By Giovanna Marcus
Chastity Clark and Lisa Larsen, co-owners of Pacific Northwest Auction Services, are not just fast talkers. They also provide a valuable service for families in need—those facing difficult decisions regarding their treasured belongings, or exhaustion while trying to move onto the next phase of their lives.
“Many people come to us when they’ve had a family member pass or need to move into assisted living and they don’t know what to do. We give them options, money to help pay for expenses, and mostly, stress relief,” says Clark. “When things are cleaned out, they have a huge relief and a check for things they didn’t think was anything but junk.”
The auctions themselves are exceedingly lively, with ample humor and excitement creating such a unique entertainment experience that many couples have said that going to the auctions has become their date nights—with an added bonus of getting to take home something new.
Based in Shelton, Pacific Northwest Auction Services has been in business since January, and has already cultivated a large following of up to 150 people in attendance at an auction. They’re also putting technology to good use—the auctions are broadcast via the internet, so that hundreds more from South Wales to Italy have a chance to bid alongside those attending in person. Business has been so successful that they’re already in the planning stages for a second location to open in early 2015. Their email list has grown to over 700 in less than a year. The people, it seems, have caught the auction bug.
The auctioneers themselves are quickly distinguishing themselves in their industry. Clark and Larsen are both 40-year-old women in a profession generally run by men decades older. Clark has colorful tattoos down one arm and her spunk and talent has landed her accolades and awards in Northwest auction competitions. In 2012, she was second runner-up, while last year she was first runner-up. That’s quite impressive given that this year she was trumped only by another auctioneer who has been auctioneering for 17 years while she’s been in the game only for six. Co-owner Larsen has auctioneers in her family and she’s been around auctions her entire life.
“Many people have this business in their family blood,” says Clark, who claims to have fallen in love with auctioneering by accident when designing a website for another auction company. She then went on to graduate from Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in High Point, NC, one of just a few such schools in the country.
Clark and Larsen offer free consultations where they can come into a home and help sort through what’s feasible for auction. Since they work on commission, they have the customer’s best interest in mind. “It’s a much more personal service than eBay, where you’re dealing with a cold computer. We get to showcase items and tell the story behind them,” says Clark.
Auctions are held four to six times a month, depending on the season, at either the gallery in Shelton, WA, or on site when an entire estate is for sale along with the land itself. One of the things that sets apart Pacific Northwest Auction Service is their attention to detail when setting up the gallery. Clark and Larsen go to great lengths to create a beautiful spread of items ranging from firearms to coins to jewelry, and everything in between.
The international live cast auctions especially ensures that consigners get the best price for their antiques. A recent customer came to PNW Auctioneers nervous about parting with a valuable collectable—a rare WWII leg brace. She was afraid no one would know what they were, and was so overjoyed when she got her check for the item that she called to thanked them. “She was so glad that someone else fell in love with those pieces,” said Clark.
PNW Auction Service is involved in influencing the world of auctioning. Clark is 2nd Vice President of the Washington Auctioneers Association Board of Directors, and they are members of the National Auctioneers Association. PNW Auction Services also values giving back to the community, holding benefit auctions to fundraise for various organizations.
“People are always surprised by the scope of what we do and the time we save them, the stress released. We answer their questions and know which direction to go. There’s not one set contract we use; we try to mold it to what they need. This is how we decided to build our business,” said Clark.
For more information and to find out when the next auction is visit www.pnwauctioneer.com.