The Herald Bulletin

August 20, 2013

Pickers paw through hotel for treasures

Former Garden Hotel contents liquidated before building is demolished

By Traci L. Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — A layer of grime coated Keith Peavler from his nose to his toes. Rosie, his Chihuahua, however, was spotless. Peavler, from Mechanicsburg, and Rosie spent Tuesday morning rummaging through the former Garden Hotel located at 5920 S. Scatterfield Road in Anderson.

“I guess you could call me a picker," Peavler said. “If we can’t use it, we will get rid of it one way or another. In the end, we will get half of our money back and still have a bunch of stuff left over.”

The hotel, purchased by Tom Wood Inc., for $1.7 million, is scheduled to be demolished once the contents of the building have been sold. The sale will be open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Aug. 30.

Tom Wood Inc. manages various auto dealerships in central Indiana. Attempts to contact officials at Tom Wood Inc., regarding future plans for the site, were unsuccessful Tuesday. The hotel, built in the mid-1960s, was once home to a Holiday Inn before being sold in 2005 to M3 Hotels LLC. However, M3 filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and Wood made the bid for the site during a March auction. The hotel is on the northeast corner of Interstate 69 and Scatterfield Road.

Jane Pushee, a hotel liquidation specialist with Simply Sales and Service, LLC., of Lincoln Park, Mich., said most of the items being sold are in excellent condition and offered at prices far below their retail value. She said there are lamps, bathroom fixtures, doors, chairs, carpet, television stands and tables.

Inside the building Tuesday, tables, chairs and bedding lined the walls and people with crowbars and carts roamed the halls. The building does not have power and Pushee said people should bring their own flashlights if they want to explore the pitch-black hallways and the approximately 155 hotel rooms for hidden treasures.

For less than $400, Peavler hauled five truckloads of shelving, chairs and cabinets out of the building in addition to four toilets that were still in their original boxes. Peavler said he hopes to be back for more.

“The toilets are $10, doors are $5 and we have framed mirrors for $12,” Pushee said. “We are under a time restraint. That is why it is so cheap.”

And prices are negotiable.

“We look at each situation and we definitely take offers,” Pushee said.

Debbie Pontius of Markleville spent the afternoon looking though the abandoned hotel rooms and said she plans to purchase several items today after she gets paid.

“It’s sad to see it go,” Pontius said about the hotel. “But we don’t need any more dilapidated buildings in Anderson.”

Larry Jones, a contractor from Port Huron, Mich., said he purchased several items to reuse in a restaurant and for a student housing project.

“In today’s market you can’t afford to buy all new and this helps us keep our overhead low,” Jones said. “I also love a good deal and I hate wasting things. Not only is this good for the pocketbook, we are staying green and those savings trickle down to the consumer.”

Pushee said any items left after Aug. 30 will be donated to the local Habitat for Humanity.

“As the days go by, we will keep dropping the prices,” she said.

Find Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.