As Alex Cooper grooms its fourth generation to take over the long-established family auction business, a more senior member of the family is striking out on his own.
Jon Levinson has launched JHL Auctioneers LLC in Timonium, aiming to do much the same thing he did at the Towson firm where he worked for more than 40 years. Levinson, 65, was a vice president and member of the third generation at the company founded in 1924.
“I decided to do my own thing,” said Levinson, adding he already has properties lined up to auction, including a couple he found buyers for before the auction.
“They went their way, and I want my way,” he said about the family at Alex Cooper. “I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who own real estate and want to sell it and I’m their vehicle. The response has been overwhelming.”
He said he had been thinking about such a move for a while. He also has three daughters, and one or two might end up working for him — not that he doesn’t wish the remaining family at Alex Cooper well.
For its part, nothing much will change at Alex Cooper, one of the largest auctioneers in Maryland and Washington, with 50 employees and hundreds of real estate auctions scheduled in the next few weeks. The company also deals in antiques, household furnishings, vehicles, office equipment and industrial machinery.
The youngest members of the family business are poised to take on more of a leadership role, said Paul Cooper, a vice president and a member of the third generation to run the business.
Already, Jamey Levinson is head of the Gallery of Rugs division and director of operations for the Antiques Auction division and Matthew Cooper is a real estate broker at Alex Cooper who has worked to expand the company’s digital platforms for the real estate and antiques divisions.
Paul Cooper said a new website and auction app allow the company to hold auctions where anyone can bid remotely, vastly expanding who can participate.
“We are excited to have the next generation take on more of a leadership role within the company,” Cooper said. “Both Matthew and Jamey bring a strong track record of expertise and success in the auctioneer business. Having grown up in the company, they have an intimate level of industry knowledge that others don’t, coupled with being digitally savvy — they will help continue to grow our company.”
He added: “We thank Jon for his contributions to the company over the years and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”