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Daniel Zivcho and William Chrisant head a group of three Cleveland-based entrepreneurs who bought the name and intangible assets of Dargate (including the company’s Internet domain rights, mailing lists, telephone numbers, etc.) at an absolute auction held at the gallery on March 30. The price was a modest $50,000.

Chrisant (who had purchased ewolfs’ name, Website and other intangible assets at the liquidation auction for a mere $1000 last September) also acquired many of Dargate’s tangible assets, including the company’s computer systems, the checkout counter and some splendid vintage display cases that were sold as individual lots.

Collectively the tangibles realised a further $110,000, bringing the total for the auction to $160,000, well below the $500,000 price tag that was set as the starting bid when majority owners Carol and Larry Farley offered the business for sale seven months ago.

A consortium of Pittsburgh investors was believed to be the other seriously interested party, although it provided only modest resistance. Chrisant conceded that the price was substantially less than his team had been prepared to pay but he added, “the commitment is more significant than the price.”

That commitment involves “working at 80 miles an hour” to keep Dargate a going concern and one capable of maintaining an outstanding local and national reputation. Some of the 10 staff will stay with the company to give continuity but the immediate need is for Dargate to find new premises. The 55,000 sq ft building at 5607 Baum Blvd., which the Farleys purchased for the business in July 1994, has been sold to a neighbouring car dealership.

Zivcho and Chrisant had looked into the possibility of buying the Pittsburgh operation when it was unsuccessfully offered for sale at auction as a going concern in September – the same week Chrisant had taken control of ewolfs.
Subsequent negotiations broke down and it was only on March 29 (the day before last week’s sale) that Chrisant and Zivcho decided to attend the auction and bid for Dargate again.

Chrisant expects to establish a holding company for the two businesses (possibly Midwest Auctions, that Chrisant founded last month as a parent company for ewolfs). This company would administer both businesses and provide resources for acquiring estates and insurance, etc. but would allow ewolfs and Dargate to be autonomous. “Independent but complementary companies” is how Chrisant described the current vision.