Here's What Happened To The Cast Of Storage Wars
By Brian Boone/Feb. 23, 2021 4:16 pm EDT/Updated: April 26, 2021 9:43 am EDT
There's a law on the books in California that allows the owners and operators of storage locker facilities — of which there are many in the heavily populated and crowded Golden State — to auction off the contents if the renter falls severely behind on their payments. That's created a fascinating and robust industry of people who show up to storage lockers on auction days, bidding on what's inside with very little knowledge about what they may hold. Then, those bidders take whatever treasures they find and sell it in their secondhand stores, pawn shops, or on the internet. This is the world of Storage Wars, an A&E reality TV series that aired for 12 seasons from 2010 to 2019.
The inner workings of storage law didn't draw in millions of viewers each week so much as the show's regular and recurring cast of characters — real-life treasure and bargain seekers, and auctioneers, from different walks of life but who were all colorful and memorable in their own way. Here's what they've all been up to since Storage Wars locked up a few years ago.
Dan and Laura Dotson are auction industry big-shots
Presiding over the family-like collective of the same handful of locker bidders every week on Storage Wars were Dan Dotson and Laura Dotson, a married team of auctioneers who oversaw the actual bidding and purchasing of those storage units' mysterious contents. They fascinated viewers with their old-fashioned, rapid-fire auctioneer method of speaking and firm but gentle ways in which they'd quell any and all inevitable infighting among the bidders. (And Laura Dotson coined an all-time great reality TV catchphrase with "Don't forget to pay the lady!")
After the last locker was auctioned off on the last episode of Storage Wars in 2019, the Dotsons returned full-time to the private, non-televised auction circuit where they'd worked for years, but this time capitalizing on their status as two of the most famous people associated with their line of work. Dan and Laura Dotson operate American Auctioneers, a for-hire service that handles every aspect of the process of an auction. The couple also runs StorageAuctions.net, an online repository for self-storage facility auctions going on across the United States.
According to TMZ, the Dotsons 22-year-old son, Garrett, was shot in a 2020 drive-by shooting outside an Airbnb in Arizona. He was airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital to treat severe internal bleeding. He survived the encounter but faces a long and difficult recovery.
Dave Hester has been in and out of courtrooms
Reality shows need villains, a person that audiences love to hate. The villain on Storage Wars – pawn shop operator and auction guy Dave Hester, who with much aggression and hostility attempted to outfox his co-stars in their bids on storage units. "The Mogul" also generated a catchphrase — "YUUUP," which he'd yell out during auctions and plastered on his vehicle and clothing.
According to USA Today, in December 2012, and after three seasons, Hester was fired from the show. He sued network A&E and Original Productions for $750,000, citing wrongful termination. He alleged that Storage Wars was heavily juiced to guarantee good TV. In his suit, he said that producers would "salt" the storage lockers with remarkable finds for buyers to artificially discover, such as a classic car or rare and valuable newspapers. Hester and the defendants settled the suit by 2014, and did he return to Storage Wars for the remainder of its run? YUUUP.
In June 2020, he made headlines for losing a lawsuit against Public Storage. Hester purchased the insides of an abandoned locker for $11,800, only for the company to realize later that the rightful owner was actually up to date on their rent. That led Public Storage to void the sale and Hester to sue. Outside of the courtroom, Hester started an auctioneering-for-hire company, and he also serves as a consultant in the auction industry.
Darrell Sheets flipped his life around
Everybody on Storage Wars had a nickname, and for Darrell Sheets it was "The Gambler." He'd pay big money for lockers and often score big, like the time he paid $3,600 for the contents of one storage site and found artwork inside worth $300,000 — the biggest score in Storage Wars history (as of 2012), per HuffPost.
Sheets remained with Storage Wars for the entirety of its 12-season run, and after the show ended production, he chose a quiet life of semi-retirement and a focus on his personal life and health. During his time on Storage Wars, Sheets dropped a large amount of weight with the aid of Nutrisystem, according to PR Newswire, and divorced wife Kimber Wuerfel. In a later deleted Instagram post, Sheets revealed that he suffered a small heart attack and complications in the form of a lung infection in early 2019. "I've been very sick for 3 months and two nights ago I had a mild heart attack, found out I have congestive heart failure and a severe issue going on with my lungs," he wrote. After he recovered, he moved to Lake Havasu City, a California-Arizona border resort town, retired, and got engaged to Romney Snyder, who works for a horse rescue organization.
Brandon Sheets sells houses now
Brandon Sheets was a part of Storage Wars from the beginning, although his role changed and evolved over time, creating a compelling character arc. At first, the man they'd call "The Sidebet" was a supporting player, an assistant and tagalong for his father, Darrell Sheets, the older and more experienced storage locker bidder. Then he broke out on his own, going into business for himself and finding himself in bidding wars with his own flesh and blood. But after nine seasons, and just when Brandon was emerging out of his father's shadow, he left Storage Wars — not of his own volition, however.
In a tweet from a since-deleted account, Sheets said that he was "no longer affiliated with Storage Wars," explaining that while his father would remain on the series, his involvement had been terminated because of budgetary issues. Months later, he fired back at Storage Wars network A&E for attempting to continue a professional relationship, tweeting, "Funny how @AETV fired me for lack of budget but they still have their people follow me on Social media and want me to do free stuff."
His time as a TV star over, Sheets moved on to a business similar to reselling treasures — real estate. He relocated to Arizona and, according to Facebook, became a real estate agent.
Barry Weiss was seriously injured
Barry Weiss was an original cast member of Storage Wars, known as "The Collector" on the show for his tendency to bring home large auction hauls (which is saying something for a show about the acquisition of other peoples' discarded possessions). Older, more seasoned, and far more relaxed than his often high-strung Storage Wars costars, Weiss became a hit with viewers and a breakout figure — so much so that he left the series that made him famous after four seasons. The destination — his very own spinoff shows. In 2014, Weiss starred on Barry'd Treasure, traveling around the U.S. in search of rare finds, American Pickers-style. It lasted just eight episodes, while Storage Wars: Barry Strikes Back, a 2015 compilation show in which Weiss and former costar Kenny Crossley presented unseen footage from Storage Wars, made it ten episodes.
Unfortunately, Weiss was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. According to TMZ, he was struck by a car mid-ride and spent two months in a hospital in 2019, some of that in the ICU and some of it recovering from back and femur surgeries. Upon his recuperation, he landed a gig as the "global brand ambassador" for California's Sherwood Valley casino.
Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz split up
Opposites may attract, as proven by Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz — she was a careful bidder, he an impulsive one, all on display in 12 seasons of Storage Wars and the spinoff, Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job.
Viewers assumed that Passante and Schulz were a long-married couple, on account of their constant bickering and frequently referring to each other as "life partners." The two never officially tied the knot, and in the summer of 2020, the pair confirmed that they'd broken up, with Passante telling The Dad Diary (via TV Shows Ace) that she and Schulz had actually split back in 2018. By that point, Schulz had found love or something like it again, dating Rochel Beckman, a bartender at The Rush Bar & Grill, a restaurant he purchased in 2019. As for their kids, son Cameron and daughter Peyton, Passante serves as the primary parental figure. Schulz, meanwhile, seems to have taken custody of the couple's clothing line, Outlaw Apparel.
