Fargo – Some folks call it nicer than eBay.
Fargo Liquidators, 1501 1st Ave S., is a full-service auction house specializing in consignment auctions, business liquidation, estate sales, and everything in between. The company is thriving and growing, especially with the coronavirus pandemic shift to online shopping.
Owner Michael Nygaard said the company used to be part of a Minneapolis, Minn.-based franchise, but in July they went out on their own.
“Most of our bidders and buyers come from within about 100 miles of where we’re at,” Nygaard said. “We wanted to focus on where we’re at. This is where our bread and butter is from.”
Dean Johnson, a Fargo resident who has been a customer since Fargo Liquidators opened, said they’ve always been simple and easy to deal with.
“That’s the best part about it,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of like what eBay was meant to be. It isn’t as commercialized as eBay. It’s much nicer.”
Part of what’s nicer is the people who run it.
“They really try to help people,” Johnson said.
With most general merchandise, Fargo Liquidators gets a 28% cut, but with more expensive items that might vary. Nygaard said they’ll work with the consignors to get it right.
“The more we make for you,” he said, “the more we make for ourselves.”
If items don’t sell, he said, the consignor has the option to pick it up, or the company will donate it locally. Right now they have a 95% to 98% sales rate.
They’re continually posting new auctions. When auctions are at the Fargo warehouse, the sale starts to close on Mondays at 7 p.m. Off-site auctions vary and the terms are listed in each sale. A typical sale will run between 11 to 15 days, Nygaard said. If someone places a bid in the last three minutes of the sale, the clock will add another three minutes.
“This gives the other bidders a chance to respond with another bid if they wish,” he said. “It is common practice on most auction sites other than eBay.”
It’s been a whopping success.
Fargo Liquidators has been around since 2012. They used to be in a 2,500-square foot space on Seventh Avenue North, but business has been so good they now have a 5,000 square-foot warehouse on First Avenue South.
It’s a family-owned operation.
“My brother and myself are the two main ones here,” Nygaard said, “[and] a couple of our nephews. Our folks are involved. Then we have a couple of different part-timers who have been with us for six or seven years, as well.”
Live auctions aren’t the only option.
“With live auctions, you’ve got to get 100-plus people together in a certain area at a certain time,” he said. “Here, I don’t care if you sit at home at 2 a.m. drinking a beer in your underwear. It doesn’t matter to us.”
A “buy it now” feature will soon be added to their website.
“We’ve got a contract with a local big box store,” he said. “I can’t tell you who it is, because of our contract. But, most people figure it out if they look at the merchandise.”
Any opened-packaged merchandise, which can’t be left on the sales floor, comes to Fargo Liquidators, as well as last year’s models and products with package label changes.
“We just got a pallet of Life cereal,” Nygaard said, “because it now says “new family size” on the new boxes, and the boxes they had on their floor doesn’t. And, it’s still good for another six months. Nothing wrong with it.”
They get an average of five to 10 televisions per week, he said. Household items, collectibles, antiques, you name it and Fargo Liquidators is likely to have it sooner or later. They even offer cars, motor homes, RVs and boats. It’s all on display at their warehouse.
“That is one of things that’s doing a lot for our business right now,” he said. “People can come into our store and just buy it right now. Walk out the door. So, it’s not an auction process. That was something that most other platforms do not have.”
It’s part of being able to go with the changes times, he said, and that means a move to more online shopping. They offer fast shipping, but folks can also stop by the warehouse and pick up their items themselves.
It’s not with only difference from other popular online auction sites.
“With our stuff, we’re open Monday through Friday, you can come in any time during that and look at what you’re bidding on,” he said.
When COVID-19 hit, business really took off, he said. Many people found themselves at home, either cleaning out their homes or filling them up. That has translated into a lot of traffic for Fargo Liquidators.
“We’re just constantly pumping out auctions,” Nygaard said.
WHAT: Fargo Liquidators
WHERE: 1501 1st Ave S., Fargo