Posted on Monday, May 15th, 2017
So, the first VandA Antique & Collectable market of 2017 happened on Saturday. Can’t believe it’s been 8 months since we had the last market there. Good news is that it’s there 4 more times this year covering June to September.
5.30 journey South starts and it’s raining!! Brilliant thinks I , but checking forecast on an hourly basis for the preceding 6 days seems to be proving correct as brighter skies appear over to our right.
6.45 and arrive on site. 2 people in front of me.. Crikey, they’re keen… 2 regulars we see at most events, securing a good unloading spot. Well, I’ve got a plan for next event. I’m going to arrive around midnight and sleep on one of the nearby benches 😂😂
Anyway, even at that time the gazebos are being erected and tables put in place by the town council staff. Bang on 7.30, following all the required safety checks, we’re given thumbs up by organiser to start setting stalls up. Some regulars and some new faces this time too, but with 30 stallholders maximum, it doesn’t take long to get to know the newbies. With it being their first time, what will they make of it. I’ve a newbie next to me, but she seems to be very confident and wants to talk. I’ll talk happily but let me get set up and van out of the pedestrian area first !!!
8.15 and all ready to go. People on their way to work, glum faces replaced by smiles as their offered greeting from standholders….. “Yes, come and see us on your lunch break”… “anything you want putting aside”? 😉😉
9am It’s busy already with all of the stalls being viewed and purchases made. The weather really was kind to us and did exactly what the forecasters told it to do. No rain … Hooray . The whole day was was busy and I know it was the first of this year, but my experience of previous events here tells me that it will be busy. The rain can sometimes put a dampener on things but generally the people are out. The good thing here is that there’s no “lunch time lull” as can happen at some events. With people arriving at different times and from all directions it means you’ve always got someone at your stall.
3pm The transport has arrived to come and collect the gazebos and tables and stallholders are starting to put unsold stock away. It’s a seamless move from trading to vacating the site, run very well by VandA in conjunction with Nantwich Town Council.
Can we ask that stallholders pack their stock and free the tables before going to collect your vehicle and start loading stock back on. It holds everybody up and blocks the pedestrian area if you go and get your vehicle then decide to start packing your stock. Please consider other stallholders and the public, they are, after all, your potential customers.
We are already looking forward to the June event and hoping for a dry, not necessarily sunny, Saturday.
Please, you Nantwich community, come and pay us a visit as we love presenting you a market in what is a traditional market town.
Bye for now,
Posted on Monday, May 8th, 2017
On Saturday I return to Nantwich to stand the first of this years Antique and Collectable Markets organised by http://www.vandafairs.com
VandA have been running this event since 2013 and until this year have had 4 events a year. This year they have 5 events covering May, June, July, August and the final one being September.
The market consists of 30 standholders with a gazebo each in the square amongst all the shops. Standholders generally arrive around 7 whilst the gazebos are being erected by council staff. One they’re in position and safety standards satisfied, the standholders are given the thumbs up to start putting their goods on display. Once unloaded, standholders are asked to move their vehicles away to a safe parking area a short distance away. Everything happens very quickly and very efficiently and then at 3 o’clock the whole thing happens in reverse and the market square vacated quickly and safely.
Now, I’m not local to Nantwich and do travel quite a distance to stand this market. What I can say is that all of those I’ve done, since they started have all been thoroughly enjoyable events and I’ve found the journey well worth the effort. I start setting my stall up at 7.30 and whilst this is going on, the local people, on their way to work try and grab a quick look at what’s being offered before the local Nantwich people start arriving around 9am. The whole day is busy and it’s rare to have any period with no one around your stall, unlike some indoor fairs where there might be a lunchtime lull. People are always very pleasant and polite and the whole town has a vibrancy about it. There are plentiful places to eat and grab a drink, there are street entertainers and most importantly there are several cash machines right next to the market 😊😊👍👍
If you are a dealer in Antiques and or Collectables I would throughly recommend you give this market a try. The organisers run a very efficient event and it’s a friendly event held in a very friendly town.
For more information and stand prices, contact the organisers.
Posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
Can I first of all wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.
It’s been a year since my last tweet, and that hadn’t been the plan, I was planning on having more of an input, but the year moved quickly through and I didn’t get the job done.
What I’m going to talk about is this blog covers an 8 year period and how the changes within the business have brought about changes we’ve decided to make.
During October 2008 we made the decision to move into Bygone Times antique and collectible centre in Eccleston, Lancashire. My wife and I had shortlisted about 4 centres, varying in distance from 8 miles to 50 miles away. We decided on Bygone not simply because of location but because it offered a number of things that other centres were lacking. We wanted easy, plentiful parking, refreshments and toilet facilities on site. You would think all centres offer toilet facilities…. they don’t!
