On Oct. 9, Reed Nord, of Ririe, was inducted into the Idaho Association of Professional Auctioneers Hall of Fame in Boise.
No one was more surprised than Nord himself.
“It was a real honor and accomplishment,” Nord said. “My wife, and my kids all knew but I didn’t know until that night. It was a real surprise.”
The IAPA was organized in 1970. It celebrates marketing by auction and stresses the importance of upholding professional standards of fairness to clients, the public and other professionals, according to the Idaho Association of Professional Auctioneers website.
Nord became an auctioneer in 1981 after graduating from an auctioneer school in Billings, Mont. He’d been doing tax work, and had clerked for an area auctioneer. But following graduation, the job he planned to return to fell through. He and wife, Gaylia, regrouped and along with Gale and Judy Harding, also of Ririe, they struck out on their own. They organized High County Auction in 1981, and Harding and Associates in 1996.
“We’ve had to change with the times, but we’ve been successful for 40 years,” Nord said. “We’ve learned from our mistakes, and have had to be inventive with each event. Living on a farm has its advantages. I believe in being informed and standing for what you believe. I seek out as much information as I can.”
Together, and with their relationships with farmers, the company built the business from the ground up, handling everything from pictures, to advertising, to clerking and cashiering. In addition to real estate, they’ve sold, farm and construction equipment, estates, furniture, lights and electrical, and have held benefit auctions.
“We were doing well, and going along really good,” Nord said.
But when computers and the World Wide Web offered new marketing opportunities in the early 2000s, what Nord saw as a hurdle, Gaylia saw it as an opportunity.
“I had no savvy with computers; I could turn one on and get my email,” Nord said. “Gaylia told me, ‘If we don’t go with computers, we might as well hang it up and forget it.’ ”
Gaylia was correct, and the business took another leg up, in spite of challenges during the internet’s early years. Another challenge was the cost of advertising, which can be in the $20,000-plus range annually.
“Here’s what my wife has taught me, ‘Advertising is like fertilizer, if you don’t spend money to advertise, you won’t get the return,’ ” Nord said.
Auctions are organized in a variety of ways. Nord prefers holding them in a centralized location where buyers bid in person, while others can bid online.
“I like an all-live auction. It takes more money, and time to prepare, but everyone bids at the same time,” Nord said.
Today, Nord and Gaylia have their own auction business, called Potato State Auctions. They also continue to do business with the Hardings. In 2016, Nord, a former Jefferson County assessor, auctioned six different properties that sold for market value or more, he said.
“Auctions are in their infancy here. In the Midwest, 70 percent of farms and ranches are sold at auction. The auction method creates an event which people react positively to,” he said.