Crowds gather for farewell auction at Maxey Grounds & Co in Wisbech
Crowds gathered in Wisbech today to say farewell to Maxey Grounds & Co as it opened its doors one last time.
Les Spriggs, who has been at the auction house since he left school over 50 years ago, was present to deliver the last lots in the nursery auction, along with auctioneer Simon Hickling.
The decision to close came earlier this year, following the announcement of a higher National Living Wage.
The Wisbech auctioneers said in July that its auction hall in Cattle Market Chase will ‘no longer be viable’ in August and that it would shut down this month.
Speaking earlier this year senior partner John Maxey said the wage rise will substantially increase the costs of their auction business, making it unsustainable.
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Mr Maxey, who regularly conducts sales of fruit, vegetables, horticultural produce, antiques and poultry at the auction hall, said the decision was a difficult one to make, especially as the firm has been auctioneers for over 100 years.
He explained autumn and winter is a quieter time for the auction hall which is why the decision was made to close this year rather than wait until April when the first pay rise is introduced.
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He said: “We have looked at alternatives including adjusting the way we operate but there was no feasible way of doing it. Closure is a decision we didn’t want to make, but the economics left us no choice.”