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CNH retiree creates website bringing retailers to consumers

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RACINE — A year after retiring, a local man has built an online business he thinks will help both shoppers and local retailers.

Scott Pedersen, who spent a career working in CNH Industrial’s parts area, has just begun a soft opening with his web-based Ask Bid Sale. He calls his website a “unique way of getting local retailers to come to the consumers.”

He said Askbidsale.com will only deal in consumer items designed to last two to seven years, usually costing in the hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars, such as tires, dishwashers, power tools, grills and lawn mowers.

The company name outlines the process:

Ask — After signing in, the shopper indicates an item, quantity and can add a message.

“You can add what matters to you,” Pedersen said. For example, someone buying a snowblower may want the old one hauled away. Or someone shopping for a refrigerator might require the old one to be moved to the basement.

Bid — Subscribing retailers within 30 miles of the shopper’s ZIP code will be emailed that a bid has been requested, then will go to the site to get it. They have 72 hours to bid.

Sale — The shopper gets a list of the bids to review.

The website is free to consumers; Pedersen said he’ll make his money on subscription fees from retailers who will get a password for the site.

Pedersen believes the shopper’s ability to mention special desires will help locally owned businesses compete with big-box stores.

Similarly, he said a local retailer can add something extra to make its bid more attractive — perhaps, with a set of tires, a free oil change or alignment at cost.

“Or two tickets to Summerfest; who cares?” Pedersen added. The point is the ability to sweeten a bid that might not win on price alone.

An idea is born

Pedersen got his idea in 2008 shopping for two air conditioners. He knew from research just what he wanted and was going to drive to Milwaukee — but decided to email retailers instead. On a Sunday, he emailed 11 retailers.

“Before I went to bed, seven came back.” By the time Pedersen got home from work that Monday, all 11 had responded.

“I said, ‘I have something here.’ ”

Pedersen bought locally and paid “a little more” than the lowest bid. But it was worth it to him; the retailer carried away his old air conditioners and he saved gas, time and stress.

He slowly built his company while still working, then hit the accelerator after he retired. He’s currently testing his website though not marketing it to consumers yet.

Pedersen hasn’t decided how many retailers he’ll take for each merchandise category but said it will be limited.

“I don’t want the website cluttered. … I don’t want more than one page (of bids); no one’s going to go past that.”

Next steps

So far, Pedersen said, he only has small numbers of retailers, and just from the Racine area. He plans to add Kenosha and Oak Creek next.

By about January he hopes to start building a separate territory in Milwaukee, or even two. Ask Bid Sale will grow one shopping territory at a time, he said.

“As consumers ask for more categories,” he added, “I’ll go find retailers for them.”

Retailers who do make a sale via Askbidsale.com shouldn’t stop there, Pedersen said. “I’m sending the customer to you; now it’s your job to keep them coming back.”

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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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