Manitou Realty & Auction
Owner Talks More Than 25 Years of Success
Photographer / Lana King
When a Rochester resident gives directions to the office of Manitou Realty & Auction, located at 1229 Main Street, they very likely say, “Look for the cemetery in the parking lot.” Joking aside, the tasteful headstones and memorials are samples of merchandise sold through the company’s sister business, a branch of Wearly Monuments. Both endeavors are owned by Chuck Pocock, and represent small-town business serving the community at its best.
Manitou Realty & Auction offers real estate services, including auctions and appraisals. Pocock, who has lived in Rochester his entire life, initially got started in the business by working with his father. Several years ago, while Pocock was working in the manufacturing business, the two of them began renovating houses.
“Dad and I would buy foreclosed houses, rehab them, rent them for five or six years and then sell them,” he says. “Dad was also an auctioneer and I often helped him with that. In 1994, I was ready for a complete career change, so together we bought the real estate business from an older gentleman.
“The strange twist was that both the real estate business and the monument business were a package deal. It was a real head-scratcher, but we bought it that way and kept the two businesses intact. I came to realize what a unique service Wearly Monuments offers and I have no desire to get rid of it.”
Eventually, he purchased his father’s share of the business, although the elder Pocock still continues to help out. Today, he employs several people who have the ability to wear different hats. Presently in the office are four licensed auctioneers, three of which are real estate agents and two are accredited appraisers. Everyone in the office is experienced in selling monuments.
“We have a great relationship with Wearly Monuments,” Pocock says. “It’s a family-owned company that began in Muncie in 1899. The memorials are beautiful and will be there forever. It’s been a good business, and we are consistently one of the top dealers in terms of sales.”
The real estate side of Pocock’s business offers residential, lakefront and commercial properties. Auction and appraisal services are the perfect compliment to make the business fully able to meet its customers needs. Manitou’s personal property appraisers are highly skilled and know the value of goods, in part because they see what things are in demand and what price they will bring at auctions. Auctions held include those for estate sale household goods and business liquidation to sell merchandise and leftover parts.
When asked why a family would opt for an auction over a garage or tag sale, Pocock says, “The difference is that in a tag sale, the price is put on it by the seller. An auctioneer holds up items with no predetermined price. Something worth $2, might go for $6.”
“One of the most unique auctions we held was on the site of what had been a multi-generation dairy farm,” Pocock adds. “The barns were full of farm implements in pristine condition and many were made out of wood. There was lots of old signage. Family members had already put items in the trash that they didn’t think would sell. We said, ‘Don’t throw things away, we can sell them!’ Sure enough, even a table with only three legs auctioned off for several hundred dollars.
“The business is diversified, but all the parts of it fit together. It’s a business of trust. We have a lot of experience and we’ve been in business for a long time. People who trust us tell other people about us.”
Visit Manitou Realty & Auction at 1229 Main Street in Rochester or call 574-223-2010 for more information.