Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Seeing things differently...

So a few weeks ago, I helped one of Garth's clients load up a piece of furniture that they had purchased in our March Americana auction. Here it is:

Not terribly impressive, right? It's only half a corner cupboard, is missing bits of molding, and has been badly refinished.

Well, the buyers, Dave and Jeanne Kessler, owners of Sandusky Street Antiques in Delaware, Ohio, had a good reason for buying it. Jeanne explained that when Dave first saw the thing, he thought, "Boy, that's just about perfect for a corner stand for a flatscreen tv." So, they bought it (very reasonably), Dave'll fix it up, and someone will get a good deal on a stylish, eco-friendly tv stand that will have resale value.

That's exactly the attitude and the vision we need in this business. In years past, you could find a collector that would happily purchase nearly every antique out there. These days, collectors are fewer and pickier. They've been convinced that they shouldn't be buying anything that doesn't fall somewhere on the good-better-best spectrum. As a result, there are truckloads of useful, attractive antiques languishing in antique shops, their owners frustrated because no one will give them a second look.

The trick, as we've said before, is to target non-collectors...users, folks who just want to live with interesting furnishings or furnishings that offer good value and aren't made in Chinese sweatshops. Dave and Jeanne have figured this out and are out there looking for the overlooked antiques that just might find a useful spot in a modern home. That's smart. That's the kind of flexibility that has allowed them to remain successful these past few years. And you never know...they just might ignite an interest in someone and turn a mere user into a collector!

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