The word 'auction' could bring to mind a few things ... coffee on a Saturday morning, tongue twisting, fast-talking auctioneers or hanging around for hours on end, eyeballing one item.
Traditional auctions are still around, but now there are also other options.
Two Detroit Lakes men are taking the old-as-time idea of an auction and pairing it with an easy-as-pie method of online bidding.
Kent and Glen Disse, owners of SpaceMan Storage just outside of Detroit Lakes, are affiliates of an online auction company called "do-bid.com."
"It's a cross between a traditional Saturday auction and eBay," said Kent Disse.
A few things make it different from online auction giant eBay.
First, sellers and buyers are local - usually the northern half of Minnesota or surrounding areas.
Second, the site is run through auction professionals instead of individuals.
Third, items are not limited by size, because shipping is not always the method of delivery.
"Every time we have an auction, we drive to the other sites to deliver and pick up items for our customers."
The Disse brothers man the Detroit Lakes site, working in conjunction with sites in Hermantown, Buhl, and Walker.
"So, if you are here in DL, but want to bid on something in Duluth or Walker, we can pick it up and haul it here for you," said Glen Disse.
The Disses say they don't charge a lot for delivery, as long as they recover their fuel costs.
Also unlike eBay, bidders on go-bid.com cannot sneak a bid in at the very last minute because everytime there is a bid on an item, the auction continues for three more minutes.
But while it's quite different from eBay, it also has benefits not seen with traditional auctions.
"This is the new way to do it because it's showcasing your items in front of thousands of people vs. waiting on a Saturday, and 50 people show up because it's cold and raining," said Kent Disse.
Not only are weather issues a moot point, but so are space issues.
Traditionally somebody wanting to auction their things off would have to provide the space and parking for the event and hire an auctioneer.
With do-bid.com, the Spacemen have ... well, space.
"Sellers can bring their stuff to us, and we can hold it here. If it's big items, we might hold a special auction just for them, otherwise we'll stick it on a consignment sale," said Kent Disse.
A typical auction will go for two weeks, during which time the Spacemen will set the items out at their facility so that people can come in and physically view them during certain times.
They say they usually have anywhere from 300 to 600 items on every sale, from five or six different sellers.
"We'll get items that sort of fit together and have one big auction. For instance, we had a bunch of hunting and fishing equipment, so we put it together and had a sportsman sale or we'll have a furniture sale ... but usually we end up with a little bit of everything on each sale," said Kent Disse.
Over the past year they have been involved with do-bid.com, the Spacemen have done business liquidations, estate sales, and various consignment sales, which they say happen every two to four weeks, depending on how much merchandise they get in.
Otherwise, if a seller has several items to get rid of, they can opt for the auction to be run from their own place.
"In that case, we'll just go right there and set up a couple of viewing times for the public, and we'll have someone there to show things off, and then we'll ship everything off from there," said Kent Disse.
Steve Kaldahl of Vergas was leery of selling his convertible online after hearing Internet horror stories.
"I don't do the Internet. I don't even have a computer. You always hear about people buying or selling things online and then you get there and it's a hoax or doesn't even exist," said Kaldahl. "But once I heard this was with a secured check and I wouldn't be out anything, I put my convertible on there."
Kaldahl put a minimum bid of $2,500 on the car, and was pleasantly surprised when he got $4,000 for it.
This means Kaldahl is going, going, going, "sold" on the Spacemen and do-bid.com.
"It worked out pretty slick, so now I have my 1963 jeep and two snowmobiles on there," said Kaldahl.
Out of the $4,000 Kaldahl received for the car, he took home $3,450, with the rest going to advertising and commission for the Spacemen.
There are no upfront costs to sellers, but commission can be anywhere from 5 percent to 35 percent, depending on the item.
"If it's a bigger, more expensive item, then we take less commission," said Disse.
Advertising costs are also lower for sellers because much of it is done through direct marketing and email blasts.