The wild flight of the storage-space hunter has -- perhaps surprisingly to many -- become quite the small-screen success story, with "unscripted" series like Storage Wars, Storage Hunters and Auction Hunters drawing passionate viewers into the drama of digging through discarded treasures.
Nashvillian Mike Hendershot was one of the folks "captivated" enough by the televised trinket hunts to give storage bidding a go. And the results haven't been too shabby -- he's amassed enough valuable stuff, at this point, to fill the East Nashville shop he's dubbed Storage Treasures, located at 2501 A Gallatin Rd. Plus, in something of a full-circle turn, Hendershot recently took his own small-screen spotlight, getting in front of the cameras for Spike TV's Auction Hunters, the results of which should air early next year.
The existence of our very own storage warrior got our interest piqued, so we asked Hendershot to divulge some dirty details. He (at least partially) obliged:
The East Nashvillian: What are some of the weirdest or most valuable items you've found in a storage unit?
Mike Hendershot: "Is this a family-friendly site? (Laughs.) I found a locker full of Boy Scout memorabilia -- bought it for $130, sold for $14,000."
Do you find that there are certain items that are really commonly left behind in storage spaces? Like, are there certain things you feel like you always find?
"Old TVs! We call them boat anchors. And it seems like everyone has light houses and angels. I've got thousands of them."
What was the experience of being filmed for Auction Hunters like?
"It was a lot of fun, but they filmed in January, when it was freezing and snowing, and they wanted me to ride in on my Harley. I can't really say much more because the episode hasn't aired yet -- they're saying late January to early February for the new season."
I know you've just opened, but what kind of stuff would you say you'll typically have in the shop?
"We have a crazy eclectic bunch of stuff: vintage albums, high- and low-end jewelry, furniture, gaming systems, TVs, appliances, antiques… I always tell people, 'We have one of everything, almost.' I bought over 300 units last year, so needless to say there is a little bit of everything.
"The fun part of the shop is all prices are negotiable! Since I got to bid on 'em, why can't you make an offer? I wanna make it fun."
From the outside, it seems like there'd be a treasure-hunting kind of fun to what you do. Do you get that out of it, or is it mostly just hard work, sifting through all this stuff?
"It's soo addicting -- kinda like playing poker, I guess. The thrill if you hit, and the 'Oh s--t' if ya miss.
"What you don't see on TV is all the hard work of cleaning out other people's trash. People are so disgusting sometimes. But damn I love when I get a bin full of bins -- going through them is like Christmas: You like some presents and hate a lot of them. I'm a jewelry hound, so if I see a jewelry box in the unit it's mine. We also donate a lot of stuff to charities and families in need."