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Family Runs Davis Auctions With Old-School Work Ethic

Tue August 28, 2007 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Davis Auctions Inc., a subsidiary of JHD Corporation, is owned by Jim and Lillian Davis. It sells utility and construction equipment and related supplies.

Davis Bros. Inc. was originally a business that cleared land for power lines and roads. It had an average of 60 men in the woods throughout New England. When Harry Davis retired in the 1970s, he sold Davis Bros. Inc. to his son, Jim.

It became Davis Auctions Inc., and its first auction was held in North Haven, Conn., in the 1970s. Roger Lussier of Lyndonville, Vt., served as the first auctioneer. Lussier’s son, Reginald, still conducts auctions today with help from his brother David and son Tobin.

JHD Corporation is still in the construction business, consisting mostly of new equipment. Christopher Davis, son of Jim and Lillian, runs this business, which specializes in cross-country power lines.

From the mid-80s to mid-90s, Davis held auctions at site locations across Connecticut and Rhode Island. Today, it runs auctions six times a year from its Prospect, Conn., site. Average auction attendance is approximately 500 with 100 new attendees per auction. A large percentage of attendees come from Connecticut, along with an ever-increasing percentage from other New England and East Coast states. Attendees also come from as far away as the Midwest and West.

The average number of consignors to Davis auctions is 100 plus or minus per sale, ranging from utility companies, municipalities, contractors and homeowners.

Davis Auctions Inc. remains a family owned and run business, including but not limited to, nine grandchildren, a son-in-law, brother-in-law, nieces and nephews. The office manager, B.J. Hoey, has been with the company for more than 18 years.

Jim’s wife Lillian has been active in the business for the last 30 years. Jim and Lillian reside in a home on the sale site, which is approximately 12 acres including parking.

Jim runs his business with the “old school” work ethic. He thinks the most significant change over the years has been the Internet. At age 70, he is still going strong. Jim isn’t sure what the future holds except that he intends to work until it’s not fun anymore — and that could be a long while.

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