Location drives Mecum to pick Walworth
An additional 24 jobs will be created through 2014, which would double the full-time staff in three years, company president and CEO Dana Mecum said in a press release announcing the move.
Mecum said he also expects a “substantial” increase in the number of part-time jobs because of growth in the number of cars sold at auction and the number of auctions scheduled each year.
The company, founded in 1988, claims the title of the largest collector car auction in the world based on the number of cars offered and sold. In 2011, Mecum Auctions was the largest collector car auction in America by total dollar volume. The company had auction sales of approximately $175 million last year.
Mecum Auctions is moving into the former Spiegelhoff’s Pick ‘n Save at 445 S. Main St. on the village’s south side. Plans for the $26.5 million project call for the purchase and extensive renovation of the existing site including a 50,000-square-foot addition.
The facility will serve as the new corporate headquarters for the company including a museum/gallery, office space, a display area, operations space, storage facilities and a state-of-the-art auction center that also will provide a facility for other group events.
The move to Walworth is the result of a sales increase of 250 percent over the last four years, and the company outgrew its Illinois location, Mecum said in the release.
So, why did Mecum choose Walworth?
“It is close not only to Milwaukee and Chicago but also is near Madison and Rockford,” he said. “It has good access from several international airports as well as the Interstate highway system.
“And the welcome we received from not only the village of Walworth but the Walworth County community in general made us feel great,” Mecum said.
The village provided Mecum with bonding to finance the project. The village board approved two resolutions.
The first issued bonds not to exceed $26.5 million.
The second resolution waived public bidding requirements. The resolution said compliance with the requirements “may impair the prompt and efficient completion of the project.” Mecum said requiring the bidding process could prohibit the use of the “best suited” contractors for the project.
Mecum Auctions’ attorney, John Maier Jr., said the company will pay off the bonds and they “will not ever be an obligation of the village of Walworth.” Walworth Clerk Donna Schut confirmed that the village has no liability and pointed to language in one of the resolutions.
“The bonds shall never constitute an indebtedness of the municipality,” the resolution states.
The village board adopted the bonding and bidding resolutions Feb. 13.
Here are some highlights of Mecum Auctions:
- Dana Mecum, president and CEO, started in the car business in 1969 with the purchase of a vintage Corvette.
- Dana’s father was the largest fleet dealer in the world in the 1960s.
- Mecum Auctions was founded in 1988.
- Mecum Auctions is now the largest collector car auction in the world based on number of cars offered and number of cars sold.
- Mecum Auctions is the largest car collector auction in America based on total dollar volume of about $175 million in 2011.
- Mecum Auctions sales grew from approximately $70 million to $175 million in four years. A major factor in the company’s recent growth is Mecum’s national television show, “Muscle Cars and More” on Discovery Network’s Velocity channel.
- Mecum has approximately 300,000 subscribers on its Mecum Infonet.
- The Mecum website, mecum.com, has more than 90 million page views a year.
- Mecum had 10 auctions in 2011. Eight were televised nationally.
- Mecum has 36 full-time and 200 part-time employees.