Remember back not that long ago when community came together at Farmer Brown's farmyard for his auction sale, and two auction rings would rotate throughout the yard, the larger equipment featured in one ring, and the smaller pallets and bundles in the second ring?
And who can forget the conversations with your neighbors over the burger, pie, and coffee! Or a friend you haven't seen for some time! "How's it goin'? How're the kids?"
Covid-19 changed all that!
With auction services scrambling to share sale details online, little did we know at the time that would be the new normal.
Dwayne and Chris Leslie farm near Poplar Point, MB and were avid attendees to auction sales. Once everything went online, the Leslie's merged with the rest of society in following the auction website catalogues and bidding wars.
And through his own personal frustration of staying on top of his own bids on multiple websites, Dwayne developed aucteeno.com, where thousands of items are featured, can be bid on at any time and across dozens of different websites, all on your own personal 'watch list'.
"We developed aucteeno.com based on my frustration as a farmer trying to keep track of all the upcoming items since the evolution of the auction industry during Covid and post Covid," shares Leslie.
Pre-Covid we knew which town, which auction, and what time the week's line up of auction sales was at the start of the week, to schedule your travels based on your interests, and what items you've been looking for, or what neighbor you want to support.
"During Covid and post-Covid everything was online and now the problem is trying to remember that I need to be on a certain website on Tuesday when that item is closing," explains Leslie.
"So, we put out this website to aggregate the data from as many auctioneer platforms as possible and give people the opportunity to go through it all in one place and create their own ultimate watchlist of auction items. And then the morning that an item is closing on that specific day, say Tuesday, you'd get that email that says, 'this online auction is closing today and don't forget to go bid on it.'"
Let's say you're looking for a Case IH 9120 combine. You can set up your own personal watch list for that specific piece of equipment on multiple auction platforms all through the aucteeno website, and then be reminded when that bid is closing to get in on the last leg of that bid.
One might think that a personal auction sale would bring in more money for the home/farm owner. However, Leslie says when neighbor bids against neighbor for a pallet of goods, potentially the item might get sold at a lesser price. Now online, the bidding opens up to a much larger community of followers, unknown to each other, and thus makes more money for the auction service's customer, and thus for the auctioneer as well.
"Maybe for that one specific reason, we may never go back, truly, to the live auction that we were all so used to, and our pie and ice-cream that we always looked forward to," he adds.
There's a sense of community loss in those words. Auction sales have traditionally been a favorite way to meet community, friends, and family whom we haven't seen for some time. A community auction sale was in some ways a celebration of a life lived well, where friends and neighbors supported the one who was selling his goods, and walking home with a keepsake of that family's - and the item was more than often put to good use at the same time!
For the Leslie family, aucteeno.com went live about 2 weeks ago and has already attracted a strong following from both auction service organizations and auction sale followers.
"So, we're doing a lot of aggregation and reaching out to a lot of different companies that we know, setting up our API's to support the data, and build this out as fast as possible!"
Leslie says the past two weeks has been great with over 2700 items on the website that are searchable, with more coming on throughout this week, with potentially bring that number up to 25,000. The western Canada market is just the start. They see the entire country of Canada to soon follow, with US not far behind that.
Aucteeno was Runner Up at Manitoba Ag Day's Innovation Showcase in the Ag Technology category this week at the Keystone Centre.
Please listen to more with Dwayne Leslie below!