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Published: Friday, 7/7/2006

Grocer's home up for bids

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The 4,400-square-foot house was built east of Corey Road and north of Central Avenue early in the area's development. The 4,400-square-foot house was built east of Corey Road and north of Central Avenue early in the area's development.
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Toy trucks bearing the Food Town name, an enlarged photo of Wallace D. "Wally" Iott at Wally's Market, glassware and primitive antiques his wife scoured sales for, and their 4,400-square-foot Colonial home will be auctioned off this weekend.

Mr. Iott and his wife, Jeanette, died little more than six weeks apart this year - he at age 90 and she at 87 - and proceeds from the auction will go to her estate.

The contents will be sold at two simultaneous auctions tomorrow and Sunday, from 10 a.m. until about 4 p.m. both days, and the brick two-story house will be auctioned at 2 p.m. Sunday by Pamela Rose Auction Co. LLC.

Family members have saved the items they want from the house, such as a penny slot machine from Mr. Iott's first grocery store deftly run by Mrs. Iott during World War II while he was in the Army.

Pamela Rose amid household items, with two of the furs to be auctioned. Pamela Rose amid household items, with two of the furs to be auctioned.
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Still, son Rich Iott said he plans to be a spectator at the sale.

"It will be a little strange seeing them auction off part of your childhood," admitted Mr. Iott, who was president and chief executive of Seaway Food Town Inc. when the company was sold in 2000.

The late Mr. Iott was among five grocers who formed a co-op in 1948 that was incorporated as Seaway Food Town in 1957. He became the company's chairman and president in 1962.

The Iotts built the house east of Corey Road and north of Central Avenue in 1962 when the area was first being developed.

An enlarged photo of Wally Iott at his first grocery adorns a room inside the house. An enlarged photo of Wally Iott at his first grocery adorns a room inside the house.
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It features his-and-hers bathrooms and closets off the master bedroom, four other bedrooms, a cedar-lined closet within another closet upstairs, two kitchens, an attached 2 1/2-car garage, grounds totaling about two-thirds of an acre with mature trees, and other amenities.

It is valued at $349,500 for tax purposes.

The house can be viewed on Sunday. Potential buyers must present $7,500 proof for a bid packet.

From the house's roughly 2,000-square-foot attic down to the finished basement, meanwhile, is an array of antiques, collectibles, lamps, furs, jewelry, paintings, furniture, and household items.

Said auctioneer Pamela Rose: "We have been here for weeks. She never threw away anything."

Mrs. Iott was a silent partner in the former Cleo's Antiques in Sylvania with best friend Cleo Smilo, who died two years ago.

When the family went to their cottage at Devil's Lake on the weekends, she looked for bargains throughout southeast Michigan, said her son.

Next-door neighbor Jean Faber, who frequents estate sales and auctions, said she hopes to purchase mementos of the friendly and down-to-earth Iotts.

She said she was surprised to see how many items the Iotts had in the house.

"It'll be sad," Ms. Faber said of the house's sale.

"They're founding members of the neighborhood."

Preview and registration for the contents auction begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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