Saturday, November 28, 2009

Antiques aren't just for Grandma anymore.

Musings from the Greenhabilitator...

Pardon the tardiness of my post today. Mr. Greenhab is the true Superhero this morning for letting me sleep in nice and late. Ahhhh...yawn...streeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

I'll confess to a long day of "retail therapy" yesterday, but it's not what you think at all!

Yesterday I worked in my mom's shop, Patina Antiques & Home here in Denver (Which, BTW, will be featured in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Victoria Magazine!). I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to working retail on Black Friday, but I did wonder if it would be slow as they don't really offer "door busters" in the antiques biz.

I was so pleasantly surprised!

Not only did customer after customer line up to buy vintage ornaments, quirky decorations, and antique silver place settings for Christmas dinner. They also purchased gifts - lots of gifts. Women walked around with lists, men bought gift cards, sisters yelled back and forth across the store "Do you think so-and-so would like this?"

One woman bought an adorable Lily of the Valley tea set for her mom who is a tea drinker and also has Lily of the Valley planted throughout her yard.

I came home with a set of Nations of the World books from the late 1800's -- the Scott's Scotland editions -- which I'll give to my dad as a Christmas gift. We're of Scottish descent, and my dad loves to read about Scotland and its history. I'll be wrapping it in this vintage plaid Rob Ray box with little Scotsmen on it. I figure he doesn't really need another shirt or pair of gloves this year.

If you haven't been into an antiques store lately, forget what you know about them! Not all antiques stores are created equally. My mom has been selling antiques since I was a wee one, so I've been into about 8 kabillion antique stores in my lifetime: the ones that leave you wanting to take a shower, the expensive ones with tacky stuff that only reeeeeally rich people buy, the ones lined with "I like Ike" buttons and Coca-Cola signs. There's one for every type of antique-lover out there.

Here are a few of my favorite items that have come from her store...

Our farm table! The planks of wood on top came from a tobacco barn in North Carolina. They're the shelves that the farmers would lay the tobacco leaves on to dry. The legs are columns from a porch there. It's huge and goes perfectly in our cabin-style home. The antique armoire in the upper left hand corner of the photo is also from my mom.

This old pottery bowl was handmade and has the three prong marks (used to hold it while it dried) on the bottom to prove it. I have a matching tiny-sized one as well.

There are just so many "previously loved" items you can find that come with a history other than "Made in Taiwan".

I can't tell you how pleased I was yesterday to live first-hand the things we've been blogging about lately with regard to community and supporting local business. In Jess' blog post Buy Handmade this Black Friday she says that "...the big box dollars do not stay in your community the way your true local, independent store purchases would." which is exactly what I witnessed yesterday working in the antique store:

1. A couple who had fallen upon some hard times came into the store to sell a few pieces of china, which my mom purchased from them. Maybe that will help them to pay a bill this month.

2. A friend of hers came by to show her logos for the new crepe restaurant that she's opening. My mom will be styling the window there with her antiques.

3. An attorney in the community who is sometimes paid in antiques by her clients came by to sell them to my mom. This allows her to keep helping her clients even if they can't always pay her in cash.

4. A local jewelry artist came in looking for antique spoons, which she turns into necklaces. My mom sells these for her in the shop. She also bought a few from her for Christmas gifts for her girlfriends.

5. A woman who works for the State came by. She said that this is one of her "furlough" days where she's not allowed to work so the state can save money. "At least I still have a job." she said "I thought I'd at least get some Christmas shopping done today and give my money to some local businesses." (To which I silently thought "Yes, yes, YES!")

It was really nice to see all of the ideas we've been talking about here in action. And it gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "retail therapy".


greeen sheeep said...

We went antiquing on Black Friday too. Didn't come home with anything, but it was nice to be able get out of the house without having to fight the crowds.

Green Bean said...

Funny, we went antiquing on Black Friday as well. Like Greeen Sheeep, we didn't buy anything either. Mostly because we're not exchanging much in the way of gifts this year but if I did need something or was buying gifts, I'd so totally go antique or handmade. Can't think of a more fun way to vote with your dollars.

Daisy said...

Wonderful! Antiques would look great in my home, too. I'm really making an effort to buy locally; if it works for my food supply, it ought to be good for gift shopping, too.

Jessica Nichols said...

What a heartening post! Thank you!

kale for sale said...

I visited a couple of local independent stores on Saturday for specific items and they were empty. I can't get it out of my mind. One of the guys said the day before was just as quiet. And yet we drove by the big mall down the road and it was packed. I love home made but the next best thing is a local independently owned businesses. They are so often the backbone of our communities as you so beautifully described your Mom's business is. Your Mom's business sounds like the heart of the community though. Such beautiful stories - in just one day!


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