Cars go on auction block while construction business continues to the next generation

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A 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 C7.R edition car, part of Eddie Vannoy's collection to be auctioned.

Vannoy Construction CEO Eddie Vannoy spent a half century building a successful construction business – and a massive car collection.

The northwestern North Carolina business based in Jefferson has thrived through the decades – with annual volumes reaching $500 million or more – and has a succession plan involving family members and employees.

But Vannoy’s equally impressive car collection is going on the auction block.

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Vannoy’s 2018 Ford Shelby GT350R

The original auction dates of June 5 to 7 have been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can see the lots at the Mecum Auctions website, including powerful American muscle cars and several motorcycles. Among the more than 80 cars to be auctioned are several examples of classic cars including the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, Dodge Challenger Hellcat, Chevy Camaro ZL1 and Challenger SRT Demon.

Eddie, now in his 70s, built the business with his younger brother Mark. The enterprise has survived ups and downs, including recessions that tore into its original markets – but the company adapted and responded to the environment.

Vannoy Construction serves clients in the health care, retail, higher-education, highway and other sectors. A key client has been home-improvement retailer Lowe’s. The Vannoys have built more than 200 Lowe’s stores, the more recent ones at an estimated $20 million each, Business North Carolina reported in a 2019 profile.

The 2007-09 recession challenged the business, which survived by taking on more health care projects as retail and banking slid. “We hustled more during that time,” company president Mark Vannoy was quoted as saying. “Regular retail work quit coming to us, so we jumped into repair services, roofs, flooring and parking lots. We made a lot of repairs for Bank of America. We had to change our approach overnight, it seems.”

In 2019, the business employed more than 300 at offices in Jefferson, Asheville, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Anderson, SC. General building makes up about 80 percent of construction revenue, with the balance from highways and site work. “About 75 percent to 80 per cent of our work is repeat business,” Mark says.

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