Bikinis owner uses online auction to sell Texas dance hall

1:08 p.m Friday, April 21, 2017 Business
Mario Villeda Photography
Schroeder Hall in Goliad was sold via an online auction.

A historical Texas dance hall has been sold for almost half a million dollars in an online auction.

Austin businessman Doug Guller, founder of ATX Brands, listed Schroeder Hall in Goliad – 26 miles southwest of Victoria – on eBay this month, attracting 192 bids from 25 bidders. Guller had owned the dance hall, which dates back to the 1890s, since 2014.

“The great thing about putting it on eBay is that it gives me a much wider net to find a buyer,” Guller said when the auction first went live.

He said then that his hope was that someone local would buy Schroeder Hall, giving the facility the attention it needs – and that’s what happened. The winning $499,700 bid came from Victoria resident Linda Krause.

While that’s certainly more money than most items go for on eBay, it’s not the highest winning bid on record. Others have used the site to sell jets, fancy cars and even entire towns. In 2006, a yacht sold on the site for $168 million, eBay said.

“I’m really happy for Linda and her family,” Guller said this week. “I was thrilled to see that the winning bid came from someone in Victoria.”

Krause, 66, told the Victoria Advocate newspaper she and her late husband were regulars at the dance hall years ago. She plans to do some remodeling before reopening the venue, improving accessibility and updating fire safety systems.

“I want to make the hall safe and provide people with really good entertainment,” Krause told the Advocate. “If they have suggestions for bands, they can tell me.”

In addition to the actual building, the sale included 2.5 acres across the street and all furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Guller, whose company owns Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill, the Austin franchise of Gino’s East pizza, Pelons, 508 Tequila Bar, Parish and Scoot Inn, said he decided to sell Schroeder Hall for two reasons. First, he’s looking to get out of the live music business and focus more on his restaurants. Second, Guller wants to have most – if not all – of his holdings in the Austin area so it’s easier to keep an eye on them.

Already, Guller listed former Hill Country ghost town Bankersmith – briefly known as Bikinis, Texas – for sale. He also let go of the Gino’s East franchises in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

“It just feels like the right time to do this,” Guller said. “It’s hard to be in two places at once.”

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