Ark-La-Tex Auction History
It didn’t cost much – just $20,000, owner financed. But then again, it wasn’t much to start with when Ed Blakey purchased the Ark-La-Tex Auto Auction from W.O. (Cotton) Weatherly and Reagan Cassidy in 1978. The rented property consisted of a one-lane building on three acres of property, and early sales averaged about 30 units per week. There were two auctioneers, Ed Blakey and James Witherspoon, who owned his own auto auction in Jackson, Mississippi. On Tuesday nights they worked Ed’s auction and on Wednesdays they headed to Jackson to sell at Witherspoon’s auction.
In 1983, Ed purchased 11 acres of land west of Shreveport and constructed an entirely new auction building with two lanes – making Ark-La-Tex the first two-lane auction in the state of Louisiana. Ark-La-Tex was also the first auction in the state to sponsor a factory sale when Chrysler held a sale in 1988. Several Chrysler executives visiting that sale were heard to say, “They might not have much use for computers down here in Louisiana, but they sure can sell cars!”
As the auction’s growth continued, an additional 15 acres were purchased in 1989. The following year, the first GM-sponsored factory sale in Louisiana was held at the Ark-La-Tex auction. This increased volume again, and in 1991, 15 more acres and a 36,000 square-foot reconditioning building were added. The Ark-La-Tex Auto Transport Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ark-La-Tex Auto Auction, was formed in 1991. It was granted Intrastate Authority by the Louisiana Public Service Commission as well as ICC authority for the 48 contiguous states. An initial fleet of four transport trucks was purchased, which expanded the auction’s service area. in 1993, the consignment sale was changed from Tuesday to Wednesday, helping to increase fleet and lease inventories and boost sales through the ’90s.
In 1998, Ark-La-Tex Auto Auction’s 42-acre facility offered five lanes of vehicles each Wednesday and factory sales each Thursday and sold approximately 40,000 cars. Even still, the motto coined by Ed Blakey back in 1983 is still in use by the aution – “Large enough to serve you, small enough to know you.” Blakey sold the Auction in 1998 to the Adesa Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Minnesota Power and Light Company. Mr. Blakey, along with sons Clint and Cliff Blakey, opened Blakey Auto Plex in 2002. Since then they have pushed to one of the largest Pre-owned dealerships in Ark-La-Tex