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At Your Service auction moves to online format

The 2020 Second Annual At Your Service Auction was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Austin Holiday Inn and Conference Center. But because of restrictions put in place by Gov. Tim Walz in response to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, this year’s auction will look different.

“What we’ve done is gone entirely online,” said Gina Grundmeier, co-owner of Dexter-based T’ N G Plumbing.

T’ N G is hosting the auction to help raise funds for its annual Pay It Forward program, which provides free renovation work for deserving individuals who would otherwise be unable to afford it.

Grundmeier turned to Brownsdale-based Aurora Web Solutions for help in getting the auction online in short notice.

“We were very familiar with the work Gina does and Pay It Forward does before we worked with her,” said Wendy Anderson, who co-owns Aurora Web Solutions with her fiancé, Matt Steiner.

Anderson said Aurora Web Solutions set up the Karl Potach online auction and recently helped redo the Pay It Forward website.

With the governor’s restrictions coming only two weeks earlier, time was of the essence to get the At Your Service auction information online.

“We’ve done a lot of work in a two-week period,” Anderson said. “We knew that there would be restrictions, so we were planning for a partial in-person event. We were anticipating a live aspect, but within a few days we had to transition to everything online and coordinate these key players into an online format.”

“I’m an ‘in-person’ person, so switching gears like this is definitely different,” Grundmeier said.

This year’s online auction will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, and will run until 10 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6.

A “live” auction, featuring pre-recorded videos and musical recordings by Whalen and the Willows, will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, on Facebook Live on the 2020 Second Annual Charity at Your Service Auction Facebook page. Grundmeier said people will also be able to witness her husband, Todd Grundmeier, do the Paqui One Chip Challenge, which involves a contestant eating what has been dubbed “the world’s hottest tortilla chip.” Todd is doing the challenge after the prerequisite $200 for him to do so was raised.

Up for auction this year are services from local businesses, clothing items, gift baskets, gift cards and other items. To view and mark your favorite items, visit https://payitforwardinc.betterworld.org/auctions/at-your-service.

“I try to encourage people to remember that this helps fund us generally,” Grundmeier said. “It’s also a good thing for Christmas shopping.”

“We haven’t done anything like this before, but we’re excited to help the benefit out this way,” Anderson said. “We don’t have any other option; it’s either online or not at all. We want to make sure the benefit happens because we know they’re doing great work.”