SJ Corio Co. President Salvatore Corio Jr. has been running liquidation auctions in Rhode Island since 1983, so when he took on the 38 Studios LLC bankruptcy sale, he knew he was in for a big job. With over 2,000 lots on the block, selling everything in one session while maximizing returns for taxpayers would take speed and endurance. Over a nearly uninterrupted 10 hours of bidding, the auction recovered $650,000 for the state as Corio mixed his trademark blend of rapid-fire humor with salesmanship. More than once, he asked for a bid of $75 million, the amount of the 38 Studios loan guarantee.
PBN: How did the 38 Studios auction compare with others you’ve done over the years?
CORIO: After 27 years of doing this, we kind of have it down to a science. Obviously 38 Studios, with the amount of press and exposure, certainly attracted a crowd and a lot of attention. But we do the same thing at every auction. If you came to one of our smaller auctions – and I call them a show, because that’s what they are - it is the same routine, except at 38 Studios in Providence we had 2,100 lots.
PBN: Do you perform any differently at an auction like that, a big stage with a lot of attention,
CORIO: It is really the same. One of the things I always try to do is keep things moving along as fast as possible. With 38 Studios, that was even more important, because I think that was a record for us. In all the years I have been doing this, I don’t think I have ever sold 2,000 lots in one day. But I really didn’t want to have to come back the second day. I knew I had big groups of items out there, like the computers, the monitors … that if there were buyers out there to take those big groups, we could get through it in one day. We started an hour late because of the crowd - there was a line from about 9 a.m. from the front doors to Westminster Street – so I started selling at 11:30 a.m. and finished selling a little after half-past 9 p.m. I took only one 15 minute break around 6 p.m.