There was a time when a farm or estate auction meant Brad Kehler would be pulling up in his sound truck to provide live auctioneering. Those days aren’t necessarily over, although the auction sales industry has certainly had to adapt to new technology and more agile buyers.
“I love interacting with people, and I like being at the sale to see and handle all this stuff,” says Kehler, auctioneer with Grunthal Auction Service and Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart. He’s always valued the social aspect of the sales event, he says, and enjoys dealing with friends, neighbours and new acquaintances.
But he also points out that the online component has allowed his businesses to both handle more product and offer more flexibility in the marketplace.
“Buyers have a week to bid,” he explains, pointing to the digital lots on the Grunthal Auction Service website. “It’s not as much pressure, and no one has to take time off for a sale day. Bids can be placed from anywhere and at any time, from home computers to cell phones.”
For example, open consignment sales, both onsite and offsite, are held monthly, and the public can submit their items for auction. Those items are then posted online, where buyers can bid over the course of several days.
Kehler admits he’s humbled by the trust the community continues to place in both the general and livestock auctions, and he takes pride in being able to give people the sensitive, meaningful service they expect, particularly when selling.
“We’ve got so many good people who live around us and work with us,” he says. “Sometimes they might be selling livestock or farm equipment to take a step back or retire, and they give us the opportunity to work for them. They put their trust in us.”
Grunthal Auction Service often encounters items up to 60 years old, and while sellers can have mixed feelings about parting with their goods, there’s joy in seeing the enthusiasm with which buyers will bid on them.
“Generations of buyers change, and so do their interests,” Kehler explains. “It’s neat to see some things you might not expect, when they come to market, be met with people ecstatic to get their hands on them.”
Something that won’t be changing anytime soon is Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart’s weekly livestock sale.
“We have it every Tuesday, and we’re open all summer long,” says Kehler, adding that they’re getting ready for the big fall run of cattle.
Grunthal’s auction businesses won’t be adjusting their commitment to customer service, either. In a community where reputation and word of mouth are paramount, the personal touch remains the surest key to success.
“I’m excited to be part of an organization that can bring a service to the community,” says Kehler. “I’m always blown away by our local community and the people that are in and who put their trust in us.”
He directs anyone interested in booking an auction to call 204-434-6519. The Grunthal Auction Service and Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart websites also have additional information for prospective buyers and sellers.