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After restaurants close, Fargo business sells off everything from tables to toilets

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Michael Nygaard and his father Mike Nygaard are prepping the former Lone Star Steakhouse in Fargo for an online auction by Fargo Liquidators. The building will be demolished after the auction. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service2 / 7
Everything at the former Lone Star Steakhouse in Fargo is being auctioned off online by Fargo Liquidators before the building is demolished. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service3 / 7
Everything at the former Lone Star Steakhouse in Fargo is being auctioned off online by Fargo Liquidators before the building is demolished. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service4 / 7
Glassware, barstools, signs and even the flooring will be auctioned off online at the former Lone Star Steakhouse in Fargo. Fargo Liquidators is prepping the building and its contents for the auction. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service5 / 7
Dean Johnson, who owns Deaner's Diner in West Fargo, checks a table leg during a visit to the former Lone Star Steakhouse in Fargo which will be demolished after everything is auctioned off. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service6 / 7
Everything at the former Lone Star Steakhouse in Fargo is being auctioned off online by Fargo Liquidators before the building is demolished. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service7 / 7

FARGO -- When one business closes, several more get ready to open, or so it seemed earlier this week as eager bidders snatched up everything from ovens to barstools at a soon-to-be demolished former restaurant.

It’s been vacant since closing in November, but Lone Star Steakhouse, 4328 13th Ave. S., was busy Monday, April 17, as people paid for appliances, art, tables and more that they bought in an online auction hosted by Fargo Liquidators.

The family-owned business, an independent affiliate of Twin Cities-based K-Bid, sets up auctions of just about everything in restaurants or hotels that are about to be demolished or undergo a complete renovation, according to Michael Nygaard. The business is also selling off furniture from the Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Forks as it’s being remodeled.

What can people buy from a shuttered restaurant like Lone Star?

“Well, I was going to say basically anything that’s not attached to the wall, but here it’s even things that are attached to the wall,” Nygaard said with a chuckle.

That includes art, furniture, glassware and even the toilets, siding, flooring and landscaping rock, he said. If someone makes a bid and is willing to remove it themselves and haul it away, they can buy it.

Bargain hunters

Bob Biel was there on Monday to pick up equipment and sinks that will help his wife outfit a new coffee shop she’s adding to her store in Carrington, N.D.

“It’s a lot better than buying it new,” he said of the price.

Sam Holland, too, is outfitting a new business with bargain-priced goods. She’s getting ready to open BS Garage in Nielsville, Minn., and almost dropped $2,000 plus shipping for a two-tap keg cooler -- until she found the former Lone Star’s five-tap cooler for $950.

“It saved me a lot of money,” she said.

Holland and her crew also picked up a glass chiller and freezer.

Jon Beyer wanted a few booths large enough to seat six for his restaurant, Jonny B’s Brickhouse, in Jamestown, N.D. Figuring there’d be some competition, he put an opening bid of $5 on all booths that size and ended up getting all 20.

“We’ll probably try to get rid of them eventually,” he said about the unexpected extras. “We’ll pick through them and pick out the good ones.”

He’s used to figuring out alternative ways to outfit his business, which he opened in late 2015. He said the majority of things in the restaurant were built by himself or purchased at an auction.

While furniture can be a fairly safe bet, Beyer learned not everything is the bargain it first seems, like the used coolers he bought a couple of years ago that needed to be fixed.

Shane Friesz isn’t technically starting from scratch, but the bar he and his partner recently bought in Kragnes, Minn., and plan to convert into a new bar and restaurant needs furniture and appliances, so this was an affordable way of updating the place.

They bought all of the barstools from the former Lone Star, as well as 10 high-top tables, a double oven, a warmer and the grill.

But it’s not just business owners who bid on Fargo Liquidators’ auctions. Cal Lockwood got a bread rack for $25, a steal for a steel box that he’ll convert into a smoker for his house.

Nygaard said Fargo Liquidators expects to sell about $50,000 worth of goods from the Lone Star building by the time the final round of online auctions ends Monday, April 24.

New property owner Duemelands Commercial Real Estate in Bismarck will likely tear down the Lone Star building and put up a new multiunit structure, according to Jill Duemeland. She said some tenants have already signed on to rent in the new building.

Fargo Liquidators gets a commission from building or restaurant owners on whatever it can sell, Nygaard said. In addition to liquidations like this, the business does estate sales and overstock liquidation at stores as needed.

The family might not sell everything all the time, but they get awfully close on a regular basis.

“We don’t even have a dumpster in our business,” Nygaard said. “We do that little bit of garbage.”

Business profile

What: Fargo Liquidators

Where: 1333 7th Ave. N., Fargo

Phone: (701) 476-3000

Online: www.fargoliquidators.com

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.

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