Joan Babb's artful display
Dealer Mark McKee, first human face featured on our blog!
Just like in real estate, a good location at an antique show is key to good sales. Outside, you need a tent. Period. A little afternoon shade and not too close to the trash cans or restrooms are all pluses on a hot summer afternoon. We also prefer level ground and being reasonably close to a main entrance. Inside, you want to be somewhat in the center of the action -- too close to the door and people move right past you, too far and you feel isolated. We like a corner because it gives better visibility, and long and narrow frontage always beats short and deep. Whether outside or in, we've found that staying in the same location has worked well for us.
And again, just like at home, good neighbors are key. A fun group of dealers with a positive attitude and an interesting mix of product will draw customers and create energy like nothing else. We first noticed this phenomenon at the Allegan Antique Market in Michigan where promoter Larry Woods was a "neighborhood builder." He actively recruited dealers whose product and personalities worked together to fill a previously dead spot in the show (the ground isn't especially level, and it's right next to the bathroom -- see above!) And his technique worked like a charm. Suddenly people were running to get to our "neighborhood" as soon as the show opened, telling us often how much they liked our part of the show. Success!
With the move to the new location at Grayslake, Joe has become a neighborhood builder himself. We've already talked about some of great people we have around us, but let me introduce two more: Joan Babb, of the Potting Shed, in Lake Forest, Illinois, and Mark McKee, of Golden Key Antiques in Howe, Indiana. Joan always has one of the most beautiful booths at a show, full of imagination. The key is her presentation, which she says is due to the influence of her parents' careers, a cross of the artistic with a good dose of German anal retention! This results in lovely objects, all perfectly packaged. Mark's booth is full of funky finds -- mid-century accessories, jewelry, ephemera, furniture and more. Be sure to look under the tables and in every container. I can't tell you how many times I've watched something I'd love to have snatched up walking away in someone else's hands because I didn't look closely enough. Mark is also quite possibly one of the nicest guys in the business. We've enjoyed getting to know Joan's husband, Fred, and Mark's partner, Sherman. Fine guys in their own right! Both Joan and Mark are in e-mail limbo right now, so contact me for their contact info.
Incidentally, there was a record crowd at Wheaton this weekend. Was it the sunny weather? The animal swap meet next door? Well, we're going to go with promoter Bob Zurko's assessment and says it's all about the neighborhoods!