third and final day of the Lunker’s and Angler’s Inn auction brought another good crowd to the former outdoor sporting goods store and restaurant.
After drawing more than 1,500 bidders the first two days, in which sporting goods items were auctioned off, Monday’s crowd had already surpassed 200 bidders by 11 a.m. when restaurant items were on the block.
While many of the bidders were there searching for great deals, others were trying to buy a little pieces of history from the Edwardsburg landmark, which closed suddenly in the summer of 2015.
“We had an exceptional turnout, really Saturday and Sunday both,” Joe Grabill, the court appointed receiver with Compass Asset Management said. “Over 1,100 registered bidders on Saturday and over 500 registered bidders yesterday (Sunday). It exceeded our expectations on every level.”
With cars filling the parking lot and surrounding area, people waited in long lines to register to bid and to take home a bargain on hunting and fishing items, as well as display pieces like a hammerhead shark hanging from the ceiling, which Grabill said went for $500 alone.
“There is some melancholy. It is definitely bittersweet,” Grabill said. “I think a lot of people were thrilled to get a little piece of Lunker’s history because they lived in the community and it really was a community institution. At the same time, it is sad to see go.
“And we feel badly for everybody who worked here. There were a lot of people employed here that are no longer employed. We are cautiously optimistic that we are going to find a new user who is going to employ folks in the Edwardsburg area.”
The original auction had been postponed when a potential buyer stepped forward in February.
The company that was interested in purchasing the property had previous restaurant experience and was looking to reopen the entire 60,000-square foot facility according to Grabill.
Grabill did not feel that the property would sell Monday during the auction.
The business closed in June. At that time, a press release said the business had been placed into receivership — a type of corporate bankruptcy — by Teacher’s Credit Union, which had provided Lunker’s with a commercial loan in the past.
Danny and April Striz, the former owners of Lunker’s said in announcing the closing with a press release that the business never recovered from the recession taped to the door.
They have since moved to Iowa and opened a new business.