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Others lose, they gain: Reality show 'Storage Wars: Texas' films in Longview

By Robyn Claridy rclaridy@news-journal.com
Oct. 11, 2011 at 11 p.m.

"Going once. Going twice. Sold!" Auctioneer Walt Cade exclaimed while surrounded by hundreds of bidders who were hoping to hit the jackpot Tuesday as A&E's "Storage Wars: Texas" invaded a Longview facility.

The television show hit Longview's A-AAA Storage, drawing hundreds of spectators and bidders as Cade auctioned off the contents of 13 storage units whose renters were delinquent on payments.

"Storage Wars" launched in December and since has been named the top-watched nonfiction series on A&E, said network spokeswoman Gina Nocero.

"People have been doing (storage auctions) successfully for quite some time," Nocero said. "It's a popular show; there are these individuals who go to storage units that are being auctioned off, and it's a matter of who gets the winning bid. Once the winner is revealed, you see if they got trash or treasure."

When bidding on the contents in the storage unit, each person is allowed to look into the unit without opening the boxes before the auction starts to see how much they think the contents are worth.

Once everyone had the chance to shine a flashlight into every crevice, Cade kicked off the auction.

Winners took home a variety of items that were found in each storage unit, including furniture, computers, appliances and numerous boxes of unknown items.

"Storage Wars: Texas" cast seven buyers for the season, including Ricky Smith and his nephew Clinton "Bubba" Smith, of Lampasas; Victor Rjesnjansky of Tyler; Lesa Lewis and Jerry Simpson, both of Crockett; Moe Prigoff of Dallas; Roy Williams; and auctioneer Cade, who is from Longview.

A-AAA Storage Manager Geannie Schmucker said they host storage unit auctions every three months, and Cade is always their auctioneer.

She said once Cade was chosen to be the featured auctioneer of "Storage Wars Texas," he recommended the crew come to their Gilmer Road storage facility.

"I guess we're just near and dear to his heart, because he got his start at this storage facility," Schmucker said.

While Tuesday was a high-profile auction day for A-AAA Storage with cameras and production crews, Schmucker said their routine auctions have even picked up traffic since "Storage Wars" began on A&E.

"With the help of 'Storage Wars: Texas,' we've had record numbers at our auctions. We never used to have that many people," Schmucker said. "Auctions are becoming more professional, too."

She said the experience with filming the auction was incredible.

"It was awesome, it really was. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was an awesome experience that not everyone gets to do, so it's awesome that I go to do it. I love my job," Schmucker said.

Among the crowd, White Oak resident Peter Saccoccio said he didn't know the auction was being filmed until the morning of the auction.

"It was even better when I found out it was being televised," Saccoccio said. "In the past, I've picked up some good stuff at these auctions. It's something adventurous to do, but I know what I'm looking for, I'm looking for things I can use for my business."

Longview resident Jerry Daniel said he was there for the "allure of the trade."

"I'm lookin' for a million dollars for $100 bucks," Daniel said.

"Storage Wars" ranks as A&E's No. 1 series of all time among adults between the ages of 25 and 54, averaging 2.8 million viewers per episode. It peaked at 3.8 million viewers, according to the show's website.



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