While the couple's secondhand store, Now and Then, shut down (according to Yelp!), Passante reported in June 2020 that she'd endured a two-week battle with COVID-19, during which time she'd lost her sense of taste.
Kenny Crossley makes YouTube food videos
Before he became an extremely likable reality TV star and storage locker bidding contender on A&E's Storage Wars, the amiable Kenny Crossley worked for the New Orleans Sheriff's Department and managed storage facilities in Los Angeles. That job got him involved with locker auctions and connected him with Barry Weiss, and Crossley was seen occasionally in early years of Storage Wars before he became a major buyer and main cast member for the last three seasons of the show. Not only did he delight at finding hidden gems in delinquent storage lockers, he expressed that joy with his infectious catchphrase — "Kenny do it!"
Since the cancellation of Storage Wars, Crossley has been doing a lot of things, so to speak. According to his website, he launched a line of clothing bearing his indelible catchphrase, and he runs Jackie's Famous Pralines, a New Orleans-based nut-and-candy company. Crossley is also a budding YouTube star, with Kenny Do It Adventures. Sometimes he just talks to the camera and reflects on current events, sometimes he talks about his Uber passengers, and other times he enjoys and describes junk food items from behind the wheel of his car, like fritters, Taco Bell chalupas, and Costco hot dogs.
Ivy Calvin is still running his successful resell operation
Before he was Storage Wars' self-proclaimed "King of Palmdale,"Ivy Calvin (a regular on the show from season five onward) was a non-televised auction hunter, spending years traveling around the U.S. looking for gems to resell at his thrift shop, Grandma's Attic. And before that, he was a professional athlete, playing in the Arena Football League (per the Los Angeles Times), and fighting in the mixed martial arts circuit. (He competed in one match, winning a cage fight against Samu Samu.) The whole auction-and-thrifting gig was at one time a supplement to his job as a high school football coach... before it made him a reality TV star, that is.
As of 2021 and according to its Facebook page, Grandma's Attic is still up and running in Palmdale, although it's shifted to more of an online venture because of COVID-19-related restrictions on nonessential store openings. A largely private person, he spends a lot of time on social media promoting the more illustrious, individual items on offer at his shop.
Mary Padian founded Mary's Finds
During her time in the Storage Wars franchise, Mary Padian performed a rare TV feat — she moved from a spinoff onto the main show, jumping from Storage Wars: Texas to Storage Wars proper during its fifth season. In both iterations, her fellow residents of the locker auction subculture called her "The Junkster" because she wasn't afraid to get a little dirty to go for something valuable — dumpster-diving was an option for Padian.
As of 2019, Padian has kept up the work of looking for valuable items in dark and overlooked places and reselling them for a profit, operating Mary's Finds. Subtitled "Totally Keuhl Treasures," she focuses on interior design enhancers, offering "an eclectic mix of handmade, vintage, & one-of-a-kind home goods" she's found on excursions around Texas.
She doesn't just stick to old stuff from Texas, however. Padian has frequently worked with Ubuntu Life, an organization that benefits special needs children in Kenya by selling handmade and traditional-style bracelets and bags.
Rene and Casey Nezhoda search for star-studded storage gems
Joining Storage Wars in season five were Rene Nezhoda, a veteran, self-assured German-American bidder and junk dealer, along with his wife and business partner, Casey. They'd already been surveying locker auctions for years in order to find attractive items to stock Bargain Hunters Thrift Store, their 7,000-square-foot secondhand store in Poway, near San Diego. Now years past the end of Storage Wars, the shop remains an open and bustling business, according to Yelp!. The Nezhodas generate interest by marketing the store themselves with a store-branded and on-brand YouTube channel. More than 90,000 subscribers watch their videos, which include live auctions, features about collection acquisitions, and unboxings.
The couple has also pursued a unique angle in the world of locker content auctions — buying lots owned by celebrities. In November 2018, they purchased Farrah Fawcett's storage lockers for $3,500, with lackluster results. "It wasn't what we wanted. It wasn't this mega-explosion unit. But we still found some stuff," Rene Nezhoda told People. On top of that, Fawcett's nephew sued (according to The Blast), alleging that a rep of the actress' estate didn't have the authorization to sell the contents of her locker. Undeterred, they bought what NBA star Lamar Odom left behind in a unit, including game-worn jerseys, shoes, and mementos of his marriage to Khloe Kardashian. In 2020, the Nezhodas met up with comic actor Jamie Kennedy and bought film memorabilia right out of his garage.
Emily Wears got married and started a fashion line
Auctioneers Dan and Laura Dotson ruled the Storage Wars roost with their unique set of skills up until season 10, when Emily Wears joined the cast. Born into a family of auctioneers, Wears proved to be a prodigy, working for her father's Iowa company at age 10 and beginning her training (which included bilingual calling) at 17. She won a slew of titles as a teenager before moving onto reality TV, which before Storage Wars included stints on another Thom Beers auction series Money Barn, and American Idol. It would seem that Wears can sing almost as well as she auctioneers, although judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr., all voted against letting her proceed in the talent competition series.
After Storage Wars stopped producing new episodes, Wears has focused on her personal life and entrepreneurship. According to Collectors Journal, she married rodeo cowboy Cody Kroul and in November 2019 gave birth to a daughter named Millie Rose. On Instagram, Wears describes herself as a "Cowboy's Wife" and #dogmom but also runs a small business selling leather goods and Western-style boots called, appropriately enough, Western Wears.
Justin Bryant is a family man
When Justin Bryant joined the cast of Storage Wars for its final stretch of episodes, he was just 22 years old, making him the youngest bidder and buyer in the show's history. Storage Wars had been airing for so long by that point that it's what directly inspired Bryant to give storage locker buying a shot. Not only was he immediately successful enough to make it onto the cast of TV's top storage locker reality show, but he used the proceeds he got reselling his finds to help his mother buy a house — and got so busy that he hired his brother to assist him. Not bad for a guy everybody called "The Rookie."
According to Bryant's Instagram account, he married a nursing student named Evelyn Leon, and he's the parent of a daughter named Kaliah. He also maintains a YouTube channel called ThatBoiiBrazzy, where he occasionally posts videos where he pranks his wife and kid.
Mark Balelo got into serious legal trouble
Mark Balelo injected some youthful, cocksure swagger to Storage Wars when he popped up in seasons two, three, and four of the reality series. Nicknamed "Rico Suavé" for his preference of dressing up in very nice clothes for routine, low-key storage locker auctions, Balelo came prepared to those cash-only events with a big wad of bills.
