If you’re looking for something to binge on a lazy Sunday (or a lazy any other day, we’re not here to judge), we’ve got a reality show for you. Storage Wars, on A&E, highlights the curious subculture of folks who attend auctions of storage lockers that are three months behind on rent. For what purpose? To sort through the locker’s contents in the hopes of finding the modern equivalent of buried treasure, which the buyer will then sell themselves, in an Inception-esque loop of auctioning and buying. It is, without any trace of irony, a fascinating, supremely entertaining watch. A huge part of its appeal comes from its colorful cast of real-life characters, who bounce off one another with a unique chemistry any network sitcom would go to war for. So now that A&E has unearthed this heretofore unheard of group of people, giving them a taste of unscripted fame, one question remains: What is the original cast of Storage Wars up to now? The bidding starts… now.
Don’t forget to pay the auctioneers
A husband and wife team, Dan and Laura Dotson were the main auctioneers for the entire run of Storage Wars. Their auction style was marked by classic fast-talking patter, with the occasional reality-TV-friendly squabble with a bidder. Laura also had an irresistibly old-fashioned catchphrase: "Don’t forget to pay the lady!" Now, Dan and Laura run their own private auctioneering company, called American Auctioneers. They offer up auctions to the general public throughout California, most of which are typical legal sales and seized lockers, but some of which have special themes (like the Cars Stars And Rock ‘N’ Roll event in February 2019). The couple also runs StorageAuctions.net, which acts as an online database and facilitator for storage facility auctions across the country. In 2018, the Dotsons discovered they sold a special locker to a client for $500. Inside the locker? $7.5 million in cash. The deal was made outside of the Dotsons’ commitments to Storage Wars, but their costar Rene Nezhoda theorized it was likely cartel or mafia money. Thankfully, since Dan’s 2014 double aneurysm scare (immortalized in Storage Wars episode "The Daneurysm"), the couple has remained in good health.
One word, three u’s
He’s the closest the show had to an outright villain. He got into fights with his fellow bidders and even the impartial auctioneers. He raised the prices on lockers he had no intention of buying. And he did it all with an infectiously aggravating, legally trademarked "YUUUP!" He’s Dave Hester, aka "The Mogul," the "chaotic neutral" member of the Storage Wars cast. And in 2012, he tried to blow the lid off the whole operation. Hester complained to A&E producers that the program was largely faked, with planted items and storylines exaggerated for optimum drama and entertainment value. A&E’s response? A pink slip in Hester’s locker. So Hester filed a wrongful termination suit for $750,000 in damages, going into detail about the fakeries presented in the show, and asserting that Hester was "not comfortable participating in this charade." However, the suit was settled in 2014, and Hester returned to the show for the remainder of its run. Now, he runs an independent business as an auctioneer and consultant. In an interview with SpareFoot, he said his eventual goal would be "to buy a motor home — and not even have a home address anymore — and just travel from one town to the next and be a gypsy auctioneer."
The Nutrisystem works
Known as "The Gambler," Darrell Sheets made big swings on Storage Wars, often scoring big. He once bought a locker for $3,600, only to discover it contained artwork worth $300,000. This was far and away the biggest profit made on the entire show’s run. Now, he’s somewhat retired from public life. Sheets has also undergone a dramatic weight loss, shedding approximately 40 pounds using the Nutrisystem method. Sheets spoke of his weight loss journey as an extension of hope. "Hope is having 200 bucks to buy a locker and a chance to change your life. It’s that same hope that motivated me to lose weight. I knew life would be much sweeter when I achieved my goal. Now, I want to spread that message of hope to others. If I can change one life at a time by helping someone get off the couch, I will be happy."
The joys of #AverageMiddleclass
Darrell has another child beyond Zoie, but if you’re a fan of the show, you already knew that. Brandon Sheets was a regular cast member for the first eight seasons of Storage Wars, earning the nickname "The Sidebet." He grew up learning the trade from his father, and he made his business decisions armed only with a GED and a storage locker’s worth of street smarts. But in 2016, his newfound TV career came to an abrupt stop. On December 16 of that year, he tweeted that he was "no longer affiliated" with the show, having been let go for budget reasons. As the series went on without him, Sheets relocated to Arizona and became a licensed real estate agent. On his social media accounts, Sheets still seems to express interest in on-camera entertainment, as he creates small episodes that are a hybrid of vlog and webseries. His most prolific series is something he calls #AverageMiddleclass, a tongue-in-cheek spoof of MTV’s Cribs in which Sheets brags about normal, average, middle-class things.
