|By Eric C. Rodenberg
BATON ROUGE, La. – For Dean Doin, best known as NY Dean in this part of the Bayou State, business is exploding.
He calls his business model “the best hidden secret in the antique industry.”
“Right now, we’re selling more antiques by volume than any other business in Louisiana,” he says. “There’s no one selling more than we are. We sell it all. Any category you see in an antique catalog we’ll sell at one of our sales. We don’t have reserves. I start out with the high-end inventory and work down. At the end of the sale, we’re sell choice out. And if that doesn’t sell, we’ll sell by the table. But everything goes.”
The 53-year-old Saratoga, N.Y., native buys estates throughout New England, then packs it up in a 53-foot tractor trailer, often with a 24-foot trailer drafting behind him and sells it at NY Deans Auctions in Baton Rouge.
He has been burning up the road for 18 years, initially carting antiques to an auctioneer in the Baton Rouge area. But four years ago, the auctioneer retired. Bidders who followed the former auctioneer always looked for the “Dean from New York is Back” advertisements. Once he retired, NY Dean became licensed in Baton Rouge and is knocking them dead.
“In the past four years, this business has doubled,” he said.
Doin grew up in the auction business. His father called bids at Sonny’s Auction Barn in Waterford, N.Y., for more than 45 years. Doin said he started auctioneering when he was 8-years old. For the past 25 years, he has owned and operated Dean’s Antiques in New York. But, running the road – although undeniably labor intensive – is now the bread and butter of the family business.
“I’ve never worked for anyone else,” he said. “I don’t think I ever would be able to. How do stop doing what you know and love?”
Doin said his phone at home in New York “rings constantly. I’ll look at 30 houses a week, and 25 of them will be no good. I crawl through attics, thoroughly check out cellars and old barns. I concentrate on estates in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and upper-state New York.”
Doin has a big presence in New England, even getting additional antiques from customers and friends of his late father.
In his upcoming sale on Aug. 11, Doin will be selling antiques from a friend of his father’s and parts of other estates, including high-end furniture, a primitive work bench, 15-20 antique clocks, four grandfather clocks (one with wooden works), Civil War and World War II memorabilia and more.
Once he gets his load of antiques together, it takes him three to four weeks to pack everything into the 53-foot trailer. “I’ve got all my tricks and gadgets … I doubt that there’s anyone who can pack a trailer as tight as I do. I fill every inch of that trailer. If it moves, it’s got to be tightened up. If there’s any movement at all, it’s going to harm the contents. I won’t have that.”
NY Dean does around six auctions a year at the American Legion at 151 South Woodale Boulevard in Baton Rouge.
“I’m the sole auctioneer,” he says. “I don’t take any breaks, no lunch – nothing. I just keep selling. Usually when I’m done, I’ll tell people ’give me about 20 minutes or so to wind down,’ and then I’ll answer questions.”
Doin likes the bayou country, where he has made a lot of friends and has a steady following. He plans on moving there in the future. “The people are just so kind, so friendly,” he said. “I have a lot of friendships down there I value greatly.”
Contact: (518) 879-6951