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Everything Must Go: Newbury College Is Having A Closeout Sale02:57
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Recently shuttered Newbury College is selling its equipment, furniture and pretty much anything else it needed to operate for decades. And everything must go.

The college graduated its last class in May. As part of its shutting down, it began the closeout sale on its campus Friday.

Barton Hyte, an appraisal expert helping organize tours, explains to interested buyers how the Newbury College closeout sale will be conducted. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Barton Hyte, an appraisal expert helping organize tours, explains to interested buyers how the Newbury College closeout sale will be conducted. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

"OK! Anybody looking at kitchen equipment?" asks Barton Hyte, who is organizing the campus tours for buyers.

The college has six kitchens. It ran a culinary school — just one portion of tours of 10 buyers at a time are led through the campus.

Antique dealer Eric Schultz is interested in stainless steel kitchen prep tables. Mark McCormack, who is leading the kitchen tour, tells him they cost $250 each.

"I've got a lot of them," McCormack says. "I've got probably 40 or 50 of them. You want them all?"

Schultz thinks one of his clients, a boutique hotel in New York, might be interested.

"Could be just because of the look of the tables, not necessarily because they're functional as restaurant equipment," Schultz says.

A refrigerator is $1,200. There are racks full of baking pans shaped like French bread, mixers, deep fryers. These are the things that kept a college going for more than 50 years.

"I have never seen so many people at an auction before," says Todd Snopkowski, who owns owns a training and staffing company for cooks.

An interested buyer examines some stainless steel kitchen work tables in one of the kitchens at Newbury College. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
An interested buyer examines some stainless steel kitchen work tables in one of the kitchens at Newbury College. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Except it's not an auction. It's a closeout sale, just like a store would have.

"We figured this was going to be somewhere between three-and-a-half to five weeks," says Barton Hyte," who is organizing the campus tours. "It's not the old Filene's Running of the Brides day."

Two colleges, including Montserrat College, on the North Shore, have already bought much of what's for sale. Like the gym equipment, to the disappointment of Gordon Pan, who owns a gym in Haverhill.

"I was here to see if I could find some stuff for my gym, but unfortunately, it was all sold out before I even got here," Pan says.

The sale is organized by Eaton Hudson. They specialize in store closings. They handled closings for ToysRUs, Circuit City and JCPenney.

"All of a sudden, we became the premier sellers of colleges and universities in this country and we set up this division only to handle that," says CEO James Schaye. "And it's unfortunate for the small schools, but obviously it's been good for our business, and it's good for the creditors, too, because we're bringing back recoveries that they have not seen in the past."

Newbury College says proceeds will go toward paying its debts. If there is any money left over, the college says the money could be donated to a nonprofit, with the approval of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

One of the buyers at the closeout sale, Dale Ann Schultz, wants a computer. There's disagreement over the price.

"No one said $300 for a Mac computer," tour organizer Hyte tells her.

"There was three of us in the room," says Schultz's husband, Eric.

In the end, she gets the Mac for $300.

Newbury College was open for 57 years. After half a century of fueling young people's aspirations, the haggling is what remains of a college.

This segment aired on June 10, 2019.

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Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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