Published: April 23, 2002
By Susan and Al Bagdade
CHICAGO, ILL. – Chicago’s antiques calendar added a new event on historic Navy Pier on March 22-24 that benefited the Special Olympics Illinois. Mary Beth Rebedeau, heading a firm of the same name, has big plans for becoming a “major fixture” in antiques shows, even though this was her first attempt at producing one. Her previous experience centers around business-oriented trade shows.
According to Rebedeau, she has “built the show around the recommendations of an advisory board made up of a number of prominent local antiques dealers. This committee provided advice and counsel including helping the company to create the vision for a premier Chicago event, recommended colleagues to exhibit, raised interesting issues and made beneficial suggestions to ensure a successful event for dealers and guests.” The show was called .
Many of the previous union problems associated with shows at Navy Pier seemed to be resolved, and numerous exhibitors commented about the ease of move-in and set-up. The Rebedeau Group dedicated themselves to making things as smooth as possible for dealers who took a chance on this inaugural event. The Special Olympics Illinois “was thrilled to be associated with this premier event,” according to Judy Bergh, director of corporate and foundation partnerships for Special Olympics Illinois. Unfortunately, less than 300 paying guests came out to support the benefit.
Eighty antiques dealers set up for this outing. Rebedeau said, “Our dealers displayed very fine rdf_Descriptions; however, the variety of product and the way in which they were displayed was a little more hip and urban.” Alan Robandt, one of the co-chairs of the advisory board, described the merchandise displayed as “cutting edge. The event catered to a group of serious dealers who have otherwise traveled further afield to sell their wares.”
Neil Kraus of Pavilion Antiques, also from the advisory board, described the product mix as “eclectic. It was all authentic with a healthy mix of all eras and types of products from dealers who sell middle to high-end antiques.”
Producers made a major effort to get antiquers to attend this show, but despite all efforts, less that 3,000 attendees made their way to the pier. They even provided complimentary admissions for those attending a medical convention elsewhere on the pier. Parking continued to be a monumental problem for showgoers since numerous other events were going on simultaneously. Even a $2 coupon did not help the situation. Dealer after dealer cited this as the main problem with the show.
Some exhibitors were pleased with sales especially since this was a first effort, but there were some who reported no sales at all. Local dealers considered it “good advertising.” There needs to be a stronger mix of exhibitors, with less emphasis on jewelry. They also need to attract more out-of-state dealers since there were only 13 of them.
Sharing an exhibit space was All That Glitters from Skokie, Ill., and Oh My!!! from Chicago. Sallie Lambert sold both high- and low-end jewelry and purses. It was beneficial since she “met new people who have not been to shows before.” Susan Marks from Oh My!!! felt “the show has a lot of potential and I met a lot of new customers.” She was very pleased with the promoters and had good sales.
Shopper Alice Shaton from Evanston, Ill., was checking out the jewelry at Brodny from Chicago when she related “there are a lot of wonderful things here.” She did buy a diamond ring at the show.
Don Colclough of Mr Modern from Oak Park, Ill., felt the show “was better than expected. Both Cincinnati and Atlantique City shows made for dealer conflicts or they would have had more out-of-state dealers.” He felt the dealers who were here were “great” and the promoters “were wonderful.” In addition to selling smalls, he sold good paintings, including one by Chicago artist Felix Schmidt.
Time Gallery from Highland Park, Ill., was pleased to sell a long-case clock, two mantel clocks and a wall clock.
Circa Antiques from Elmhurst, Ill., sold large Pairpoint candlesticks, a few pieces of silver and some jewelry. Nannette Horn said, “The show has a lot of potential. I would give it a try again.”
Despite not selling at the show, Scott Filar of Chicago’s Mad Parade said he “liked the show and I made good contacts. Four pieces were under consideration” so he expected follow-up business as a result of this exposure.
Denise Rosen of Smythson Yeats Antiques in Evanston was “happy with the reception for the first show. The size is good for us, and we are planning on coming back. Our merchandise received nice comments and we had some nice sales including some sculpture.”
From Shaker Heights, Ohio, jewelry dealer Betty Bresler, Inc sells Tiffany & Co., Elsa Peretti, Cartier, Bulgari, Angela Cummings, Yurman, Schlumberger and the like. Betty said, “I loved the size of the show, saw some of my O’Hare show customers and had some nice sales.”
Lynda Dehler of Crescent Worth Art and Antiques from Lake Forest, Ill., sold tea caddies, fireplace fire guards, paintings and some other smalls. A lot of her Lake Forest customers showed up along with quite a few tourists. Linda was shipping merchandise to Ohio and California after the show.
John Christopher of Christopher and LeVeille from Mukwonago, Wis., felt there was a “good turnout for a first time; it could build into a nice event.” Christopher was pleased to sell some good Art Deco pieces, jewelry, vintage purses, glass, pottery, some art and furniture. He definitely had one of the better outings at .
Another dealer selling well was Scanlan and Tuthill, Ltd from LaGrange, Ill. Going to new homes was a French Empire walnut daybed, some art, antique equestrian prints, French botanicals, a large Chinese foo dog, Chinese roof tiles and lamps, Buddhas and a camelback sofa. Kevin thought there was “good traffic and I would do it again.” It was also an opportunity to introduce customers to his large space at Chicago’s Vintage Pine.
Advisory board co-chair Daniel Popuch of Daniel’s Antiques sold stained glass windows and some paintings. Popuch described himself as “an eclectic dealer with a local shop.” He thought there was good traffic for a new show and good quality being exhibited.
Denise Odell of Chicago’s Bleeker Street was “pleasantly surprised with the traffic and great advertising. I’m using the show as advertising and would love for the show to work out. I love the people” she concluded.
Kenneth Paul Lesko from Rocky River, Ohio, had one of the better showings at this event. Lesko was pleased to have sales to “all new clients” since he has been looking for another Chicago show in addition to O’Hare. Sales included an Andre Mare painting, a Gustav Gurschner Art Nouveau lamp and works by Japanese studio potter Shogi Hamada. He was disappointed he did not sell African American art. Lesko will “be in the show for the long haul.”
Wilmette, Ill., dealer Stephen Maras sold an iron mirrored hall tree, a Donald Deskey chair and paintings. Diane Richardson of Gold Hatpin from Oak Park, Ill., was “happy with the crowd and seeing new people.” She sold designer silver including signed Mexican examples and Georg Jensen pieces, decorative accessories, purses and Bakelite. Richardson is planning on coming back.
From Redmond, Wash., John Atzbach specializes in Russian Imperial porcelains, enamels and Faberge. Atzbach had some sales and met a lot of customers. He felt that the promoters were doing a good job.
Carin Chow of The Red Lantern from San Francisco specializes in Asian antiques and collectibles. This was her first time in Chicago and she delicately said, “The volume of sales was not ideal.” Chow did sell some decorative Chinese rdf_Descriptions and had interest, but did not sell major pieces.
Chicago’s Vintage Deluxe sold jewelry and accessories, especially a lot of eyeglasses, hats and purses. Another Chicago dealer, Silver Treasures, Ltd, sold a sterling silver tray, an old Sheffield plate candelabra and a German silver flower vase. Best of all, the promoters had a cake to celebrate Gladys’ birthday.
From Cincinnati, Ohio, Karen Phillips Ltd sold clocks, decorative arts and three Faberge eggs. She was pleased to see different customers than O’Hare, which is just two weeks away. Carolyn Yelton of Chicago sold vintage jewelry pieces. “I am looking forward to September. Navy Pier needs to be more user friendly,” Yelton concluded. Her statement really summed up what most exhibitors felt about Navy Pier.
The next Chicago World Antiques Fair is scheduled for September 13-15.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm