Monday, June 30, 2014

June Elkhorn Flea Market Report

The June Antique Market is in the books-and it is Monday morning and time for coffee and reflection.  It was one of the better Elkhorns for us.

Hot hot hot on set up on Saturday.  We observed while waiting in line to get in for set up that there were several dealers who were setting up for the first time.  That is a good thing for shoppers--you know the merchandise will not be picked over, and they may not be quite up to speed on pricing and bargains can be had.

We set up in North Hall and continue to really like that venue.  The size, good lighting, concrete floors and proximity to the "conveniences" make for a great location.  We had very strong sales on Saturday during set up.  It rained overnight--but being in a secure building makes that of no concern to us.  Early Sunday morning while walking around ahead of official opening--I did notice plenty of people wiping off soggy furniture.  Just can't understand that.  We care too much about our merchandise to want it to get rained on and ruined.

It always takes awhile for folks to get to coming inside--but our sales were steady and we were very pleased.  Actually it tied our best Elkhorn ever.  Early shopping on Saturday--when the public can get in for $25.00 a person instead of $5.00 on Sunday was lighter in number of people--but the folks were buying.

The crowds were amazing.  While June is traditionally the smallest of the four markets in number of dealers--that did not diminish the crowd this time

Next Elkhorn is August 10th.  We will be bringing all fresh merchandise that we will be accumulating over the next month.

Good sales and good Chinese food at Moy's in Elkhorn--make us happy dealers this month.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Few Reflections After Visiting Some Area Antique Shops

I am mentioning no names.
I am posting no pictures.
You are just going to have to trust me on this.

Beautiful day of poking around by myself as a reward to a full previous day of cleaning house.  The introvert that I am means I am either poking around with Dear Husbola.  Or by myself.  Now--just a few random thoughts.  This was a by myself kind of poking day.  Now my random reflections.

--Shops that used to be in business--are frequently no longer in business.  For me, in northern Illinois--the majority of my favorite past haunts are no longer in business.

--There are shops that should be out of business that are still in business.

--There are a few shops I visited that still have items in the same location they have been in for years.  Sometimes MANY years.

--Not sure where the unusual things are anymore--at any price--but they are not in the shops I visit.  It seems that there is a larger accumulation than ever of common, mass produced, see them everyplace items.  YAWN.

--Reproductions and brand new items abound in shops.  My eyes glaze over this stuff.

--Gas is almost 4 bucks a gallon.  Too much money to spend running around to mediocre shops with mediocre merchandise.

--There are no roads in northern Illinois that do not have some kind of construction project going on.  That will be a good thing--but it is not now.

--Sullivan's grocery in Marengo has great rotisserie chickens for $4.99.  Kleins in Elgin has beautiful purple asparagus.  Hubb's Nursery in Marengo has great perennials that attract bees and are deer resistant. ( we'll see...)

--Antiques purchased?  None.  But supper is sure to be a winner tonight.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Grocery Store or Antique Shop???

If you asked me that question 20 years ago--our answer hand's down would have been Antique Shop.  If given then choice then, 9 times out of 10 we would have chosen to explore antiques rather than groceries.

Twenty years fast forward--the answer is a bit different.  Our answer could be "well that depends."  Today if asked--as incredible as that sounds--we would pick grocery store.  Nothing gives you a local feeling in a foreign land as much as exploring a neighborhood grocery store--and picking up a few things to bring back home.

Antiques stores these days--at least the ones we come across overseas-- are filled with over priced, sometimes interesting things--but things that we have no interest in buying.  The taste of our customers has changed--they do not want what we see overseas.  Nor would they pay the price.

But grocery stores???  Check out the spice aisle.  Check out the condiments.  Stores are filled with local specialties that you can bring home through customs without worry.  No--you cannot bring specialist raw milk cheeses, or fresh deli items.  But you can bring Seville orange marmalade,  unfiltered spanish olive oil,  or a bottle of dried wild mushrooms.(vacuum packed)
Or how about Fleur de Sel that has the label and name of the person who harvested it??  NOTHING is better than a fresh heirloom tomato sandwich on grilled bread, with a little mayo and sprinkling of fleur de sel.  It allows a little bit of France in your kitchen when the price of an airplane ticket is not in the budget.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Old Lilacs

The internet is full of bloggers this spring who are so happy to it finally being Spring and Almost Summer, that they fill their blogs with garden pictures.

This posting is not one of those.

I finally planted my "Promises to be a Reblooming Lilac" and it better be or I will be be most unhappy.

I have also uncovered a wonderful American oil painting on canvas of lilacs.

It is large and framed under glass--which I really like because then it will not get dusty or discolored.
I have also checked my 1848 Language of Flowers book and the lilac is "First Emotion of Love".  A small snippet of Byron follows.  Byron was always so over the top on his poetry--a bit too mercurial for me-- but the Byron writes, "When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past, For years fleet away with the wings of the dove--The dearest remembrance will still be the last; Our sweetest memorial, the first kiss of love."

I prefer the poetry about the actual lilac and not spent passion that my fellow blogger and friend Carol includes on a recent blog--a lilac poem by Walt Whitman.  You can pop over to her blog-- she fills it with art and cooking and sewing.

The painting is a knockout.  Available for $195.  Unless it lives in our house for awhile.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm Starting to Like the 21st Century

OK, you got me.

No more ranting about smartphones and technology and time wasting.  Promise.  You got me.

We recently did the first Elkhorn Antique Market at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn Wisconsin.  We set up in the North Hall--close to the restrooms and steps away from Lion's Club bratwurst as regular readers will remember from previous blogs.

We sold well.  And we owe it to technology.

It used to be that folks would ask sheepishly  if they could take a photo of something in our booth with a digital camera.  Usually they were going to check with someone else and maybe make a purchase down the road.  Then the requests were made--but pictures were taken with smartphones.  Then the requests stopped and photos were just snapped.

Snap away folks.  This past Elkhorn, two people took photos, sent texts to decision makers and purchases were made--all in the span of about 4 minutes.

Credit cards.  It used to be a pain and great expense to have all the widgets necessary to take credit cards.  No more.  We got SQUARE.  The fabulous little thingie-ma-bob that you snap on your IPAD (YES, we have one!) download the app and in a New York Minute you can process a transaction from any credit card and the money is deposited directly in your checking account.  If we had not been SQUARE at Elkhorn--we would have missed out on several hundred dollars of sales.

The Old Dog and Dear Husbola have learned a few new tricks.

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...