Teaching the Next Generation
Yes — shows can be crazy, but we always have time to teach — especially the next generation. When we ask other dealers what the average age of their customers is — they usually tell us somewhere in the sixties. These little guys may not be buying today — but they definitely thought our dragonware was cool!
Zoe was just 22 months old — and she already knew the good stuff!
Walnut is our most difficult show. If you haven’t been there at set-up you’re missing out. The vendors are not allowed on city property until the town whistle blows at 7AM. That means we’re all lined up waiting for the gates to open. And once that happens — it’s a mad rush. We have 3 twenty-foot tents, 18 tables with shelves and about 75 tubs of glass and porcelain that have to be unwrapped.
Our goal is to get the tents (with 1,200 pounds of weights), tables and shelves ready by 8AM. Then we start bringing in the tubs. We design the layout before we ever get to Walnut and each tub is marked — so we know what table to put each tub under. Then comes the unwrapping.
Walt tackles the Mid-Century glass. Michael begins on the Moriage and Nippon. Lois starts with the Investment Glass. And I take on the RS Prussia. I don’t unwrap for long however — because customers start coming in droves!
We usually have everything unwrapped by 11:30AM. That’s when the merchandising begins! So Walt takes over the cash table. In between customers I try to make the tables look nice and Lois spends the day cleaning and buffing each piece. And just where is Michael? One of three places: Shopping, Eating or Snoozing in the trailer! What a life! 🙂
We have our fair share of characters that come by — but this little guy might have topped the list!
OK. I’d better not forget Polly!
Shutting Down for the Night
Since many of our tables are outside of the tent — we get asked how we close up at night. The very simple answer is that Walt and Michael — carefully — pick up each table and bring it inside of the tent at night. Then every morning they pick up the tables and take them outside again. People watching get really nervous — but these guys have it down pat!
Oronoco is our busiest show. It’s three days of non-stop traffic. Friday morning can start before daybreak. People have been in our tents with flashlights. First come two of our young collectors on bicycles looking for Blenko. By 7AM a local collector — who happens to be one of my favorites — stops by to see if we have any Steuben. All day we visit with our regulars who have come to see what’s new: vaseline glass, cranberry hobnail, moriage, Nippon, RS Prussia, Tiffany, poppy plates, Moser, and Mt Washington. By that evening we are pooped!
We usually go out to dinner and then hit the sack by 8PM.
Saturday it starts all over again — but not until 8AM — thank goodness! Today we’ll meet a lot of newcomers. Many of them have never touched a Tiffany or had the opportunity to learn about the difference between Limoges and RS Prussia. So I spend a good deal of my time explaining when and how things were made and what makes them different and unique.
We never look forward to Sunday. Admittedly we shouldn’t complain. On Sunday we get to have a leisurely morning. On Sunday we have time to sit down and talk with customers. On Sunday our art glass buyers make their big decisions.
But Sunday also means wrapping and packing!
Walt and I get to take care of customers most of the day. But Lois and Michael — who happen to be our best wrappers — start early. By 3PM all of us are wrapping full-time. By 5PM we’ll make our final sale. And If all goes well — we’ll pull out out of town around 8PM — hot, smelly and tired — just to make it home by midnight!