Our History

Bear Stephenson first became interested in auctioneering when the late Hack Ayers of LaFollette invited him to a farm auction in Norris in 1981. The next year, Bear opened Stephenson Realty & Auction in Clinton. In 1983, he became the first auctioneer in Anderson County, and his company has handled an average of 40 real estate auctions annually since then. 

Bear graduated from the Nashville Auction School in 1983, and, three years later, he attended the Certified Auctioneer Institute at the University of Indiana. He earned designations as Accredited Auctioneer of Real Estate (AARE) and Certified Estate Specialist (CES). 

Bear was inducted into the Tennessee Auctioneers Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2004, then Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed Bear to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, where he   served 10 years and was chairman and vice chairman of the board.

Bear and his staff have given their time to conduct hundreds of benefit auctions around East Tennessee, helping non-profits raise much-needed funds. Many local auctioneers began their careers by serving an apprenticeship under Bear. He has also mentored dozens of affiliate brokers throughout the 40-year history of the company.