Balelo's appearances on Storage Wars belied a slightly darker past. According to Radar Online, the reality star entered a guilty plea in 2009 on a charge of transport of a controlled substance, for which he received a sentence of 60 days in jail and three years probation. A violation of that agreement sent him back behind bars for a spell in 2011. His off-screen troubles continued into February 2013, when Simi Valley Police arrested Balelo for possession of methamphetamine while under the influence of the drug, according to Hollywood Life. Just days after his release, per TMZ, Balelo committed suicide. He was 40 years old.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The Vegas Ladies make their own reality TV shows now
Joining Storage Wars in 2017 as it started to wind down were Edwina Registre and Shana Dahan. "The Vegas Ladies" were two of the show's youngest junk hunters and one of the few two-person teams who weren't also a couple. They were actually close, real-life friends, meeting in high school during an orchestra trip, according to their cast bio.
Storage Wars aired its final episode to date in 2019, but Registre and Dahan still make treasure discovery content. They've got a YouTube channel called ThriftersAnonymous, where they mainly post videos of themselves hitting up secondhand stores for overlooked stylish and vintage clothes. As of 2021, ThriftersAnonymous has more than 40,000 subscribers. The pair also used YouTube to launch a self-produced, straight-out-of-cable reality TV show. This Is Who I Am finds Registre and Dahan selecting a Las Vegas-area individual in need of a clothing makeover, raid their closet to gauge their personal style, and then take them on a revitalizing shopping spree with the final price coming in under $100.
Randy and Bubba Smith are still doing their thing
Storage Wars: Texas was the first and most successful of the Storage Wars spinoffs, running for four years and nearly 90 episodes. Among the most prominently featured treasure seekers on the show were "The Rangers," Ricky Smith and his nephew and business partner Bubba Smith. Ricky grew up in an auction family, developing his skills as a teenager in his parents' auction house decades before he parlayed that into an extensive wholesale and resell operation based out of a well-stocked warehouse in tiny Lampasas, Texas. Bubba, meanwhile, advised on matters of electronics and art. The Smiths had been hitting up storage lockers for nearly 40 years by the time they were cast on Storage Wars: Texas, utilizing what was, at the time, a well-kept trade secret.
Despite the increased competition thanks to a slew of locker auction reality shows, like the one on which they starred for three seasons, the Smiths still operate their business, Lampasas Warehouse. It's a part of Smith Auction Services, their 30-year-old business that facilitates auctions for the Smiths and its clients looking to unload a lot of merchandise. Due to "life-changing events," Smith Auctions became a largely online bidding-and-buying operation.
Jenny Grumbles became a painter
Throughout the latter seasons of Storage Wars: Texas, Jenny Grumbles, a.k.a. The Dazzler, served as the show's resident furniture expert and aficionado. She sought out good and workable pieces in storage lockers up for auctions that she could restore or rework and then resell for a substantial markup at Uptown Country Home, her Dallas furniture boutique.
Grumbles was also a furniture designer, and in the near-decade since Storage Wars: Texas ended production, the former reality TV star has leaned heavily into that pursuit. According to her Twitter bio, she's no longer the owner of Uptown Country Home, instead putting lots of work into Dallas-based J Grumbles Studio. After getting sober and giving birth to a baby boy named Thompson in 2014, Grumbles applied her art degree from Southern Methodist University and opened a gallery to show off her paintings. Her styles of choice include abstract art, portraiture, landscapes, and still lifes.
Moe Prigoff is still a foot doctor
The vast majority of the bidders, buyers, and players in the Storage Wars franchise base their livelihood around the auction circuit — they buy the insides of abandoned storage lockers and unload what they find at a profit through their own retail or resell operations. But for Storage Wars: Texas regular cast member Moe Prigoff, the locker game was a side hustle. Granted, for a decade prior to his appearances on the reality show, he ran a small, high-end antique and interiors store called River Regency, which specialized in art and furniture. But that wasn't his main line of income. He was a successful foot doctor, too, running a Dallas surgical podiatry clinic. According to his Facebook page, he was also affiliated with the International Foot and Ankle Foundation for Education and Research.
In the years since Storage Wars: Texas left cable TV, Prigoff has kept on with both the antiquing and medicine. His self-described "fabulous" business, River Regency, was still in operation as of late 2020, while North Dallas Podiatry Center remains active.
Roy Williams returned to the world of football
Storage Wars: Texas featured a cast member already famous before and outside of reality television. After buyers Ricky and Bubba Smith tracked down Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys star Roy Williams to verify his supposed signature on some sports memorabilia they'd acquired, the ex-defensive back went along on some auctions with the duo. Logically nicknamed "The Player," Williams made memorable appearances throughout seasons one and two of Storage Wars: Texas.
The eighth overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, Williams was a five-time Pro Bowl selection who played seven years with the Cowboys and two with the Cincinnati Bengals before retiring in 2010. Before that, he won a college football national championship at the University of Oklahoma, where he later worked as a sideline analyst and pregame host for Sooners radio broadcasts. And at one point, according to Houston Style,Williams was engaged to (but never did marry) Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland.
Lesa Lewis left Storage Wars: Texas and still runs her shop
Lesa Lewis came to Storage Wars: Texas at a professional crossroads. When the show began, she'd been buying storage unit contents at auctions for years, and unlike her co-stars, sold the best of what she found online. Storage Wars: Texas depicted Lewis starting a retail operation for the first time, a thrift store called Again and Again, alongside her employee and de facto buying partner Jerry Simpson, who clearly resented Lewis frequently giving into temptation and keeping some of her best storage scores for herself.
After starring as one of the main locker-picking teams in the first season of Storage Wars: Texas, appearances from Lewis and Simpson diminished in the second and third years of the series, with producers focusing on latter cast additions Jenny Grumbles and Mary Padian. According to Online Storage Auction, Lewis said she and Simpson vacated their main roles because of a salary dispute, which was resolved after filming had resumed.
After the series wrapped production, Lewis focused on her business. According to Facebook, Again and Again remains open for business in Crockett, Texas.
Narrator Thom Beers has plenty of other reality shows to keep him busy
Thom Beers has worked in television for a long time. In the early 90s, he was the supervising producer in charge of the environmentalist cartoon Captain Planet and the Planeteers. More recently, he served as the executive producer of Storage Wars, but Beers had other talents too substantial to ignore. He also provided the show's deep-voiced and perpetually amused narration, a service Beers offered to many other reality shows (including Storage Wars' many location-based spinoffs). As the head of Original Productions (which he later sold to FremantleMedia), Beers produced and often gave voiceover to some of the most popular and influential reality series about people with interesting or dangerous jobs, including Deadliest Catch, Monster Garage, Pitchmen, Ax Men, and Ice Road Truckers.
After Storage Wars ended production, Beers has stayed busy with Deadliest Catch and its spinoff, After the Catch. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Beers and his wife, Leslie, have a son named Max, and he also owns a large estate called Casa Tres Cervezas (the last word being Spanish for "beers") which he rents out for luxury vacation experiences.
