The old Thomasville Furniture plant in Appomattox went on the auction block Wednesday, but there were no successful bids for the property.
Thomasville was one of the area's largest employers, before downsizing and eventually closing earlier this year.
The building has 830,000 square feet of space, and still houses a large amount of manufacturing equipment.
Bidding Wednesday morning came in millions below what was required to buy the plant, but the auction of equipment will continue for the rest of the day.
Auction Reunites Former Employees
An early morning crowd packed the production floor at what used to be Thomasville Furniture. Virtually no one has been here since the plant closed in April.
"There's more people in the parking lot now than we've had in a long time," said Bill Gilleland, longtime manager of the former Thomasville plant.
Most came for the auction. The event attracted people from other states, hoping to buy equipment for scrap metal.
Others showed up to relive memories.
"I'm pretty sure this is the last time I'll be able to come back in here," said Joseph Patrick, an Appomattox man who worked at Thomasville for 27 years.
"It's a hurting feeling to come back in here and look at it," said Patrick. "All of this equipment being auctioned off."
"(The plant closing) has really been a blow to this community," said Jerry Small, who retired from Thomasville four years ago when the plant still employed more than 500 people.
Small is now an Appomattox County Supervisor, leading the charge to replace Thomasville.
"We'd like to see something take its place, if anyway possible," said Small.
The entire property, building and equipment, has been listed for more than 7-million dollars since last November. Appomattox officials say several companies have expressed interest in buying it, but so far there has been no deal to sell.
Gilleland sees a future for the property, perhaps as a distribution center.
But he doesn't believe anyone will want to purchase such a large facility until the economy improves.
"The building could sit vacant or idle for several years," said Gilleland.