Local News

Odom Auction Company: celebrating 90 years in business


Celebrating 90 years in business, Odom Auction Company has become a cornerstone of the Manning community. From humble beginnings to a thriving enterprise, the story is one of resilience, innovation, and family dedication. Join the exploration of the rich history and lasting impact of a business that has stood the test of time.

After 17 years of working for other downtown Manning merchants, G. Dewey Clark wanted to open his own store. So, in the spring of 1934, he rented a building from the Weinberg family at 3 West Boyce Street. He boarded a bus bound for Richmond, Virginia, with $300.00 in his pocket. He told a wholesaler how much he had to spend, but it had to include the shipping cost to Manning. On Saturday, June 30, 1934, at 8:00 AM, Dewey and his wife, Eva, opened their store. Men’s, children’s, and ladies’ clothes, hats, and shoes were the items he sold. In 1952, Dewey and Eva’s new son-in-law, John Milton Odom, came aboard.

In the late 1970s, John Milton got the itch to expand. He rented the building that now houses Manning City Hall and started selling antiques, used furniture, and salvage. Two of his three sons, Johnny and Robin, joined him. In 1978, he formed Odom Auction Company and conducted hundreds of auctions over 40 years.

Dewey passed away in 1980, but the store continued to operate until 1984, when it was closed after 50 years. Eva remarried and moved away.

John Milton, Johnny, and Robin moved to a large building on South Mill Street, which was more suited for their business model, selling antiques and used furniture. Robin passed away in July 2008, but John Milton and Johnny continued selling antiques and used furniture and conducting auctions out of 539 South Mill Street until July 2019, after liquidating 1100 square feet and selling antiques and primitives at 531 South Mill Street.

Sadly, John Milton passed in November 2022 at 91 years old. True to his nature, he worked the day he tested positive for COVID. He put in 70 years. His wife, G. Dewey and Eva Clark’s only child, Joan C. Odom, recently celebrated her 90th birthday.

Now, Johnny had a decision to make. He told his son, John III, who had helped the family conduct auctions from the time he was in junior high through college, about his plans for the business. Johnny said when the business turned 90, he would be 70 years old, and those two round numbers might be a good time to bow out. John III commented, “Dad, don’t be a wimp. Go for 100 years in business and 80 years of age.” Time will tell.