Mid-America Auto Auction sells to Bryan Hunt and his Hunt Automotive Group

WICHITA — Mid-America Auto Auction, which has been in Wichita since about the 1940s, has sold.

New owner Bryan Hunt, son of trucking magnate J.B. Hunt, has purchased the business and is renaming it I-135 Auto Auctions.

Hunt has Hunt Automotive Group in Springdale, Ark.

“We were approached by these guys, and (they) wanted to know if we were interested in selling,” says Brook Phillips, who owned the business with his brother, Brad.

“My brother and I were both raised in the business,” Brook Phillips says.

Their father purchased the wholesale auto auction at 4716 S. Santa Fe in 1982.

“This is all we’ve ever done,” Phillips says. “It looked like an opportunity for us to do something else.”

For Brad Phillips, that will be to work for Hunt.

“My brother’s actually going to stay on and work there,” Brook Phillips says.

He’ll stay for a month or two during the transition, but Brook Phillips says he’s not sure not sure what career he might try after that.

He says Hunt plans more than $1.5 million in remodeling to the business, which is on 18 acres and has a 50,000-square-foot building.

“They’re going to keep running it as an auction,” Phillips says.

He says the building will be entirely renovated, which will include a new cafeteria and bathrooms, among other things.

Phillips says Hunt also plans to pave an additional four acres on the north side of the property as part of his updates.

He says the business will grow because Hunt and his group “plan on making it twice as big as it is now.”

“It’s kind of a win-win for everybody.”