Get ready for more auctions and fun finds. A&E’s hit docuseries “Storage Wars” returns with all-new episodes this Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. EST. Before Season 11 kicks off, find out where the original stars of “Storage Wars” are today.
Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante
Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante from A&E’s “Storage Wars.” Photo: Bobby Quillard/A&E
Jarrod and Brandi were originals on “Storage Wars” and the couple still remain cast members to this day. When the pair, who coincidentally met at a storage facility, are not promoting the hit A&E docuseries on their social medias, they’re busy running their business, Outlaw Apparel, and being parents. Yelpers report their thrift store shown on the series, Now and Then Second Hand in Orange, California, appears to have moved or closed and as of Thursday, the number for the business was out of service. The official Facebook page for the store is still up-and-running.
Dan and Laura Dotson
Dan and Laura Dotson from A&E’s “Storage Wars.” Photo: Bobby Quillard/A&E
The Dotsons made a name for themselves auctioning off storage lockers on the A&E series so it is no surprise that’s what they also do for work when they’re not filming. Fans can check out the couple’s upcoming auctions through their company American Auctioneers.
Darrell Sheets from A&E’s “Storage Wars.” Photo: Gilles Mingasson/A&E
Another original cast member, Darrell Sheets, is also big on sharing behind-the-scenes “Storage Wars” photos and family pictures on Instagram. Darrell’s Instagram account is flooded with photos of him and his cast mates on set of various storage units. Outside of being a TV star, Sheets also has a website to sell his finds, DarrellGambler.com. At this time, however, it appears his Ebay store and website are down. His Facebook page for Darrell The Gambler is still active.
Dave Hester from A&E’s “Storage Wars.” Photo: Bobby Quillard/A&E
When Dave is not busy saying his popular “Yuuup!” catchphrase on the series since returning in Season 5, he’s working as an auctioneer for moving and storage auctions. Dave’s website lists him as being available for all types of auctions, including self-storage, commercial and charity, to name a few, and having had “sold millions of dollars worth of merchandise.”
While Dave may be seen by some viewers as the show’s villains, his website reveals he’s in high demand. His auction schedule states he has multiple events planned through the end of November.
While he was an original and a fan favorite, Barry quit the show ahead of Season 5 for his own limited series spinoff “Barry’d Treasure,” only to leave entertainment behind the same year it premiered in 2014. After staying silent on social media following his leave, TMZ caught up with Barry in July where he revealed he went back to an “old job” of being a “professional slacker” after “Storage Wars.”
While Barry may no longer be on TV, he said during a separate interview in April that he’s content with his life. “I’m very humble for what I have,” he said, reports Closer Weekly. “I’m comfortable, so I’m able to go and do what I like.”
Catch the Season 11 premiere of “Storage Wars” Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT on A&E.
The Cast Of Storage Wars Before The Fame
By Phil Archbold/March 29, 2021 2:24 pm EDT/Updated: June 1, 2021 6:56 pm EDT
When Storage Wars arrived on the reality TV scene in 2010, it did so with a bang. As A&E shared in a press release (via The Futon Critic), the series premiere racked up a cool two million viewers, and it would go on to become the network's biggest non-fiction show that year. Before long, rival networks were tripping over themselves to launch copycat versions. "There are now so many shows trading on this treasures-in-trash theme that there's a risk good titles will run out before concepts do," USA Today noted at the time. Programs like Auction Kings and Auction Hunters came and went, however, while Storage Wars endured, largely because of its cast of colorful characters. And yes, it's still going strong: Season 13 of Storage Wars kicks off on April 20, 2021.
Names like Darrell "The Gambler" Sheets, Dave "The Mogul" Hester, Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz (a.k.a "The Young Guns") became household ones as the seasons rolled on. Though, despite the fact that the show is over a decade old at this point, not a lot has been written about the past lives of the Storage Wars crew. What were they like before they found fame and occasional fortune bidding on the contents of abandoned storage lockers? Read on to find out.
Dan and Laura Dotson have never changed
As fans of the show well know, things can sometimes get a little feisty when the Storage Wars bidders start battling over a locker, and that's when Dan and Laura Dotson have to crack the whip. It was the husband-and-wife auctioneer team that first captured the attention of the critics when the show began its run back in 2010, praised for their professionalism and winning personalities. "The attention the Dotsons command is impressive; tattooed toughs are hushed by Dan's barrel-chested patter and Laura's impossibly sunny demeanor," said USA Todayin a glowing write-up.
Dan and Laura's love story began — where else — at an auction. "I met her first in 1993," Dan said in an interview posted to the Storage Auctionswebsite. "She would come and buy restaurant equipment because she was a restaurateur and owned a couple of restaurants. By the third or fourth time I met her, I realized I needed to ask her out and hoped my timing was right, and by the second date, she never left." Laura took over for Dan at an auction when he fell ill one day, and loved it. Life has changed a lot since then, but they've never let the fame go to their heads. "We're basically the same people we were before the show, and we still have a big business that we're running every day," Dan added.
Jarrod Schulz turned to auctions after his career collapsed
Jarrod Schulz of Storage Wars decided to start dabbling in storage auctions with former partner Brandi Passante when his previous career was cut short. "I was in the mortgage and real estate industry for, like, nine years," Schulz told IOL shortly after he and Passante shot to stardom. "Unfortunately, some time ago, the mortgage industry in California fell apart. I was still working for a mortgage company when I bought my first storage unit and it was kind of just because I had nothing to do all day." Schulz and Passante (who share a son, Cameron, and a daughter, Payton) turned a profit and caught the auction bug. Before long, they had amassed so much stuff that their own storage units were at capacity.
"It started taking over the house and the city was like, 'Hey, you guys should probably open a store because pretty soon we are going to start fining you for keeping the stuff at your house,'" Schulz recalled to IOL. They followed that advice, opening the Now and Then Second-Hand Store in Orange County together. A second location at Long Beach followed. "We were already out there running a business and buying storage units when we were approached by the executive producer [of Storage Wars] at an auction," Schulz said. "We were asked if we could speak for a few minutes on camera, and I guess we said the right thing!"
Brandi Passante had a 'tumultuous childhood' in Texas
Storage Wars star Brandi Passante had been separated from Jarrod Schulz for over two years when she appeared on YouTube show Spirit Talk Hosted by Shavaun and Sabrina in 2021. She happily dished about her love life when quizzed by the co-hosts (she's been dating but hasn't made a connection with anyone yet), and she gave viewers a rare glimpse into her past, too. The reality star revealed that she had a "tumultuous childhood" in Texas, where she often felt like an outsider, even at home. "I was constantly questioning if I was adopted or something, because I just felt like I never belonged in that situation," Passante said. "Some people just kind of, I guess, accept their lot in life, and I just never could."
