Published: October 19, 2004
The Bromley Mountain Antiques Show, with its breathtaking setting at the Base Lodge of the Bromley Ski Area, had to compete with ski lift rides to view the foliage. No contest.
With 30 Americana dealers showing mostly in room settings, the show opened with early buying and “fantastic scones” on Saturday, October 2, at 8 am.
Produced by James and Elizabeth Dunn – this was their fourth year – the show is big on “great early paint,” and there was a tremendous amount of furniture sold over the two days, according to Dunn. “We had 275 early buyers, 35 more than last year,” said Dunn, ” a total of 500 on Saturday and 200 on Sunday. Only two dealers reported to me that they had a ‘soft,’ show, meaning that it was okay but not as good as past years.”
A “soft” show was not the case for Ken and Sue Scott, Malone, N.Y. “The gate for early buyers was up over last year, they heard that the food was great,” said Ken Scott. “The show was excellent for us. It reminded us of the way business was a couple of years ago. Our love for the antiques business was renewed. What is interesting is the fact that we had a lot of Midwest dealers and collectors buying. Jim and Elizabeth Dunn are fantastic promoters, and as dealers we greatly appreciate what they do for us. All the elements are just right for fun and a great time at the Bromley Show. Crisp air, beautiful colors and fantastic antiques – what more could you ask for?
Indeed, Bromley has always been a fun show for Phil and Jane Workman, New Boston, N.H. “It has been a show that we do well in,” said the Workmans. “The early buying with the great scones has a real rush about it with many serious buyers. It was a beautiful weekend and many people were partaking of the beauty of Vermont and the antique shows, providing a good gate for our show.
The Workmans sold an E.E. Finch portrait, dated 1838; the sitter was Silas V. Tribou. Also leaving their booth was a yellow painted bucket bench, a feathered star quilt, a paint decorated candle box, a half round table and many smalls. “The Dunns create a friendly atmosphere for the show, are conscious of the needs of the dealers, and pitch right in and help unselfishly,” they said.
Similarly, for Richard Vandall, American Decorative Arts, Canaan, N.H., the weekend turned into a “fine show. All furniture moved from my booth and as well across the floor.” Among rdf_Descriptions Vandall sold were a miniature tilt top table, child’s hickory chair and lots of smalls. “Bromley is traditionally a very comfortable informal venue and always well received,” said Vandall. “Crowds were up at opening. Jim Dunn has continued offering a sumptuous breakfast for early buyers, a great start for any show.”
Known for his American country furniture and wooden ware, John Rogers, Elkins, N.H., sold a total of five pieces of furniture in addition to many smalls. “The show had fantastic sales for me,” he said, adding that the show is the highlight of his fall season. “Some significant sales included a unique butter paddle, and one of the largest band boxes I have ever seen. The primary reason the show is so successful is the management of Jim and Elizabeth Dunn. They know what dealers need, and are so considerate in the way the show is managed. I could not bring the furniture I do if it were not for the experienced porters the Dunns provide.”
A first-timer’s perspective of the show was provided by Marie Miller, Dorset, Vt., who specializes in antique quilts. “We were very pleased with our sales and the attendance,” she said. “We noticed that our sales were from many different parts of the United States. We sold furniture, quilts and smalls right across the board. It was refreshing being able to do a show with a low rent and no walls, and being able to come out with a considerable profit. Maybe the answer is to return to small shows with low overhead.”
“The Bromley Show had a very strong opening- as usual – on Saturday morning,” said 20-year show veterans David and Pamela Laubscher, Nutting House Antiques, Brandon, Vt. “This show has always been termed ‘very buyable’ by others dealers coming to the opening. The 10 am gate was a little sluggish at getting going, but did pick up momentum during the day. There appeared to have been a lot of case piece furniture – cupboards and, course, chests of drawers – sold on Saturday and Sunday. David Laubscher said the couple had several very good sales to other dealers at the opening and some retail sales throughout the day. “Sunday was a surprise. Pam sold two pieces of furniture – ‘comebacks’ from Saturday – an 8-foot trade sign and several small rdf_Descriptions,” he said.
But perhaps the longest perspective on the show – 27 years – was provided by Mary and Bob Fraser, Taftsville, Vt., who originally managed the show (It was originally called the Walingford show). “There is always a feeling of excrdf_Descriptionent at the Bromley show and the quality of the buyers is first rate. They know good things when they see them and as a consequence the dealers meet their expectations with quality country merchandise,” they said.
The Fraser’s second memorable sale was a rare Eighteenth Century sawbuck, blue wood box that had originally come from the Peru area. “We had just purchased it from a collector, and it went to a couple from New Hampshire who will place it on the hearth in the Eighteenth Century home they are restoring. This proves there is satisfaction in putting the right rdf_Description in the right hands.”
The Frasers admit to wearing their love of the Bromley show on their sleeves, “To sum it up, it is great merchandise, healthy sales and most of all the wonderful people who do the show and who come to the show that make Bromley a success story.”
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