When Stettler’s Rairdan family took over the Stettler Auction Mart in October 2016, they wanted to ensure that the business, which has been operating since 1953, stayed a part of the local community.
“We’ve been involved in the Auction Mart all our lives, and that’s one of the reasons we bought it, to keep it going and keep it in the community,” said Gary Rairdan, Auction Mart president.
Six months after taking on the business, the Rairdans have already made some changes to the way the business is run, and are starting to see some positive results.
“We use a lot of different tools to market cattle,” Rairdan said. “For large numbers, we have in-house video where we go out and film the cattle and then sell them on a screen.”
While this service is something that was already in place when the Rairdans took over the business, the family has now added to their online business by joining The Electronic Auction Market (TEAM), an online, interactive marketplace that brings together cattle buyers and cattle sellers through the power of the internet.
In addition, the Rairdans have rolled out a “brand new, state-of-the-art website” for the auction mart, where buyers and sellers can find information about upcoming sales, access market reports, and find more information about the livestock for sale.
The expanded agricultural supplies store is something the Rairdan family brought in as well.
“The auction mart and the agricultural supplies store work hand-in-hand,” Rairdan explained. “We’ve expanded the agricultural supplies store, and are going to expand it more.”
Due in part to the agricultural supplies side of the business, the auction mart now conducts a lot of business using social media.
“We market a lot of cattle and a lot of our agricultural supplies on Facebook,” Rairdan said.
This trend towards using social media and other online marketing tools is something Rairdan is seeing at many other auction houses as well, but at the end of the day, the heart of the business remains the weekly cattle auction, which takes place on Tuesdays at 9 a.m.
“All of the other tools are good for marketing cattle, but an auction mart system is how cattle prices are established,” Rairdan explained.
These weekly auctions mean that the auction mart has continued to be a major player in the local economy, not just in setting livestock prices but also in bringing people to town to frequent other businesses, according to Rairdan.
Although the business may be changing in some ways, the Rairdans are also committed to keeping the auction mart tradition alive.
“Everybody knows the Rairdan family,” Rairdan said. “We’ve been here since 1902.” And now, Rairdan continued, the family is “here for the long haul.”