She previously told MyLifetime.com (via Starcasm) that she was "shy as a child," which will likely come as a surprise to fans of Storage Wars and short-lived spin-off series, Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job. Passante has always held her own among the hustle and bustle of the boys, but she's not like that when she's out in public. The likelihood of being approached by strangers fills her with "anxiety" at times, she revealed to the outlet. Her Storage Wars fame has been both "a blessing and a curse," Passante told The Orange County Register. "Sometimes you just want to go to the grocery store and pick up some milk."
Mary Padian worked at a major magazine
Mary Padian joined Storage Wars: Texas in 2011 and switched over to the main series upon the spin-off's cancellation in 2014. Nicknamed "The Junker" by A&E, the Dallas native graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in journalism and then moved to New York, where she landed a coveted job at a top magazine. According to the bio on her official website, Padian had a spell as Assistant Editor at Architectural Digest, where "she was mentored by famed editor-in-chief, Paige Rense." Five years later, she returned to Dallas and opened up a store called Mary's Finds.
As her website bio notes, Padian sold "an eclectic mix of refurbished and repurposed furniture" as well as a selection of "unique vintage, handmade, and one-of-a-kind wares" in her store, which caught the eye of a Storage Wars producer who happened to be passing one day. "She came in and said, 'Do you fix all this stuff up yourself?'" Padian recalled to D Magazine. "I was like, 'Yeah.' She didn't tell me who she was or anything. The next day, she came in with someone else. They were just going to do, like, a how-to on their website. And then the rest is history." She's best-known for her appearances on the main show nowadays, but Padian is still super close with the people she worked with on Storage Wars: Texas. "All the film guys are like my brothers now," she told the magazine.
Rene and Casey Nezhoda were always 'the real deal'
Known as "The Bargain Hunters" on the show, husband-and-wife team Rene and Casey Nezhoda joined Storage Wars during Season 4 and quickly became fan favorites. Rene, who was born in Germany, discussed how he achieved the American dream via storage auctions in an interview with TV Shows Ace. "You get out of it what you put into it, and America provides you with the opportunity to work hard and then be successful," the couple told the outlet. "This business, really, anybody can do it."
The Nezhodas started their empire "with less than $1,000" to play with, and (unlike the majority of their Storage Wars peers, it would seem) business is still booming. According to the duo, that's because they were always "the real deal" among a bunch of relative rookies. "Other people got in the business after 2008 because they needed a job, but didn't really know what they were doing," the San Diego-based pair told TV Shows Ace. "We have been doing this our whole lives and Rene has been buying and selling since [he was] 11 years old. Plus, you can't get involved in that 'I am famous' attitude." Casey is 24 in the image above (a snap of two old photographs that she shared via Twitter), while Rene is around "15 or 16," she confirmed.
Darrell Sheets worked in landscaping
Storage Wars star Darrell "The Gambler" Sheets has more than lived up to his moniker, creating some of the show's most memorable moments by taking chances on units. They don't always work out, but one such gamble paid off big time during the third season — Sheets shelled out $3,600 for a locker that turned out to be "a chamber filled with original art by Frank Gutierrez," according to History. "The drawings, paintings, and decorated objects were estimated by an expert as having a total value of somewhere near three hundred thousand dollars, making Darrell's the most successful buy on the show to date."
The Gutierrez find marked a high point in a career that began when Sheets was told that landscaping wasn't for him. "I wasn't doing a good job, and the guy fired me," he told RiverScene Magazine. "I went back to him and said, 'Hey, I need my job!' And he said, 'Well, I'm going to show you something else and you'll make money for the rest of your life.'" That something else was, of course, storage auctions. He decided to give it a go, and immediately saw the potential. "From the very first locker I ever bought, I tripled my money," he said. "And I was like, 'Whoa, I'm onto something.'" He had a health scare in 2019, so fans were thrilled to see him in the first Season 13 trailer when it dropped in 2021.
Brandon Sheets had big shoes to fill
The son of Darrell "The Gambler" Sheets used to go by the nickname "The Sidebet" when he was on Storage Wars. Brandon Sheets simply accompanied his knowledgeable father to auctions during the early seasons of the binge-worthy A&E hit, but as time went on he started to pop up himself and, on occasion, would even bid against the man who taught him everything he knows. Having The Gambler as his dad meant he was always likely to go into the auction business, but Brandon actually struggled to be taken seriously before his reality TV fame. "It's a tough game to get into, more senior guys will try to run you out of the business if they don't like you," he told History. "They'll trick you into spending all your money on things that just won't sell."
Brandon claimed that he would never leave the game ("I've seen my family's life change from just one locker," he said during his run on Storage Wars, which lasted from Season 1 through Season 9, "I'm life-committed to this"), but he's now working a far more regular job — The Sidebet, he confirmed in an Instagram post, is a UPS driver. "I love what I do, from customer interactions to making sure people are getting their products/merchandise," he captioned the work selfie. "This is what makes me happy."
Edwina Registre and Shana Dahan met on the school bus
By Season 11, Storage Wars was ready for some young blood, and that's what led producers to longtime friends Edwina Registre and Shana Dahan. They joined the show in 2017 after their YouTube channel Thrifters Anonymous, where they've been sharing their rare finds and clothing hauls for years, came to the network's attention. With an eye on unearthing what they like to call "new vintage" treasures, the duo (who are both insurance brokers by trade) quickly won over viewers with their energy and close relationship, which dates back to high school.
"Shana was the new kid in the high school orchestra who found herself a seat on the bus next to Edwina, another viola player," their A&E bio reads. "The two hit it off instantly and have been nearly inseparable ever since." Dahan went on to study at UNLV and later earned a Master's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix, where her bestie also studied. Registre completed her Bachelor's degree in criminal justice and corrections at UOP and then decided to join the U.S. Army as a combat medic. "I had just turned 21 when I was deployed to Kosovo and Bosnia," she captioned a throwback pic from her military days. "I was there for quite a while and worked directly with tanker units."
Dave Hester has always been the 'YUUUP!' guy
If you assumed that Dave "The Mogul" Hester was pretty much the same guy before Storage Wars made him and his catchphrase famous, you'd be correct. According to The Orange County Register, the reality star "attended his first swap meet with his dad in 1969." The paper refers to him as the "bad boy of bidding" on account of his often abrasive onscreen behavior (he once got involved in a physical altercation with auctioneers Dan and Laura Dotson after he accused them of ignoring a bid). Hester had been in the auction business for decades when A&E approached him, and, like his fellow bidders on the show, he remembers the first time fondly. "I made good money and I was hooked," he told Online Storage Auctions.
He went on to get involved in the other side of the industry, landing himself a job as an auction house bid catcher. "I used the YUUUP! yell so the auctioneer would know I had a bidder," he explained to Online Storage Auctions. Hester's "YUUUP!" quickly became synonymous with the show, and he fell into the role of resident villain. He was fired over a row about what he claimed were planted items after Season 3, but settled with A&E out of court and returned to the fold with a huge "YUUUP!".
