MANKATO — Eric Weiss hopes an online auction business that allows people to drop off and pick up items locally will catch on like it has in other communities.
"There's a lot of them around. There's four of these in Faribault, in Owatonna. We decided there's a need for one in Mankato," said Eric Weiss of BidKato.com.
The business is at 777 South Victory Drive, near Highway 83.
People wanting to sell items can bring them to the business — they have limited hours now but will move to regular hours in the near future. Sellers pay a $1 or $3 listing fee and pay a 10 percent commission based on the sale price of the item. Bidders create an account on the website and can then bid in auctions, which have a specific closing time and date. Successful bidders can pick items up at the end of each auction and pay a 10 percent buyers premium.
"It's an easy way to buy things. You don't have to mess with CraigsList and you don't have to pay the shipping on eBay and you can come and see items if you want."
BidKato.com is in the midst of its second auction and Weiss said the number of bidders and number of items for auction will increase as time goes on. "Right now we're focusing on building up our bidder base."
All the items for auction are shown on the website, but people who want to see things in person can check the viewing days and hours on the website and visit the business.
Weiss, of Owatonna, has worked with online auctions for years, buying and selling, as have his Mankato parents Bob and Becky Weiss. The three, plus a fourth investor, own BidKato.
Besides selling consigned items, auctions will feature things the owners have purchased at storage auctions, liquidation auctions and elsewhere.
As the business gets anchored, Weiss said they also will move into selling estates and doing auctions for businesses. He also wants to work with local charities that want to have auctions as fundraisers.
Weiss said they take items in good condition that are likely to sell for $15 or more. There are some items they won't take, including old couches, beds and entertainment centers. "We just know from experience those won't sell."
Currently, they can't sell firearms but are working on getting the necessary licenses to do so. They can, however, sell ammunition.
Next spring they hope to be set up to sell automobiles.
"The most popular things are tools, sporting goods, man cave things, home decorative things and nice furniture."
He said people can call (387-7600) if they have questions about items they want to sell.
BidKato.com is having an open house from 3-7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
"We just want people to stop in and learn about it. It's new here, so we just want people to get comfortable with it and educate them."