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Some perspective on the current state of affairs in the antique business

It's certainly no secret that these are challenging times in every business but particularly in the "discretionary retail
business" such as antiques. I hear continually about the "upcoming funeral" for the antique business. I continually
hear the "death watchers" (ususally dealers who quit) talk about:

1. Lack of interest of consumers.
2. New generation growing up has no interest.
3. Customers aren't buying.

I would like to offer a "New Head Set" to think through the current state of affairs:

1. There will always be a interest in collecting relics from the past. Museums are living proof. In alot
of ways antique customers are "museum operators" of their own personal interests. Be it glass,
furniture, porcelain, silver or whatever. Their apetitite and budget may "ebb and flow" but the
interest is still there. Tigers don't change their stripes and collectors will always collect.

2. In challenging times you need to think of capturing a "larger slice" of a smaller pie. Warren Buffet,
one of the shrewdest investors in the world, says "Be greedy when others are fearful....and be
fearful when others are greedy!". If customers aren't coming to you....you need to go to them. You
need to think "market share" and taking a larger bite out of a smaller pie! Pick up the phone...
and book a space at a upcoming flea market, show or promotional event that will give you exposure
to new customers. Make sure you have a enticing flyer, card, web site or promotional piece to
pass out.

I own a 2 acre architectural and primitive antique store in a remote, but beautiful little time warp, in Northern San Diego County California. Traffic is always a issue. When customers find us....they are hooked for life, tell friends,
and have many repeat visits. Our issue is finding them. When things got real tough recently....I went back to
my flea market roots and reupped my space at Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Last Sunday I got up at the crack
of dawn and embarked on my adventure poneying up my $110 for the space, about that for gas and a "C Note"
to my daughter to "share my pain". Total cost $310...... Total result a 3 digit profit, 120 business cards passed
out, 10 hits on my web site, 5 special orders for items people are looking for and a great buy to add to my inventory.
Was it worth it....you bet! We advertised extensively when we opened. What I learned is no advertising is better
that a one on one first hand encounter with a customer and a chance to pitch your product and location!

Every market has shows, events, flea markets, swapmeets or some kind of antiquity get together. If no one is
coming through the door.....bring the door to them! "Cowboy up" and pack up the wagon with a good load of stuff!
There is still a business (contrary to conventional gripes) out there but you are going to need to work harder to
find it! Think market share and capturing a bigger slice of a smaller pie. It works!

If you are ever in Southern California stop by Silverado Warehouse in Rainbow Ca.. We are 4 miles so. of Temecula.
It is a amazing 2 acre architectural and primitive antique store nestled under 100 year old oak trees. Visit us
online at www.silveradowarehouse.com.. Got some good ideas that you have tried to improve your store...lets swap
ideas!

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Comment by C. Dianne Zweig Editor's Desk on August 18, 2009 at 10:36pm
You may also want to re-post this blog article in our group called "Promoting and Marketing Your Antiques and Collectibles"
Here is the link:
http://iantiqueonline.ning.com/group/promotingandmarketingyourantiquescollectiblesbusin

Dianne, Editor

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