Ivy Calvin was in MMA
Ivy Calvin began appearing at auctions on a semi-regular basis during Storage Wars Season 3, brought in to fill the considerable gap left by Dave Hester. He made a good impression in the time he was given and was rewarded with a regular bidder spot ahead of Season 5. It was a good fit for Calvin, who was once a promising football player; he signed for the San Jose SabreCats of the Arena Football League after a successful spell as a linebacker at Cal State Northridge. He became a SabreCat in 1995, and the team went on to win the American Conference West Division that year, but indoor football wasn't Calvin's calling. Neither was Mixed Martial Arts, though he decided to give that a go, too.
In his one and only bout, Calvin defeated Samu Samu by submission in 2002. Yet, like he did with football, Calvin quit MMA on a high. He left sport behind and set his sights on the world of auctions, selling the stuff he managed to snag for a profit. In 2009, he stopped delaying the inevitable and opened up his very own thrift store (the delightfully named Grandma's Attic) in Palmdale, where the items that Calvin acquired on Storage Wars would later be sold. It was the success of his shop that put him on A&E's radar, and he remains one of the show's biggest stars to this day.
Barry Weiss was a millionaire businessman long before Storage Wars
They call him "The Collector" on Storage Wars, and that's because Barry Weiss was rich long before the premise of the show had even been dreamed up. Unlike the other bidders, who are all hoping to come across something of value they can sell for a profit, Weiss wanted to find treasure worth keeping, hence his nickname. He's been able to amass quite the collection over the years, and he has fruit and vegetables to thank for it all. "I owned a produce company, and we exported and imported, my brother and myself," he revealed in an interview with AOL (via Life and Style Magazine). "I was in the produce business for 20, 25 years."
With the money rolling in, Weiss was "traveling around the world and enjoying life" when Storage Wars producers discovered him. He ended up featuring in four seasons of the show before getting his own spin-off that saw him scoot around the country looking for unique collectables. Unfortunately for fans of Weiss, Barry'd Treasure ended after a short eight episode run. Next came Storage Wars: Barry Strikes Back, which lasted a little longer at ten episodes but was equally forgettable. Weiss was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in 2019 but it didn't stop him from making a shocking return for Season 13 in 2021. "I'm fully charged and ready to bid," Weiss boasted in the trailer.
Meeting The Collector led Kenny Crossley to Storage Wars fame
It was a chance encounter with Barry "The Collector" Weiss that led Louisiana native Kenny Crossley to a life as a Storage Wars bidder. He used to work for the New Orleans Sheriff's Department according to his A&E bio, but he apparently fell out of love with the job. Looking for a fresh start, he relocated to Los Angeles and got himself a gig managing storage unit facilities — which is where Weiss enters the picture. The pair struck up a friendship, and when The Collector needed someone to help him open a jammed locker in an early episode of Storage Wars, Crossley was on hand.
It was during this episode that one of Crossley's catchphrases was born. Aware that Weiss was swearing a lot in front of the cameras, Crossley said: "Watch your profamity!" He now sells T-shirts with his memorable malaprop printed across the front, or, like Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, you can grab yourself a "Kenny do it!" tee instead. Crossley only appeared in a handful of episodes in the first few years after his introduction, but he joined Storage Wars as a main bidder in Season 10 and will be back for Season 13, he confirmed in an Instagram post.
For the franchise, see Storage Wars (franchise).
American reality television series
|Narrated by||Thom Beers|
|Theme music composer||Andy Kubiszewski|
|Opening theme||"Money Owns This Town"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||13|
|No. of episodes||279 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production companies||Original Productions|
|Original release||December 1, 2010 (2010-12-01) –|
Storage Wars (stylized as STORAGE WAR$) is an American reality television series that airs on A&E. It initially aired for 12 seasons, from December 1, 2010 to January 30, 2019. A 13th season premiered in April 2021.
When rent is not paid on a storage locker for three months in California, the contents can be sold by an auctioneer as a single lot of items in the form of a cash-only auction. The show follows professional buyers who visit storage facilities throughout the state and bid on these lockers. Before each locker is auctioned, the buyers are given five minutes to inspect the contents from the doorway, but may not enter the locker or touch any of the items.
After the day's auctions are completed, the winning bidders sort through the lockers, estimating the prices they will set on the contents and/or consulting with experts for an appraisal of unusual items. Running totals on-screen display the cost versus estimated total value, and a final tally at the end of the episode summarizes the buyers' net profit or loss.
Thom Beers is the executive producer and narrator of the show. He provides a quick explanation of the show's premise at the beginning, and does a recap of the featured buyers' profits or losses at the end of each episode. He has stated that the series avoids delving into behind-the-scenes stories of the lockers' original owners because "all you see is misery there, and I didn't want to trade on that". In the United States, Storage Wars premiered on A&E on December 1, 2010. It can also be seen internationally, as AETN International sold the series to several channels in Singapore, Canada, Croatia, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Spain, France, Denmark, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, India and Turkey.
Season one of Storage Wars consisted of 19 episodes, 17 of which were filmed at various self-storage facilities throughout Southern California. The show has enjoyed ratings success, and its second-season premiere attracted 5.1 million total viewers, making it the most-watched program in A&E's history to that point.
Storage Wars was recommissioned for another 26-episode season in January 2012, with the season officially premiering on June 5, 2012. Only 20 of the 26 episodes were aired however, with six of the episodes being held back for broadcast during the second half of the show's 3rd season which began airing on December 4, 2012. In March 2013, four early, special season 4 episodes aired prior to the official launch of Season 4, which premiered on April 16, 2013.
Storage Wars concluded its 12th season on January 30, 2019, and there initially was no news regarding a season renewal. A 13th season was eventually announced in March 2021, and premiered on April 20.
Aside from the original series, two modified versions were also released. In 2015, buyer Barry Weiss starred in Storage Wars: Barry Strikes Back, in which he and friend Kenny Crossley review and add new commentary for past episodes of the series. In 2019, A&E began airing "best of.." episodes titled as Storage Wars: Back to the Locker. It focuses on the buyers' best and worst storage unit purchases grouped by theme ("Child's Play", "Art of the Deal", etc.).
Main article: Storage Wars (franchise)
Several spin-off series were also produced, most of them airing on A&E:
- ^Brandon Sheets is Darrell's son.
- ^In season 13 premiere, Jarrod and Brandi, having broken up, bid separately.
- ^Casey Nezhoda would be a semi-regular cast member. Rene Nezhoda often attended the storage auctions by himself. However, Rene Nezhoda brought his father Gunter along in his recurring episodes.
- ^Chad is Darrell's sidekick.
Dave Hester, also known as The Mogul (seasons 1—3; Seasons 5—12): At the start of the series, Hester owned Newport Consignment Gallery in Costa Mesa, California and the Rags to Riches thrift store, but closed them in June 2011. He now operates his own auction house, Dave Hester Auctions. Hester has had confrontations with the other main buyers, especially Darrell and Brandon Sheets, and is known to frequently raise bids when somebody else wants to buy a storage unit. Hester's son Dave Jr. occasionally appeared on the show with him. Hester's signature catchword is a loud "YUUUP!" when making a bid. He has this word imprinted on his trucks, T-shirts, and hats. Hester's call originated from him being a bid-catcher in auction facilities, helping auctioneers spot bidders in a crowd. In December 2012, Hester was fired from the show, and sued the show's producers for wrongful termination; part of his lawsuit was tossed out in March 2013. Hester didn't appear in the fourth season, but returned for season five.