A professional slacker is born
Barry Weiss is a collector. Of antiques, by trade, but also of his audience’s enjoyment. On Storage Wars, Weiss disarmed everyone with his unorthodox bidding style and rat-a-tat roasts against his fellow storage warriors. He impressed A&E so much that in 2014, he left the original show and was given his own spinoff, Barry’d Treasure. On the show, which lasted for eight episodes, he traveled across the country in search of hidden goodies and knick-knacks, showing off his knowledge of classic cars in the process. The following year, he was given yet another A&E spinoff, called Storage Wars: Barry Strikes Back. Co-hosted with fellow cast member Kenny Crossley, Weiss guided viewers through his favorite Storage Wars episodes and moments, offering behind-the-scenes tidbits along the way. Currently, Weiss has stepped away somewhat from public life — he hasn’t tweeted since 2014. In a couple of rare recent interviews (which were, to be fair, foisted on him without prior knowledge), Weiss said he won’t be appearing on TV anytime soon, content with living life as a "professional slacker." When pressed, though, he admitted that he’d potentially be interested in hosting a show about cars and motorcycles.
A light in the Attic
Before he built up his auctioning grit on Storage Wars, Ivy Calvin had a history of professional conflict. In the 1990s, Calvin played for the San Jose Sabercats in the arena football league, although he was cut abruptly after only seven games (in a Los Angeles Times interview, he stated that despite being cut, his dream was "still to play NFL ball"). Then, Calvin pivoted to MMA fighting — only one match is listed in his official record, a 2002 cage fight against Samu Samu, but he won by submission. Finally, Calvin was scooped up by A&E as a new Storage Wars cast member, cutting a no-nonsense figure on the program. Nowadays, Calvin stays out of the limelight. He runs a thrift store in Palmdale, CA called Grandma’s Attic, and his social media accounts are primarily devoted to detailing the inventory at his store. A tweet written on February 10, 2019 sums up Calvin’s current interests: "Grandmas attic is open open open."
Ready for another Storage Wars power couple? Husband and wife team Rene and Casey Nezhoda joined the show in season four. They turned heads with, as their A&E bio puts it, their "big bankroll and an extensive knowledge of secondhand sales" — not to mention Rene’s thick German accent. Their expertise in secondhand purchases comes from their experience owning their own business, Bargain Hunters Thrift Store, located in Poway, CA (one sample review on their Yelp page: "Why is everyone here SO DAMN NICE!?"). Beyond their store responsibilities, the Nezhodas maintain an on-camera presence, posting a series of YouTube videos that run the gamut from unboxings, live auctions, overviews of collections, interactions with fans, and even classic vlogging. In November 2018, the Nezhodas revealed that they purchased Farrah Fawcett’s storage lockers for $3,500. However, Rene viewed the experience as a bit of a bust: "It wasn’t what we wanted. It wasn’t this mega-explosion unit. But we still found some stuff." This auction also spurred a series of legal actions, as Fawcett’s nephew didn’t believe a representative of Fawcett’s estate had the right to sell her items like this. When they’re not accidentally ruffling feathers, the Nezhodas also enjoy spending family time with their daughter, Tatianna.
What hath Mary found?
Mary Padian’s Storage Wars journey began on a spinoff. After her stint on Storage Wars: Texas, Padian was brought on board the main ship in season five. She earned her nickname "The Junkster" based on her devil-may-care attitude toward finding treasures — she was just as comfortable "diving in dumpsters" as she was bidding on traditional auctions. Currently, Padian maintains a vintage store called Mary’s Finds, which sells, as Padian describes it, "an eclectic mix of found treasures refurbished or untouched," many of which were featured in Padian’s personal Storage Wars journeys. Padian has also worked extensively with Ubuntu Life, an organization dedicated to helping "children with special needs in Kenya by selling products that connect our customers to the lives being changed." Padian personally visited Kenya, met with many of the locals, and collected treasures along the way. She originally sold some of her finds on her website, with 20% of the proceeds going directly to Ubuntu Life.
