By Echo Menges
Back in the late winter, when the pandemic was just becoming an American reality, businesses far and wide, along with the economy, began taking on some remarkable hits, which are continuing to ripple around the world. It’s a wonder that little Edina has given birth to a few locally owned businesses, which, despite being brought about in a most disruptive era of uncertainty, are moving forward.
One such business is Edina’s new online auction house, Golden Rose Auctions. The fledgling business officially opened on June 22, 2020, with the creation of the businesses website goldenroseauctions.com and social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram.
The business’s very first auction was held two weeks later on July 6, and Knox County native owner Jessen Miller, 26, of Edina, hasn’t looked back since.
“I don’t think I’d keep doing it if I didn’t (love it),” said Miller.
Miller, who spent the last school year teaching math at Knox County High School, knew he wanted to open an online auction house before he took on a teaching job and way before the pandemic began wreaking havoc on the global economy. He pushed forward with his plans anyway, and everything fell together. By March, he had his building, which is the old Ben Franklin and Dabney Store most recently operated as the K-Zone batting cages and pitching lanes.
Miller purchased the historic building, which is situated in the center of the south block on the Edina Town Square. The location has prime visibility on Missouri’s Highway 6.
“We were just trying to find a building. We thought about the bottom of the hill, the old daycare, the old lumber yard – and this one came up. There are a limited number of buildings in Edina,” said Miller.
Miller wasn’t expecting a pandemic to drastically alter life when he was planning his new operation, but he didn’t let it stop the process.
“The day I bought the building was during parent teacher conferences on Wednesday night and on the following Monday – it was the last day of school. I guess we were preparing to open a small business when most small businesses were shutting down,” said Miller.
Miller grew up watching and helping his father, Earl Miller, start Earl’s Shop, an old timey antique store also located on Edina’s Town Square.
“He started helping me when he was two-years-old,” said Earl. “Yeah, he’s been at it for a long time.”
Any antique collector that has ever been through Earl’s Shop will tell you, Earl’s is something special, as is Earl.
Earl opened Earl’s Shop around 2000. It is inconspicuous and unassuming and the only sign that it is ever open, which is sporadically at best, is when the signs are out. There are no hours or days or expectations. Earl opens his shop whenever he feels like it. Only the luckiest of passers by, or those who know it’s there, get to enter.
It’s an old building packed with old stuff that any antique collector, or not, can get lost in for hours.
Miller’s new online auction house is a fast paced chip of the old block.
When Earl was asked if son Jessen had his eye, Earl responded, “No. His is better.”
Miller isn’t operating his father’s business. He’s introduced his special twist on what he grew up doing – going to auctions.
“Most people know what auctions are and most people know what E-Bay is. This is kind of a combination of the two. You can look at the items online and bid, like they do on E-Bay, then go pick-up your stuff or have it shipped, depending on where you are,” said Miller. “Items are posted online about a week before the auction. Every item starts at only one-dollar. Bidders may bid throughout the week until the auction closes. Bidders can register online, just like in in-person auctions. Those who win the bid can pay online with a credit card, with cash or by check at the time of pickup. Bidders from a distance, pay online and have the item shipped.”
Miller is getting help from his family in running the shop, and he’s helping his father by offering some of the antiques of Earl’s online. Going forward, he’d like to be at a point of offering two online auctions per month and the business has been moving merchandise regularly since it opened.
According to his Father, Miller was bidding in auctions as young as three-years-old and once bought a bunch of jars full of pencils he was sure his mother wouldn’t be happy about.
“When he was in the third grade he decided to take his ice cream scoop collection to show-and-tell,” Earl chuckled. “He showed up at school with three totes full of stuff.”
Jessen Miller went to Missouri State in Springfield, MO, and got his degree in mathematics in 2017. He is a 2012 graduate of Knox County High School. He is the son of Earl and Sherry Miller. Even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, his business is still open in Edina.