By John Norris
3:48 PM AKDT, September 16, 2011
Wasilla’s Schwabenhof Bar and Restaurant is already known for its gorgeous view of the Mat-Su, excellent European beer selection and colorful cast of regulars. But it’s quickly becoming just as well regarded as a place to get a great deal on everything from outboard motors to stuffed and mounted raccoons.
Schwabenhof, located just off of the Palmer-Wasilla Highway, has been hosting a monthly auction night since February and has been building a loyal following of buyers and sellers.
“It has a very dedicated following of people who come out every month… We’re planning on doing more things with it now that summer is over,” Schwabenhof Owner Tom Robertson said.
The auction was originally hosted by Alaskan troubadour Hobo Jim, but the night I visited John Hartman, Wildcat Trio band member and Schwabenhof bartender, was the acting auctioneer.
“We’ve got a firefighter beer stein here. Buy it and break it in tonight!” Hartman announced to the crowd, inciting a bidding war for the stein.
The Schwabenhof auctions works like this: anybody can bring in any item that is legal to auction off, no guns, live animals or drugs. The seller can set a minimum bid on their item. If the item sells, the seller gets 80 percent and the bar takes 20 percent.
It’s also common for the sellers and bar to donate their profits from an item to a charity, such as the Wounded Warrior program.
Robertson says he’s seen everything from cars and boats to leather jackets to golf clubs, as well as, a slew of crazy items in between.
But according to Robertson, most people don’t come looking for a deal. “It’s more of a fun thing, something different for people to come and see and do… People come in, sometimes not knowing anybody, and still just have a ton of fun.”
Auction-goer Frank Powers, who brought in the firefighter beer stein along with the stuffed raccoon Hartman describes as looking like “it just came from a Super Bowl halftime party,” echoes Robertson’s sentiments.
“It’s a social thing. The first couple of times we came just came for the experience. We didn’t buy or sell anything. We’re not really here for a deal or to make money. It’s just entertaining,” Powers said.
Schwabenhof hosts the auction night the first Wednesday of every month. The auction begins around 8:00 p.m.
Copyright © 2013, KTUU-TV