Kenny continues to do it
It’s a bit surprising that Kenny Crossley presented such a bombastic, gregarious personality during his time on Storage Wars. Before becoming an unscripted TV celeb, Crossley worked for the New Orleans Sheriff’s Department. After that, he managed storage facilities in Los Angeles. Both of these jobs, we’d imagine, would require a certain level of inscrutable authority. Yet, from his first episode onward, Crossley was nothing but unorthodox, bouncy joy, delighting viewers with catchphrases ("Kenny do it") and malapropisms ("Watch your profamity!"). Since the show, Crossley has maintained his own clothing line, imbued with his can-do catchphrase. He was also the owner of Jackie’s Famous Pralines, a New Orleans-based candy vendor. Crossley is also doing his best to create his own opportunities. On his social media accounts, he runs a series called "Kenny’s Uber Adventures," in which he drives for the popular ride-sharing service and shows us what shenanigans he gets into (many of them involve delicious-looking food). Crossley also raps, under monikers like Lil Daddy Tha Don and Dj Kennydoit.
Thrifters (not so) Anonymous
Injecting a necessary jolt of youth into the Storage Wars pantheon, Edwina Registre and Shana Dahan met each other on a fateful high school orchestra bus trip. Registre played viola. So did Dahan. And the rest was bargain finding history. On the show, Registre and Dahan searched for what they called "new vintage" pieces, in a welcome respite from many of the storage lockers’ older items. Thus, they were able to provide a sense of chaotic energy amidst the old-timers of the show, while simultaneously learning from them. The two currently maintain a popular YouTube channel called Thrifters Anonymous, in which they explore thrift stores across the country, show off their impressive hauls, and interact with their fans and fellow thrift enthusiasts. Dahan told Loore that their "passion for shopping for fashion on a budget, self-expression, and always having fun each and every time without failure makes it our dream job!" Beyond her ongoing work in front of the camera, Registre maintains an impressive day job as a sales and retention executive at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Las Vegas.
Thrifting is colorblind
Dahan also maintains an impressive series of side hustles (including motherhood). She has worked as a model, often in a retro-glam-pinup space (Registre herself has taken some of these photos, according to Dahan’s Loore interview). She also works as a fitness model and runs a YouTube channel called Colorblind Fitness. On this channel, Dahan shows off her workout routines, her meal prep plans, her secrets to maintaining healthy weight loss, and some personal vlogging without Registre. She supplements this channel with her blog, called Colorblind Blog. Here, Dahan models her thrifty looks, writes inspiring messages to her fans, and gets into all kinds of shenanigans with Registre. Dahan attributes her weight loss success in part to 1st Phorm, a company dedicated to selling nutritional supplements for folks of all needs. Dahan sums up her and Registre’s career path nicely in her Loore interview, saying, "What is funny about thrifting is brands, sizes, all the stigmas and stereotypes get thrown out the window. WEAR what YOU LOVE, WHAT FITS YOU HOW YOU WANT IT TO FIT, and LET everyone have it!"
Married… with a job
Husband and wife team Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz were absolute dynamite to watch on Storage Wars. They bickered and bantered fiercely, but you just knew underneath the televised fireworks, they truly loved each other. Oh, and they were pretty good at bidding on lockers, too — Schulz instinctually shot from the hip while Passante analyzed every move before making it. A&E loved their dynamic so much they gave them their own spinoff show. Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job aired for eight episodes in 2014, highlighting the couple’s struggles juggling their family life with the travails of owning their own business. After both of their TV stints, Schulz and Passante continued to maintain their clothing line Outlaw Apparel, which specializes in iconography dripping in southern biker punk culture. The two also ran Now and Then Second Hand Store, a thrift shop in Orange, CA. They still maintain an online presence, but folks who’ve tried to visit the store seem to think it’s no longer in business. And one person who was able to visit complained of a gross odor.