Refurnished Thoughts

Discover Vintage America - MARCH 2019

Let the Shows Begin!

by Leigh Elmore

No doubt I am in good company in wanting to say goodbye to winter. This one has been a lot more bitter than many we've endured in recent years. Another winter storm is bearing down on us as I write this in mid-February. March is certainly approaching as a lion.

But, just as the maple sap rises with each brief warm spell, I do sense the season's change, if only through the number of show ads and listings that are published in Discover Vintage America, the increase of which surely signals the emergence of spring. Throughout our readership area, from Des Moines to Little Rock and St. Louis to Tulsa, antique and collectible merchants are busily preparing for the spring shows and a renewed sense of market vitality.

We encourage all our readers to take the time to get out and support the antique and vintage trade in your local areas. National trends are still bearish on the traditional tastes in antiques, or at least a lot of them. The big picture can look depressing if you're still trying to run the kind of antique and vintage business that your parents did – with rooms of antiques trying to evoke an image of a bygone way of life. However, nimble dealers have recognized the changing demographics of potential customers. Their tastes should serve as guideposts for folks selling in this market – beacons for what's going to be saleable in the near term.

In local markets, it's still a matter of connecting the individual customer with the merchandise and the spring shows are a tried and true exercise in one-on-one marketing with customers. All it takes is one person getting a thrill from a particular item to make that sale, and perhaps even a regular customer.

In Kansas City, the appeal of the antiques district in the West Bottoms continues, even though "fine antiques" are often overlooked for more affordable decorative items. It's all representative of the public's changing tastes. The bottoms will be filled with hundreds of customers when the first weekend of the month rolls around. The food trucks will line the streets. Crowds will bustle about. It's a scene we hope will continue for many years to come.

Throughout the Midwest, it seems like local governments and chambers of commerce recognize the enduring appeal of antiques and collectibles and are providing support for public shows and sales in conjunction with civic events.

The organic growth of the antiques trade in this historic and overlooked part of Kansas City has helped to revive an entire urban district. In fact, planners from other cities are looking to Kansas City's example, with the hope of creating something similar in their own towns.
Meanwhile, let the shows begin!

Leigh Elmore can be contacted at
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