Pin It

Oasis of Weird 

Mike Ferguson deals in unique artifacts and immense statuary at his roadside auction house

click to enlarge Mike Ferguson: "The fun for me is still acquisitions, finding stuff." - JACOB JONES
  • Jacob Jones
  • Mike Ferguson: "The fun for me is still acquisitions, finding stuff."

Beyond the red double-decker bus, past the marble lions and neon signs, out behind the cast-iron eagles, aluminum buffalo and gargoyles, Mike Ferguson reclines in the shadow of a 30-foot metal palm tree. Shirtless in the afternoon heat, he speaks into his cellphone, placing an order for more flying saucers.

Just off the freeway west of Spokane, Ferguson has established a surreal, park-like sales lot that would make Willy Wonka proud. At I-90 Auctions, he deals in the massive and ridiculous, selling immense statues, rare antiques and wild ideas.

“There’s nothing that scares me,” he says. “Right now, I’d like to buy an airplane, like a 737 size, because I want to turn one into a guest house.”

Ferguson, 53, once operated out of a house along Ruby Street, packing the yard with statues, fountains and cast-iron collectibles. Starting with antiques and sculptures, he eventually took on importing larger pieces personally from China, Mexico and Italy.

“The fun for me is still acquisitions, finding stuff,” he says, adding, “It’s just what I think is cool.”

Ferguson says he invests about 60 percent of his money on his proven winners, customer favorites that always sell well. He spends another 30 percent on new or “cool” stuff he wants to try out.

The last 10 percent he spends on “stupid” things, just gambling on what might sell big.

But when the recession hit, people stopped thinking big. Sales plummeted. Ferguson moved the store out to his home along Interstate 90, filling the surrounding acreage with metal-frame garden conservatories, aluminum dinosaurs, exotic animal statues and bizarre signs.

With his new space, Ferguson created an inviting oasis of weird. Curious travelers pull in for a rest from the road and reality. Children explore the maze of wonders and relics, including playground equipment salvaged from Natatorium Park. Passing bikers picnic under angelic stone sculptures.

In 2010, Ferguson suffered another hit when a routine medical test uncovered prostate cancer. To pay the bills, he returned to his previous career as a nurse with the VA Medical Center. He and his family sold off much of the statue inventory as they prepared for the worst.

Three years later, both Ferguson and the economy have recovered. His prognosis is good and sales are on the rise. Just last week, Ferguson quit his nursing job to go back to the auction house full-time.

It’s time to start thinking big again. Ferguson already has plans for his next trip to China, dreaming up a new inventory of larger statues, stranger pieces and unlimited possibilities.

“The bigger and crazier the risk,” he says, “the bigger and crazier the payoff at the end.” 

  • Pin It

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • How Things Change
  • How Things Change

    For its eighth arts showcase, Terrain continues to outpace itself
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • Keeping the Faith
  • Keeping the Faith

    A Chattaroy father-son team's search for Noah's Ark takes them to the top of Turkey's Mt. Ararat
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • <b>Artistic Exploration</b>
  • Artistic Exploration

    A few standout shows from the expansive Visual Arts Tour roster
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Other Desert Cities

Other Desert Cities @ The Modern Theater Spokane

Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 11

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Jacob Jones

Most Commented On

  • Image Conscious

    The Civic opens its season with the unfettered "glitz and glam" of a con man's story
    • Sep 16, 2015
  • I Saw You

    Week of September 17th
    • Sep 16, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
Culture & Food



for your consideration



© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation