Published: March 15, 2011
Music Valley Antiques Show and Tailgate Antiques Show hit high notes for attendance and sales, according to customers, dealers and the shows’ promoters, Steve and Jon Jenkins. Combined at Nashville’s fairgrounds, recently renamed Nashville Expo Center, the shows opened together on February 17 at 8 am for early buying and noon for regular admission, with a fresh audience, according to the father and son team producing the two concurrent events.
The new attendance figures, according to the Jenkinses, were boosted by online ticket sales through two sites, Groupon and a Nashville-area information site, Style Blueprint. In both cases, the promoters said, “visitors to the sites were finding our show and buying their admission at a discount. These are people who probably did not regularly come to the show. The sites attract more local people and a younger crowd, which is exactly who we are targeting in our marketing efforts.”
Ted Fuehr, American Spirit Antiques of Shawnee Mission, Kan., was among those who appreciated the fresh audience. His sales at the show were “really good,” he said. The show yielded buyers for four early weathervanes, three valuable paintings and a myriad of smalls.
Echoing the positive response, Pat Blodgett of Higganum House Antiques, Higganum, Conn., said, “We had a lot more sales than in the recent past, and there were quite a few new faces, many people we hadn’t seen before.” Blodgett and her husband, Neal, have one of the largest collections of small antiques exhibited at these two shows, filling about ten tables and a variety of showcases and the walls around their 20-foot-wide booth.
Another New England dealer, but with a very different look, is John Melby from Eastport, Maine. Melby combs New England and Eastern Canada for early primitive antique furniture and even wooden walls from old rooms of early houses. His collection is reassembled in the show to resemble an early home, with the walls in place and furniture and accessories all for sale.
One large room behind the main exhibit room for the show was turned over to Lititz, Penn., dealer Greg Kramer, who hung several dozen early quilts and coverlets on the black painted walls. This was used as a special attraction for the show-going public, and, of course, the bed covers were all for sale. In addition to the display, Kramer had taken two booth spaces for the rest of his collection offered at the show. Typical for his exhibition, he had showcases filled with early English and American earthenware, silver and coin silver from the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries, stoneware and also furniture he found near his Pennsylvania home.
Van Deest Art and Antiques from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, reported the show went “really well, with very strong sales for us.” Owner Tom van Deest said the dealers sold folk art, especially from their collection found near their home. Sales also included sculptural items, fine art and many small antiques.
In adjoining buildings, there was the Tailgate Antiques Show with about 130 exhibitors in a slightly more frugal arrangement where walled booths and room settings were not the usual. Here, the exhibitors were showing their collections in arrangements more like a store setting than the room settings of Music Valley.
Three buildings were filled to capacity with antiques, some collectibles and even some designer showcase items.
Seabourne Antiques from Atlanta, Ga., showed the firm’s collection in the Wilson Building, a small venue where the visitors are allowed to enter for about 15 minutes while waiting for the shows to open on first day. Offering a collection more for the decorator than the antiques buyer, Seabourne had a stuffed zebra head next to a Chinese screen, next to some French Midcentury chairs and a great deal more.
A truckload of Nineteenth Century furniture and old shop props arrived with Kim Logan from Centralia, Ill. Country Corner Antiques, Bowie, Md., comprises primarily small antiques Ken and Sue Zipple find on their trips to England and some other parts of Europe. Selling Nineteenth Century glass was the primary focus for Elva Nichols of Kansas City, Mo.
Sharing a space and also the ride from their homes in Lebanon, Penn., David Horst and Steven Still were offering early American antiques chosen especially for their visual impact. The overpowering object in their collection was an architectural eagle with a wing span of about 6 feet.
Astute buyer Dick Anderson found a butter churn in early stoneware near his Lodi, Ohio home. He said it was made in Beaver Falls, Penn., by Fowler but with the marking for a Nashville retailer, Spire & Duff, circa 1860.
The Finblooms’ Schoolhouse Antiques of Kirkwood, Mo., were selling well at their exhibit. Offering primarily small antiques, they had several high-quality hooked rugs, tools for the home and many early accessories.
From Belmont, N.H., Nancy Wells was offering an eclectic mixture of furniture covering most of the last two centuries. There was a Victorian birdcage and pair of chairs that may have been Arts and Crafts style for the porch or Florida room, a turn-of-the-century painted bed, some later industrial pieces and early accessories.
Tailgate really does have something for nearly everyone; Music Valley has traditional antiques, and together the shows offer a very broad variety for the shoppers, both local Tennesseans and the national audience these Nashville shows attract.
Jenkins repeats these shows again October 27′9 and also next year February 2‴. For information, www.jenkinsshows.com or 317-598-0012.
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