Friday, June 24, 2011

Packing for Elkhorn--The Old Girl Might Turn Over 200,000

The weather forecast says fabulous weather--mid 70s and no rain.  Read that again NO RAIN!  YeeeHaw!!  Time to load and pack for the June 26th edition of the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn Wisconsin.  And I am taking an old friend.

My old friend is a very large, very big, getting rusty old green suburban truck who we have loaded and unloaded with antiques since 1996.  The Old Girl is backed up to the garage and I am assembling a large pile of treasures that will fill our booth in the North Hall of the fairgrounds on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.  It is amazing how much I can pack inside.

I have garden items, french and english decorative smalls, folk art cabinet, wonderful 1950s wrought iron teacart just waiting for someones sun room, vintage fabrics, pillows, and lots of just whimsical STUFF.  I open the garage door and start loading--and stop when I cannot stuff one more thing in the back.  Well-I might leave a bit of room--because I always leave enough space for a few things that I buy on my up to Elkhorn.  The Old Girl might GROAN if I load some concrete garden ornaments, but she doesn't  usually complain as I slam the doors shut and she is stuffed and ready to go.

It may not be on this trip--but she will turn 200,000 some day very soon.  I hope Dear Husbola will be driving because he likes those life milestone kinds of things--in fact--I think he toots the horn when cars turn over a significant number of zeros on the odometer. 

The Old Girl is amazing.  I can't tell you how many times othere dealers have said--:you get all of THAT in a suburban.  Yup--never underestimate the packing skills of a former girl scout and an "almost  eagle scout if he could just have been a better swimmer" antique selling duo.  We stuff it in--and The Old Girl just keeps on chugging.  She is certainly showing her age--rust, wrinkling, fading paint, no air conditioning, and a few stains from a few overturned sodas.

Look out for me this weekend--I am the dealer with that good looking green truck that has some extra zip in her tank this trip--NO CONCRETE!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Madison's Odana Antique Mall Gets It Right

So many antique malls and centers these days DON'T get it right--I am happy to be part of a shop that DOES get it right.

Since February, Dear Husbola and I have had a small space at the Odana Antique Mall on Odana Road on the west side of Madison Wisconsin.  We have had our eye on this shop for several years--and this year was the time to pursue a space--and happily--a small space became available this winter.

This shop gets it right.  The building is a large former furniture store on a busy road.  The shop is owned and managed by women.  Enough said.  They get it.

The shop is carpeted and well lit.  There is spot lighting throughout and can lights that allow the goods to be viewed in a more home light glow--not like a surgical theater.  There are no huge rows of locked cases.  Cases are sprinkled throughout--and dealers can have them in their booths if they wish.  The shopper's eyes do not glaze over with rows and rows of them.  We think the trend is booths without cases--so we have chosen not to have any in our booth.

The shop owner and key staff Sue, Sharon and Amy work hard at making eye catching attractive displays at the front of the shop as you walk in.  With permission, they pull items from dealer's booths, and create bright seasonal or themed displays that frequently change.

The air conditioning works and the music is upbeat and sometimes quirky and NOT intrusive. Plenty of parking.  Easy to find. (off the beltline between Whitney Way and Gammon Road on Odana Road)  Good and good again.

The collection of dealers is varied--there are antiques and vintage that goes from 19th century to mid 20th century.  You can find a $1.00 postcard or a fabulous victorian cast iron garden bench for over $1000.  The furniture throughout is country to victorian finished to shabby from garden to books to lighting to arts and crafts to industrial.

We do have a horrible problem there.  When we come up to stock our space--we have sold items as we are unpacking, and well as the next day.  OH DEAR.  What this means is TRAFFIC.  And buying traffic.  We love it.  Our booth  today has everything from artwork to garden  to a fabulous library standing globe to folk art furniture-to lodge look items-and from cottage look to finished.  We love the ecclectic look and it sells well for us.

Well run shops are hard to find these days.  Shops dedicated to keeping up standards and filling dealers vacancies quickly and promoting themselves are rare.  Make a trip to Odana--you will not be disappointed.

No More Concrete or Cast Iron Please

Dear One  and I spend many good hours wandering around looking for quirky things to sell.  There is nothing that makes a dealer smile more t...