WASHOUGAL — Industrial equipment auction company J. Stout Auctions officially opened its new auction yard with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday.
The company was founded in 2016 and was previously located in Portland, but owner Jake Stout said the business quickly outgrew its original lot.
“We just really needed more ground, is what it comes down to,” Stout said. “Business has grown faster than we’ve expected, for sure.”
The new site at 520 S. 28th St. in Washougal spans nearly 19 acres to the east of the city, immediately south of Highway 14. Stout said it’s about five times the size of the Portland lot, and it met additional criteria such as good access for equipment and relatively close proximity to Interstate 205.
The company holds large-scale live auctions once per quarter, auctioning off commercial trucks, government surplus vehicles, logging and construction equipment, industrial machinery, RVs and ATVs. The equipment comes from dealers, businesses of all sizes, individuals and government agencies — and sells to a similarly large roster of buyers.
The live auctions can draw anywhere from 200 to 800 people to the site, Stout said, and additional participants throughout the country will join the bidding online. Auctions feature 1,500 to 2,000 lots, he said, with a total value of around $3 million to $5 million per event.
“In a typical auction, we can have bids coming in from up to 40 states,” he said.
The company also hosts online-only auctions about three times per month, he said. Those auctions typically focus on smaller handheld tools or equipment such as plasma cutters and welders.
The new site includes an upgrade for that side of the business as well: a 60,000-square-foot warehouse that will provide significantly more indoor storage space for small auction equipment. It’s still being renovated but is expected to open later this year, Stout said.
The company was able to pull off the entire move during the lull between two regularly scheduled auctions, Stout said, although things came right down to the wire — Tuesday’s grand opening ceremony also served as a preview day for the first auction at the site, scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Members of the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce were on hand to support Stout as he cut the ceremonial ribbon on Tuesday. The opening event also drew a sizeable crowd of industry representatives eager to size up the equipment.
Paul Hildebrand of Hildebrand Concrete, located at the Port of Camas Washougal, said he found out about the new auction lot about a month ago and came to look for concrete forms and possibly other affordable equipment. He said it was his first visit to a J. Stout lot.
Brent Kerr of Kerr Contractors, based in Woodburn, Ore., said he’s been a frequent presence at J. Stout auctions, often making monthly trips to the old site. He said he’d likely be in the market for heavy civil construction equipment.
“We do get new faces every time,” Stout said, “but it’s cool the see the same faces as well.”
Stout said he credits the support of the recurring local customers for his company’s success, and for the rapid growth that prompted the move to a new site after just three years.
The company currently employs about 30 people, Stout said, and anticipates that the new facility will allow it to add another 10 or more jobs in the next few years.
Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony also commemorated the grand opening of Columbia Rock Products, a construction and landscaping rock provider located next door at 480 S. 32nd St.