CHECK OUT TIME
Holding a coffee maker and two bagged pillows, Durham resident Joyell Arscott walked through open, second-floor bedrooms of the Radisson Hotel in the Research Triangle Park on Thursday, looking for more deals on household items.
She was one of several hundred people estimated to have come through the hotel before noon on Thursday, the first day of a liquidation sale at the hotel. Hotel bedrooms and meeting rooms were opened so people could buy beds, mattresses, mirrors, chairs and other items before the building’s demolition.
“It reminds you of a movie – an apocalyptic movie,” Arscott said, explaining that some people were guarding pieces or entire rooms of items during the sale.
The scene included a customer sitting on a couch in the hallway while others went through the open doors to find items, one customer walking through the packed parking lot carrying a newly purchased chair in his arms and another driving away with a mattress and other items strapped to his truck bed.
The hotel first opened in 1972 as an independent hotel named the Governor's Inn. It closed and was sold to the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, the organization that manages the 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park. It’s in one of three areas of the business park targeted for redevelopment.
Bob Geolas, president and CEO of the foundation, said the foundation plans have the hotel demolished in the next several months and hold the property for future development.
Frank S. Long, president of International Content Liquidiations Inc., which is holding the liquidation sale, said a five-day pre-sale was held in advance to allow larger buyers to buy items in bulk. The flatscreen TVs already were sold out by the start of the public sale on Thursday.
All items were tagged with pre-set prices. A display in the front of the hotel showcased a queen bed with an attached TV remote priced at $300, a bench priced at $30 and a toilet selling for $25. All sales also included a 10 percent buyer’s premium plus sales tax.
And although Long said several hundred people already had been in to the hotel before noon on Thursday, he expected 80 percent of the hotel’s contents to remain after the first day of the public sale. The sale is expected to continue until all items are sold.
Inside the kitchen, Bernadine Latta, a Durham resident, had an armful of kitchen items, explaining that she does a lot of cooking and entertaining at home. She said she saw the sale as a chance to get “behind the scenes” in a hotel where she’s come as a guest.
Andrew Thomas, also a Durham resident, guarded an oven in the kitchen. He said he heard about the hotel’s closing at an event that was held there for his church’s pastor.
“For large events, this is one of the only places we knew to go to that’s a nice hotel that you can have a nice event at, that you can afford,” he said.
Donna Mason said she came to the sale with a friend, who was buying a desk, chair, bed and mirror. She said the sale was interesting because people were so excited and “running around like in a frenzy.”
“It’s amazing,” she said. “People are going out of here with like 10 to 20 ironing boards -- I don’t know what they were going to do with them.”