Darrell Sheets, also known as The Gambler (season 1—): A storage auction veteran from San Diego. His catchphrase is "This is the WOW factor!" and he makes the occasional malapropism. He makes his living by selling items from his purchased lockers at his weekly swap meet, and through his online store. In an interview, Sheets indicated that some of his biggest finds in lockers included a sizable comic book collection, four drawings by Pablo Picasso, and a letter written by Abraham Lincoln that sold for over US$15,000. In the season-two special "Unlocked: Sell High", Darrell revealed that he once found a plastic-wrapped human corpse in a storage locker. It was determined that the previous owner of the locker had murdered his wife and left her in the unit. In the season 3 finale, Darrell bought a locker for $3,600, which was discovered to have contained many pieces of original artwork by Frank Gutierrez. The artwork wound up being appraised for approximately $300,000, resulting in the biggest profit in the show's history.
Brandon Sheets, also known as The Sidebet (seasons 1—9): Darrell Sheets' son and partner, who often accompanies him to the auctions. In later seasons, Brandon attended auctions on his own and also bid against his father for the same units. Brandon announced on December 20, 2016 that he would be leaving the show after the ninth season due to budget cuts. As of 2018, Brandon works as a real estate agent in Arizona.
Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante
Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante, also known as The Young Guns (season 1—): At the start of the series, Schulz and Passante owned and operated the "Now and Then" thrift store in Orange, California. In the fourth season, they opened a second location in Long Beach, California, but in the premiere of season five, it was revealed that the Long Beach store had not made a profit since opening day, putting the pair in financial jeopardy. The Long Beach store was shown to have closed during the opening segment of the episode aired on April 8, 2014. Their Orange store was also permanently closed in early 2016. On April 24, 2014, A&E premiered the special Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job, which focused on the two balancing running their business and raising their two children. The special led to a spin-off series of the same name, premiering on August 12, 2014. Though identified on screen as husband and wife in some episodes, Schulz and Passante have never actually married. They have two children, Cameron and Payton. In the season 13 premiere, it is revealed that Jarrod and Brandi had broken up, but continued to bid separately.
Barry Weiss, also known as The Collector (seasons 1—4): Weiss and his brother owned a successful produce company until he retired. Weiss is a lifelong antiques collector, but he had never bought a storage unit until his friend and Storage Wars executive producer and narrator Thom Beers suggested that he join the show. On June 25, 2013, it was reported that Weiss would not return to the show for season five and that he was leaving the series. In February 2014, A&E announced that Weiss would be starring in his own spin-off series, titled Barry'd Treasure. Barry is godfather to Jesse James. He is also the "official spokesperson" and "brand ambassador" for Sherwood Valley Casino in Willits, California.
Ivy Calvin, also known as The King (season 3—): Calvin joined the show during season three just after Dave Hester's departure, and became one of the main buyers during season five. A former MMA fighter and arena football player, he owns the Grandma's Attic thrift store in Palmdale, California. Calvin's son, Ivy Jr., often joins him on the show. Calvin also often teams up with Mary Padian, whom he refers to as his "BFF".
Rene Nezhoda and Casey Nezhoda
Rene Nezhoda and Casey Nezhoda (née Lloyd), also known as The Bargain Hunters (season 4—): The husband-and-wife team joined the show during season four, and became main buyers in season five. A native of Germany, Rene owns the Bargain Hunters thrift store in Poway, California near San Diego. As of the ninth season, Casey only appears as a semi-regular cast member, with Rene often attending the auctions on himself. They have two children.
Mary Padian, also known as The Junkster (season 5—13): A former regular of the spin-off series Storage Wars: Texas, Mary joined the cast in season five, appearing in three episodes while on a visit to Long Beach in January 2014. In the sixth season, Mary became a main buyer. Mary is the proprietor of Mary's Finds, an antique and furniture restoration business. Several episodes have shown Mary restoring items taken from the units she has purchased, through to the sale to the intended buyer. Mary is close friends with Ivy Calvin, who she often calls to as her "BFF". In season 12, she teams up with Jenny Grumbles, a former Storage Wars: Texas buyer, to purchase a unit. In season 13, she was a guest on the first episode.
Kenny Crossley (season 10—): Having formerly appeared as a recurring guest throughout seasons two to four, Kenny returned in the tenth season to become one of the main buyers. Kenny hails from New Orleans, where he worked for the Sheriff’s Department. Leaving law enforcement behind, Kenny moved out to Los Angeles, where he managed storage facilities. Kenny initially formed an early alliance with Barry Weiss, after helping him to open a jammed locker. The pair became close friends, with Kenny even going on to appear with Barry in Barry'd Treasure and Storage Wars: Barry Strikes Back. Outside of storage units, Kenny owns a business making his own pralines, and owns a clothing line with the tag "Kenny Do It", many designs of which he is often seen wearing on the show.
Shana Dahan and Edwina Registre
Shana Dahan and Edwina Registre, also known as The Vegas Ladies (seasons 11–12): High school friends Shana and Edwina joined the show in its eleventh season, becoming two of the three new stars appointed by the network. By trade, both Shana and Edwina are insurance brokers; they often attend auctions in their spare time, having developed a love of vintage collectables at a young age. The pair also run a YouTube channel entitled "Thrifters Anonymous", where they document items found in either storage units or thrift stores.
Justin Bryant, also known as The Rookie (seasons 11–12): Justin was one of three new stars appointed by the network for season eleven. Justin is the youngest buyer ever to appear on the show at the age of 22. Justin was inspired to make a name for himself in the storage business after watching the show and developing a love for buying storage units. Since starting out, Justin has used the profits from the units he has purchased to help buy his mother a new home and also employed his older brother.
Nabila Haniss, also known as Paris Hilton (seasons 2—4): Haniss is a lifelong buyer from Culver City, California, who received attention after purchasing a storage unit that contained items belonging to socialite Paris Hilton. She has since also obtained a unit belonging to television and social media personality Tila Tequila. Haniss appeared as a recurring buyer throughout seasons two to four, often going head-to-head with Dave Hester.
Mark Balelo, also known as "Rico Suave" (seasons 2—4): Balelo owned a liquidation, wholesale and distribution company, and an auction house, and also formerly owned a gaming store called "The Game Exchange" from 2009-2012. He was known for bringing large sums of money to auctions, as much as US$50,000 at a time. He also earned the name "Rico Suave" for his tendency to dress in fancy clothes at storage auctions. He appeared three times during the second season, five times in the third season and three times in the fourth season, filmed shortly before his death by suicide.
