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This article is the latest in a series of features entitled: “Fairbury’s Next Generation of Entrepreneurs” celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of Fairbury’s next generation of young business professionals.

Justin Schultis, , Fairbury Nebraska Fourth Generation Auctioneer
Takes Root In Fairbury

February 2011 - Fairbury, Nebraska is not unlike most rural communities. Tradition runs deep here, both in terms of family and business. Fairbury is home to one such business, Schultis & Son Real Estate and Auctions. Fourth-generation auctioneer, Justin Schultis, has now joined the ranks of Fairbury's Next Generation of Entreprenuers.

Started in 1936 by Justin's great-grandfather Irvin Schultis, Schultis and Son has been providing auction and real estate services to the Fairbury area for over 70 years. Upon Irvin's retirement in 1990, he passed the reins on to Justin's grandfather, Wayne, who, at the age of 8 sometimes skipped school to work auctions alongside his father. In 2011, Wayne will be celebrating 60 years as an auctionner. Justin's father, Aaron, came on board in 1985 and now Justin is the fourth generation to work in the family business.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Justin grew up in and around the auction business, attending sales and helping with the family business since he was a small child. Bid-calling is in his blood and it was by chance that in 2004, at the age of thirteen, Justin received his first "big" break.

"It was during the Annual Reynolds Consignment Sale in 2004, I was 13 years old and was in the 8th grade. My dad was working the crowd and needed a break," recalls Justin. "On his way to get a cup of coffee, he handed me the microphone and I just started calling bids. When dad heard me, he turned around, looked at me and smiled."  Although nervous, Justin took comfort in the fact there were familiar faces in the audience, including his 8th grade science teacher. The annual sale is a community service project to benefit the town of Reynolds, "Our services were donated that day, so I didn't have to worry about feeling guilty if I made a mistake!" he said.

Since that time, Schultis has been busy working in the family business, honing his “chanting” skills and collecting awards and titles. In 2007, Schultis became the Nebraska State Junior Auctioneer Champion. In 2008, he started competing at the state level in the adult division and has placed in the top ten every year. In 2009, Schultis was named the International Junior Auctioneering Champion and in 2010 at the age of 20, earned the title of Nebraska State Auctioneer Champion – one of the youngest bid-callers to ever receive the award, sponsored by the Nebraska Auctioneers Association.

Schultis has purchased a home (a “fixer-upper”) and plans to remain in Fairbury, working in the family business. Currently a student at Southeast Community College, Schultis is majoring in Marketing and will graduate with an Associates’ Degree in May of 2011. “Marketing is such a big part of our business moving forward. In the next 10-20 years, I see a lot of opportunity to grow our business and extend our reach beyond Fairbury. Many auctioneers are approaching retirement age with no one to pass the business on to and I am called to help with auctions in areas that may be underserved, when they decide to retire.”

Technology is playing a larger role in the family business than ever before. “It’s been a challenge to introduce new technologies into a business that has been around as long as ours.  Computerized clerking and accepting credit cards and has really helped to streamline our sales process. Our website (www.schultis.com) has given us exposure and expanded our reach to all areas of the country.

The internet has certainly had an impact on our industry with many auctions now being conducted online. However, the small-town auction is still very much a part of the social makeup of rural America. It is where friends come together to visit, have a piece of pie and, occasionally, if the price is right, they may actually buy something,” said Schultis, with a smile.

 
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