MEARS has just purchased a 15,000 square foot facility in Milwaukee located just 5 minutes from Mitchell Field Airport. The building is actually an old school gymnasium built in 1910 that still has wonderful wooden floors. For those who wondered back in the summer of 2005 if MEARS would be around in year, well I think this sort of reinforces the answer to that question. What people are coming to see is that MEARS was never wedded to the auction house segment of the industry, but rather to the driving force of the industry…collectors. We have provided educational content in the form of feature articles and original research that has been unmatched, and I offer that statement without any qualifiers.
The question then becomes why does MEARS need this much space? The answer is both practical and visionary. We have been an organization that has never been content with doing things the way they “have always been done.” MEARS introduced grading with worksheets, financial disclosure, and a code of conduct for those we did business with.
From a practical standpoint, the extra space was needed to house the ever growing professional reference and exemplar library. I’m not sure if you knew this, but for each submission MEARS evaluates, full color 1:1 ratio color plates are made of the uniforms.
There also needs to be room to house the print and image reference library. Part of this expansion will include a section dedicated for film and DVD viewing. MEARS will require additional space to accommodate the evaluation and grading of pin back buttons as well. Thinking long term and considering both the success of the Bushing and Kinunen for Sales Site and suggestions from collectors, MEARS would need this additional space should it decide to enter into the auction segment of the industry as well.
But 15,000 square feet for this? One of the things that is also envisioned is that this facility will also house various exhibits and displays designed to help educate collectors. With over 50 parking spaces and in proximity to the airport, the plan is that MEARS will host seminars for collectors in the very near future. No these will not be just question and answer sessions but actual seminars for things like:
-Conducting proper imagery analysis
-Use of lighting techniques and technologies to detect changes and alterations
-Building and using a reference library and data base management
and any number of other topics. We also envision making MEARS reference information and exemplar items available for review and study by MEARS Members.
I am scheduled to fly to Milwaukee next month for both a tour of the facility and to conduct a pre-renovation functional space and utilization assessment. I will cover this is a feature article shortly there after. So if you’re wondering where MEARS will be this time next year or this time next decade, I will provide you with that address.
MEARS Auth, LLC
If you have questions or comments about this announcement, please feel free to drop me a line at DaveGrob1@aol.com.