Jeff Jarred (season 3): Jarred is the owner of the "It's New To You" antique and thrift store, that he runs with his daughter in Burbank, California. He has often fought with Dan Dotson, after accusing him of using sneaky tactics at auctions in order to allow regular bidders to win units. However, he and Dotson decided to make peace in the third season. He appeared six times during the third season.
Herb Brown and Mike Karlinger
Herb Brown and Mike Karlinger, also known as The Tank Top Twins (seasons 3—4): Herb and Mike are brothers-in-law, who developed a taste for buying units after attending an auction one day out of boredom. They appeared three times in the third season, in the episodes "Portrait of the Gambler", "Nobody's Vault but Mine" and "Still Nobody's Vault but Mine", and three times in the fourth season, in the episodes "Old Tricks, New Treats", "Orange You Glad Dan Sold It Again?" and "That's My Jerry!". They also made an uncredited appearance in the episode "Jurassic Bark" where they pranked Dave Hester and earned the nickname "the tank top twins".
Mark and Matt Harris
Mark Harris and Matt Harris, also known as The Harris Brothers (seasons 3—4): Mark and Matt are identical twins who first appeared in "May the Vaults Be with You" as an appraiser for Barry when he found a Return of the Jedi jacket in a locker. Since then, they have appeared as recurring buyers throughout the third and fourth seasons. They first appeared as buyers in the episode "The Kook, The Chief, His Son, and The Brothers". The self-proclaimed "Kings of Swag", the Harris brothers specialize in Hollywood memorabilia. They have a company called WOW! Creations, which specializes in celebrity gift bags. They appeared five times in the fourth season in the episodes "Oysters on the Half Plate", "The Shrining", "The French Job", "There's No Place Like Homeland", and "Total Wine Domination".
Gunter Nezhoda (season 8—) is Rene Nezhoda's father who appears alongside his son in several episodes. He is also of Germanic descent. Like Darrell's sidekick Chad, Gunter provides the occasional comic relief to Rene, but is generally well-meaning as he learns his way through the business. Prior to his appearance on Storage Wars, Gunter has worked as a Bass player for artists like Pat Travers, Leslie West, Kevin DuBrow, George Lynch, and Michael Schenker, as well as a photographer and has worked in several films as an actor.
Chad (season 10—) appears as Darrell Sheet's sidekick in several episodes. Chad is a kind of doofus, and provides comic relief, as well as a seeming frustration to Darrell, who is teaching him the business. Chad frequently spouts out secrets and makes silly assumptions and comments. He is willing to try out some of Darrell's more dangerous storage locker finds with a childlike enthusiasm.
Dan Dotson and Laura Dotson are a husband and wife auctioneer team, who run their own business, American Auctioneers, and are the primary auctioneers on the show. Dan has been a professional auctioneer since 1974. He is the primary auctioneer of the two, occasionally giving the reins to Laura, and she ends all the auctions by reminding the winning bidders, "Don't forget to pay the lady!" A substitute auctioneer has filled in for Dan and Laura on two occasions: in the season five episode "The Daneurysm" (2014), after Dan suffered an aneurysm; and in the season eight episode "Palm Springs Throwdown" (2015), after Dan and Laura got into a physical fight with buyer Dave Hester.
Other auctioneers have also appeared on the show. Earl and Johan Graham are a father-daughter auctioneer team, who appeared in six episodes in season four, as the network tried to shake-up the show by introducing a number of new cast members. They appeared in the episodes "The Monster Hash", "The Shrining", "Barry's Angels", "That's My Jerry!", "Total Wine Domination" and "Fear and Loathing in Placentia". They did not return for season five.
Emily Wears-Kroul was appointed as a new semi-regular auctioneer from the tenth season on. Wears was only 17 years old when she finished auction school, and is one of the youngest auctioneers currently working in the business. Wears runs her own auction business in Solon, Iowa with her father, who is a lifelong bid caller. Wears also appeared as a contestant during the 15th season of American Idol. Wears married in 2017, and is close friends with buyer Mary Padian.
Main article: List of Storage Wars episodes
Critical response was mixed, with Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times calling Storage Wars "a strangely uplifting show — hope being one of the many things one can apparently find in an abandoned storage unit," and Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times called the series "an especially entertaining addition to the genre." Brian Lowry of Variety said that "'Wars' should have been left in storage, indefinitely." Writing for Slate, Troy Patterson gave a mixed review, referring to the series as "trash TV" as well as "trivial and magnetic." Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News suggested "if there's an acquisitive bone in your body, you should probably steer clear".
The first-season premiere episode drew 2.1 million viewers and the show was A&E's top-rated non-fiction show for 2010, with an average of 2.4 million viewers. The season two premiere consisted of back-to-back new episodes of the show; the second show drew 5.1 million total viewers and was the highest rating for an episode of a series in A&E history. The combined season premiere outperformed competing original episodes of NBC's Love in the Wild and ABC's Primetime Nightline.
Concerns about authenticity
Some critics have speculated that some of the units have been stocked by producers, but an A&E publicist said: "There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show". Executive producer Thom Beers has stated that the vast majority of the storage lockers investigated during production contain nothing of interest and therefore do not appear in the final show. However, Beers admitted that half of the lines are scripted, as well as moving items between storage lockers purchased by the same person.
In December 2012, Dave Hester filed a lawsuit against A&E and Original Productions, claiming that the producers staged entire units, planted items in lockers after having them appraised weeks in advance, and funneled cash to weaker teams to buy lockers that they could not have otherwise afforded. The suit claims that Hester and other cast members met with network officials to express concerns that those actions were in violation of federal law intended to prevent viewers from being deceived when watching a show involving intellectual skills.
In January 2013, rather than deny the accusations, A&E responded by stating that its composition of the show is covered by the First Amendment, and that Hester's claims do not apply; the network also said that the Communications Act of 1934 is inapplicable to cable television, which did not exist in 1934, and that the TV format of Storage Wars involves no "chance", "intellectual knowledge", or "intellectual skill" and so is not a game show. A&E also stated that there are "notable inconsistencies in [Hester's] exaggerated self-portrait", referring to his claims of value on the items that he finds in lockers.
In March 2013, A&E won a partial victory in the suit when a federal judge tossed out Hester's claim of unfair business practices, calling the show "expressive free speech", and stating that his claim of wrongful termination was not specific enough. Hester was ordered to pay the legal fees for A&E.
On September 3, 2013, Hester had one of his claims approved by Los Angeles Superior Court judge Michael Johnson. The court ruled that Hester "can move forward with the wrongful termination portion of his wide-ranging lawsuit against A&E and the producers of Storage Wars."
On July 15, 2014, it was announced that Hester and A&E came to a settlement, setting the stage for his return to the show on August 12, 2014.
- The show was parodied on the Adult Swim sketch show Loiter Squad season 3 episode "Tombstone".
- It was also parodied as Storage Battles on The Simpsons season 24 episode titled "Gorgeous Grampa", where Homer Simpson got addicted to the series and decided to participate in a storage auction.
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