Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy GCADA Dealers
ONLINE — A 600-item online show was mounted by 41 dealers of the Genesee Country Antique Dealers Association (GCADA) July 17-19 on its website at www.antiquesrochester.com.
Chairman of the shows committee Gene Pratt said, “We were scheduled to have our annual show in Mid-March, which was canceled due to Covid. And then we had another annual show scheduled in the middle of June, which was also canceled. In the April timeframe, we had the sense that June wasn’t going to happen, so we thought to create an online show to provide an opportunity for some of our dealers to participate and generate some sales.”
Half of the association’s 82 members participated, the organization comprised of both full time and part time dealers. Pratt reported that folks from all walks of dealing came together to sell in the show. “Many of the dealers don’t have websites, so it helped people out that way. I think in today’s day and age you have to get creative.”
Results were mixed, but that is no different than any show, whether it is in person or not. “Some people sold half of the items that they listed, and some sold none,” Pratt said. “It was a learning experience for folks in terms of what you can expect to sell in an online event. Some things you can sell with pictures, while other things fall into the sort of merchandise that someone needs to pick up, hold and talk about.”
The marketplace itself was organized and managed by William Sherhag of Digital Edge. He reported that he knew of at least 60 sales throughout the weekend with 869 digital visitors to the show and more than 1,600 shopping sessions. The average time per visit was ten minutes. “For almost all of this group, it was their first time selling anything online,” Sherhag said. “I thought the results were outstanding.”
Upon visiting the site, collectors could shop the show by category (Folk Art, Pottery, Textiles, etc) or they could shop the whole thing at once. Contact information was within the listings and any interested buyers could reach out independently to purchase through the dealer.
David Zabriskie, Lake Placid, N.Y., said, “I’ve heard from a lot of other online shows that the results were going to be mediocre, but I sold five things and I’m meeting a person tomorrow morning about a chest of drawers. So it was very successful, I was shocked.” Zabriskie said that everyone he sold to was a new customer: buyers from South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Arizona — people he never would have met otherwise.
Paul Polce of Ponzi’s Antiques, Trumansburg, N.Y., said he had sales in redware and folk art to both new and old buyers. He said a gentleman reached out about an object he had and is going to make the trip to his shop, where he’s never visited before.
Christine Martin of Christine C Martin Antiques sold a 12-foot-long robins blue painted country store counter to a country store collector down South. The dealer said a similar one resides at the Genesee Country Museum and hers had come out of a store in Prattsburgh, N.Y. Martin said, “It’s a great way for dealers and collectors to see our merchandise, considering the times. It gets your name out there.”
Ralph and Lynn Ridolfino of American Antiques, Hammondsport, N.Y., sold to buyers from Colorado, Pennsylvania and New York — all new to them. Among the sales was a yellowware potato flask with cobalt decoration and the initials TA, a chip-carved wall box with a lid and divided drawers and a 3-gallon stoneware jug with a cobalt image of a butterfly.
“It was a very good show for me,” Ralph Ridolfino said. “We’re very happy with the results. It was very easy to navigate for the buyers and the fact that it was organized by categories made it easier for collectors to browse the areas of interest first and then proceed through their lesser interests.” Ridolfino gave accolades to the show’s organizer, Digital Edge.
Jane Langol, Medina, Ohio, did not make any sales, but she said she would absolutely do the online show again. “There’s something about that little Genesee group,” she said. “The earnestness with which the planning committee put this event together — the purity of their efforts and their helpfulness. These are quality, experienced dealers, and they were giving it their best judgment. It was very worthy and honest. And the items were quite popular, the offerings were real.”
Duane Watson of Doc’s Crocks was able to move along a 2-gallon New York pitcher that sold to a dealer on opening day. “Any pitcher over one gallon is hard to find,” he said, “they didn’t survive often. This one was mint, too, and it had a bird on it, which is unusual.” Watson is a new member of the GCADA, voted in only last year. The canceled June Canandaigua Show was to be his first time exhibiting with the association, but he looks forward to next year. He said he’ll likely shift his offerings for any future online show as he tries to figure out the audience.
Gene Pratt said the ideal selling range was between $200 to $600, and many dealers we spoke with said that was their experience as well.
Dana Tillou of Buffalo, N.Y., said he sold one painting, an oil on panel folk work featuring “George Washington on His Charger,” that sold to a buyer he had never done business with before. “It was nice,” Tillou said. “You try to get these things out there, the more exposure the better.”
The Genesee Online Show carried with it a guarantee of authenticity on all of its offerings. Buyers were free to return any purchased item within a day of receipt if they felt it was not as represented.
Whether the GCADA will offer another online show in the coming months will be determined by its members. For more information, https://www.antiquesrochester.com.