ADESA Salt Lake, formerly called Brasher’s Salt Lake Auto Auction, was acquired by KAR Auction Services (the parent company of ADESA) in 2016, along with seven other auctions under the Brasher’s banner.

The 70 acres of ADESA Salt Lake offer vehicle storage for over 7,500 vehicles and 500 customer parking spots. The auction has 12 lanes, 12 mechanics bays, a state-of-the-art detail shop, body and paint shop, full-service cafeteria, and many other services and amenities.

We recently caught up with General Manager Rob Brasher to find out more about ADESA Salt Lake.

Tell us about the founding and early history of Brasher’s Salt Lake Auto Auction.

This auction house is among the oldest auto auctions in the nation. It was founded by my grandparents, Frank and Esther Brasher. Frank was a barber who got into selling a few cars on the street in front of his shop.

He decided the car business was a better business to be in than cutting hair, and he opened two used car lots. After attending several auctions in the East, he decided the auction business was even better. The first sale was held in October 1949—just 13 cars crossed the block that day, and only one sold.

Frank and Esther made the auction a family business, and the family made the auction a success. Frank ran the auction, Esther managed the office, Esther’s sister worked titles, Frank’s sister ran the restaurant, and all six of Frank and Esther’s children worked at the auction in some capacity or another.

The auction moved three times from its original site, with the last move placing it at its fourth and current location. We’re less than 10 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and within 5 minutes of Salt Lake International Airport.

Since Salt Lake City is where Brasher’s Auto Auctions started, tell us a little more about what else Frank and Esther Brasher contributed to the industry.

Frank and Esther were pioneers in the auto auction industry. They were early members of the National Auto Auction Association and charter members of the Western Auto Auction Association.

Frank served as president of both associations, and he was elected to the NAAA Hall of Fame in 1987.

How did you get your start in the industry and what path has your career taken?

I grew up in the auction business, just like my father and siblings and cousins did. I started coming to the auction with my dad when I was about 8 years old. We were open on Saturdays then, so I would come to work with him on the weekend during the school year and all summer when school was out. I started out on the lot, cleaning up garbage.

I began working as a ringman when I was about 14 years old, and I would work in the detail shop during the week. Dad had an interest in a Ford dealership, and while I was in high school I would travel around buying cars for the dealership.

After I finished my two-year mission for church, I went to work at the auction full-time. About two months later, I went to auctioneer school in Kansas City for two weeks. They gave me the rhythm I use. I came home from that and started selling the same week. I’ve done it just about every week since then. I usually sell the Ford Credit lane and the factory sale.

What charities does ADESA Salt Lake support?

In past years, we’ve teamed up with the Utah dealers’ associations—the Used Car Dealers of Utah and the New Car Dealers of Utah—to raise money for the local Ronald McDonald House, the Utah Cancer Foundation, Primary Children’s Hospital and local food banks.

My dad was very involved in American Indian Services, which provides scholarships and services to Native Americans. In 2017, as an ADESA auction, we did a lot with JDRF. We did a walk, and in November, which is JDRF awareness month for youth for our Utah chapter, we had some kids with diabetes come out to the auction to raise awareness.

How is the local market of Salt Lake City distinctive?

We’ve got a strong truck market. We have a lot of outdoor enthusiasts. With the winters and the mountains around here, 4-wheel drives are very popular. We also have a lot of big families in the area, so larger sport utilities seem to do well. We’ve had success with our larger banks and consignors shipping those vehicles to us from out of state.

Our buyer base pulls from all the surrounding states. Idaho is where most of our out-of-state buyers are from, but we get a lot of buyers from Colorado, Nevada, California and Wyoming. Dealers come in for the factory sales from further away, or they buy online.

  • Share
  • Share
  • Share

Scenic view of the mountains from ADESA Salt Lake