While maintaining the core business of Auctioning, today the organization has diversified into the areas of valuations of movable and immovable property and is the preferred Realtor amongst diplomatic missions and of varied companies and individuals. Our reputation is based on Professionalism and Service Excellence in serving our valued customers.”
Shockman & Samerawickreme,the pioneering Auctioneer and Valuer is celebrating its 125th year of excellence this year . The milestone reached by the celebrated Auctioneer lays claim to its reputation as the undisputable leader in the market. For an organization, especially a family owned organization to retain its superiority in any industry is a remarkable feat and Schokman & Samerawickreme have not merely stood the test of time but continued to remain at the zenith in the relative field. They are the first Auctioneers in South Asia Pacific to be conferred the ISO 9001-2008 certification for Auctioning, Valuation and Real Estate Brokering, which has been upgraded to ISO 90012015.
An in-depth interview with the current owners Navinda, Arjun and Gayanthi gave us an insight into the Co-Founder and his protégés, his sons Derrick, Lloyd, Carl and their own father Shirley . “Our grandfather Edwin Samerawickreme hailed from Kandy and worked at the Tucker’s company . On one of his family vacations to the cool climes of Nuwara-Eliya, he met Mr . Schokman, a British Planter at the Ceylon Turf Club. The two of them formed a friendship from inception due to their common interests. In reality , the auctioneering concept was taken at a stride by the two friends who formed a partnership renowned as the pioneer Chartered Auctioneers in Ceylon in 1892 with the sole idea of auctioning certain items belonging to British Planters who were returning to their homeland. This novel scheme was conducted with ease at a rendezvous each month. The initial transactions of Schokman & Samerawickreme were carried out mainly with sterling companies of tea estates, other government institutes and boards related to the industry . Hence, the first office of the establishment was located in the colonial tea plantation region of Dickoya. The camaraderie continued up until Schokman’s migration to England. Thereafter, Edwin continued the business at the flagship store in Kandy and taught his sons the fundamental aspects of entrepreneurship and auctioneering in this lucrative and niche field. The elder sons Derrick and Lloyd (especially the latter) were instrumental in taking the business to great lengths. Lloyd relocated to Colombo after marriage and opened a branch in the suburbs of this burgeoning business capitol, while Shirley and Carl operated from Kandy . With the emergence of government departments, state banks and the Public Trustee auctions, the trade was rapidly gaining ground and the demand for auctioneers grew to a great extent.
Expansion and Diversification
“Some of our landmark auctions involved the auctioning of elephants, the jaguar that belonged to the Police Department which was used to drive the Queen on her visit to Ceylon, precious jewellery and studded stones belonging to the aristocrats, paintings belonging to renowned artists George Keyt, David Paynter, Deraniyagala among others.”
The Most Favoured auctioneer at Present The company has evolved and grown into one of the most respected and reputed family conglomerates in the country during its one hundred and twenty five years of existence despite the challenges faced especially during the various civil conflicts that arose. “Occasionally we would organize an auction which would be disrupted by the imposing of curfew .”
The Third Generation “My foray into this world of auctioning was inevitable as I grew up being influenced by the excitement that surrounds it. I joined in 1991 and my brother followed suit in 1997 after the completion of our education at Trinity College Kandy ,” stated Navinda Samerawickreme, CEO/Managing Partner and the third generation auctioneer of Schokman & Samarewickreme.Navinda has been in the trade for the past 24 years and is an experienced Auctioneer and a Valuer . His determination and innovative thinking has continued to drive the company towards the modern trend on par with global industry standards. He is an avid social worker and has been conferred the Melvin Jones Fellow by the Lions Clubs International in 97/98. He also functions as Managing Director of Mr . Move a subsidiary of Schokman & Samerawickreme. Anuja himself is well known as an Auctioneer and a Valuer in charge of the over-all operations of the establishment. His fortitude and perseverance has helped Schokman & Samerawickreme to grow from strength to strength. He also functions as a Director of Mr . Move.
Adapting to Change: the future of auctioneering Auctions and unofficial auctioneers have been around for more than 2000 years and their services are invaluable to the smooth running of many operations in many spheres. With the evolvement of time, auctions have become a popular means to sell goods and assets. Technology has changed the face and pace of auctions from the days when auctioneers stood before an audience with gavel in hand as it has made way for online auctions . S & S too have embarked on the futuristic journey with a vision to adapt to the changing tides by establishing the online auction portal in their web page. With this innovative concept you can view , bid and purchase the item at the comfort of your home. “At present we operate from four locations which is the Head Office in Kandy , Havelock Road outlet, the vehicle yard at Pelawatte and the biggest walk –in flagship auction and sales facility situated at Isipatana Mawatha.” There are many aspects to our longevity as a company and it is mainly due to our employees and our clients. Our longest standing employee K.G.Piyasena has been with us for 42 years. Like our business which is passed down from generation to generation, so are most of our employees whose parents and grandparents too worked for us. Similarly are our loyal clients who have supported us for years and most often we have to strike a balance in terms of auctioneering as the seller and buyer themselves are the faithful clients of our company . Schokman and Samerawickreme holds sway in their field of expertise and their commitment to maintain the highest levels of professionalism, ethics and confidentiality throughout its business processis certain to be honoured for posterity .