Most of you are aware that I'm an antique dealer, but may not know some of the specifics. Right now I have two rented "booths" at the Antiques Market of Williamston (we'll call it AMW for brevity), and two booths at the Livingston Antique Outlet (LAO) in Howell, Michigan. I'd love for you to visit sometime, and I guarantee it will be interesting and fun. On March 26, the AMW is having a March Madness sale. That would be a great time to come, as we are offtering a total mall sale (15% off all merchandise) and free refreshments. And for even more of an incentive, the mall will be open extended hours, till 8:00, and from 6:00 to 8:00 the discount will go up to 20%!
When I spend time out and about, I'm surprised at how many folks haven't been to an antique mall, and don't understand what antique malls are. Maybe they are into "thrifting" or going to flea markets, but haven't made the leap to antique malls yet. I'll bet you can think of some people that haven't had the pleasure of the antique mall experience. Will you help me by taking them by the hand, literally if need be, and walking them through it? Or, (gasp), maybe you haven't had your own antique mall adventure. Let's go! We'll start at the AMW.
The Antiques Market of Williamston is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Before we enter the antique mall, let me clear up one misconception. You don't need to know anything about antiques to enter. Don't be afraid that one of the Keno brothers from the Antiques Roadshow is going to run up and start quizzing you about furniture characteristics of the Greek Revival period. You can just walk around and look at stuff, and I guarantee it will only be a matter of minutes before you see something that reminds you of your Grandma, and you'll exclaim to your shopping partner: "My grandma had one of these!". You've now become a "Grammahadit". Grammahadits and the similar Mommahadits are just as welcome in the antique mall as anyone else, so let's keep walking, OK?
Check out this awesome space at AMW that Christie and Richard have created. I love the sign in the upper right corner that has the cow portrait and "Bovinol Spray Drives Flies Away":
An antique "mall" is a shopping mall devoted to antiques and collectibles. The owner of the business and/or building rents out space within the building to antique dealers, usually by renting out the space in square feet. A typical booth might be 12' x 12', and cost $250 per month. Often, there is an additional fee such as a percentage of total sales ( 10% is common), or a work requirement (working as a clerk in the store several times per month). The various dealers price all of their own things, asking whatever they wish, and mark the tags with their own assigned dealer number. At the end of the pay period, the mall owner issues each dealer a check with their sales total.
I refer to this booth as my "Pink Booth" in Williamston:
For those of you into "thrifting", may I suggest you "thrift" your way through the antique malls too? Contrary to what some may believe, antique malls don't just sell expensive antiques. You will find deals and bargains in just about any antique mall. I always do, and I'm looking to buy things at a wholesale price! Many dealers price their goods according to how much they paid for the items, so if they got a deal on something, you get a deal too! And these folks have experience, connections, and the knowledge to dig up great stuff from many sources.
Dealers Rich and Denny have their space at AMW filled with cool mid-century objects, like these aluminum drinking glasses:
The beauty of antique malls, for dealers, is that we don't have to be there for our things to sell. There is staff on duty every day, waiting on customers and writing up sales. The beauty for buyers, besides clean restrooms, ample parking, and sometimes a cafe or refreshments, is that you will find a huge collection of antiques and collectibles under one roof. The sellers might offer the gamut from vintage clothing and accessories to sports collectibles, from jewelry to man stuff like vintage tools, from porcelain and glass table ware to furniture representing each decade since the mid-1800's.
This old wagon with blue paint is offered by Sally Arnold:
This booth is my second space at the Antiques Market of Williamston. I want shoppers to find affordabe things they can use to add flair to their decor. I don't have anything really rare or outrageously expensive in this booth. Just good stuff for good people:
I loved this heavily embossed toffee tin, and it sold right away. This is an example of something you might want to buy just because you like the way it looks, not because you are an expert in the collecting category of advertising tins:
Another fabulous find at the AMW is this rubber band store display:
Visiting a book dealer is an education in itself. At AMW, this dealer has a collection of "Oz" stories, some written by L. Frank Baum, the originator and author of the Wizard of Oz, and some by other authors, like this "Scalawagons of Oz", by John R. Neal. I love the fanciful cover art on "Scalawagons":
Mall owner Bob Rogers has a general store setup where he sells all sorts of vintage household products, tools, advertising, and old store goods:
Now let's look around the Livingston Antiques Outlet, located on Burkhart Road in Howell, Michigan.
I was attracted to this colorful tin full of thread at LAO:
I'm pretty sure I had a shovel like this when I was a kid. The handle kept coming off during shoveling, as I recall, sending the metal part flying. I almost decapitated my dog with it! Tin litho toys and tools for kids were often left in the damp garage or outside and rusted, making some of these things quite valuable now:
This LAO dealer is on the ball, removing Valentine stuff and bringing in fresh green goodies in preparation for St. Patrick's Day:
Many dealers have created a completly unique look in their booths, and you can get "free" decorating ideas from them. Here's a very beautiful, feminine booth at LAO:
Colorful tin litho tops are affordable and make a fun collection:
I love the droll expression on these space man syrup bottles:
I was so intent on taking pictures around LAO, I forgot to photograph my own booths! I guess I'll show you one I took last summer:
Let's wrap up our antique mall visits here in my LAO booth, which happens to be right by the restrooms. This is prime real estate. The restrooms are the busiest space in any antique mall, at least that's what I've observed. Thanks for taking a tour of the malls, y'all!