I’d been approached from someone within Bygone a couple of times before 2008 about going in there and had visited, but all it offered at that time was halls of Brown furniture and reproduction Blue & White ceramics and was empty on a Sunday afternoon … the furniture frenzy had finished at this stage and many items were sat gathering dust. However, a phone call from a friend prompted me to revisit in 2008 and the manager at that time was working hard to revitalise the place. It was working too! And we moved in on the crest of a wave. We rented a stall and over the next 6 years we enlarged, changed position and generally did pretty well.
We’d moved into the centre in 2008 to cut back on the fairs we were doing. We both felt that we were spending too much time on the road and the centre offered us the opportunity to try to sell, without the travelling. We kept just a couple of larger fairs and concentrated on the centre. I found quite quickly I was missing the buzz of the fairs but stayed with it regardless.
During 2015 Bygone went through a major enlargement. What had been 3 halls containing about 200 stalls, was now 6 halls containing about 450. There never had been any vetting process at the centre as to who was bringing what stock in and now the floodgates just opened. From having 200 stalls of varying quality we now had 450 stalls of very, very different quality. It’s at this point we started to have our doubts about the future at the centre for us. I have always thought that the stock of a shop determines the type of customer. Our stock wasn’t high end, but it was quality and it was affordable.
We pushed on through remainder of 2015 and into 2016 but knew we had to make changes. We were missing the friendliness of fairs, the rapport between buyers and sellers and sellers and organisers. We had become invisible in the centre. I no longer knew the stallholders from the customers and I think I can safely say that despite all those people in there, it was only a nucleus of about 10 of us who were regularly chatting or sharing a cuppa. We didn’t know customers from the stallholders and we were sat at the table next to them!!!
We knew now that major decisions had to be made. Let the centre go and think more about the fairs. A chance conversation in May last year brought about the changes we were looking for. We returned to doing fairs with a couple we have known for 15 years and had faired with before moving into the centre. The company, VandA Fairs, concentrate almost exclusively in the Cheshire area, with one of their events being slightly North and held st Southport.
We found now that the excitement was back. We had done 2 years of Saturday antique Markets with VandA in Nantwich town centre that had proved enourmous fun. Only 4 a year, but that goes to 5 this year and will now run from May to September. We also do other VandA events in Holmes Chapel, Nantwich Civic Hall, Park Royal Hotel, Stretton near Warrington and finally Southport. We can also fit in a small village hall monthly fair in Rufford and 2 events at the Peterborough Festival in April and September.
We will vacate the centre by the end of February. We can no longer compete against plastic floral bouquets, scented candles and balls of wool. I must stress that other items are sold there, but the centre I moved into is not what it is now. Too big and no real identity… Antique & Collectible doesn’t ring entirely true now.
I thought we were the only people making changes this year but as we moved through Christmas and into 2017 I became aware that friends were making the same decisions in other parts of the country. I thought how admirable it was that they too had had the courage to make changes.
Its a tough business climate out there and you cannot rely on other people to keep you warm, you have to use your own energy to raise the temperature.
I think basically what I’ve been trying to say is don’t be afraid to make changes, you don’t have to sit and stagnate. If a centre is going slow for you, gather up your goods and take them elsewhere, another centre, a shop or get out to the fairs. There are good fairs out there of varying sizes and don’t forget that a bigger fair doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the only place you find quality… I can assure you that high quality pieces are found in the smaller fairs too.
So, for us it’s back in time 8 years and back on the road.
Whatever you might decide, I wish you every success.
Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2016
It’s been sometime since my last blog, over a year in fact and the last 12 months have flown. I seem to have done this last year doing exactly as I’ve done for the last few and simply concentrating on the important things. My wife, son and daughter in law are always a priority and will continue to be so.
My my wife and I haven’t had a break this year, despite regularly telling each other that we should fit a bit of time away in the diary. Our hand has been forced by our son who has booked us 3 days away at middle of the month at one of our favourite places in the uk. We’re off to Whitby. We first went there a few years ago and fell in love with the place and have been back 3 times as far as I can recall.
Friendships this year have come and gone and people you hear from on a regular basis asking after our health and business. Some acquaintances that were made via the social media have disappeared as quickly as they arrived, whilst other have grown stronger with a trust developing. Some friendships have been tested this year, but, seem to have come through the other side still reasonably intact although caution seems to be uppermost in what you might say or do…. Such is life.
The business side has been busy, albeit with a quiet period in the middle of the year, which seems to happen every year in the antiques trade. The fairs this year have been a mixed kind with some excelling and other bring some what quieter and hard work. September 2015 saw us fairing with new organisers to us and we presented ourselves at The Prestwood Centre, Stafford Showground for the first time. We’ve done a further 2 with them since, including this weekend just gone 2nd and 3rd January. Because of our newness to this venue, we don’t have anything to gauge it against with one being very good, one good and not really coming up to expectations. Not the fault of the organiser, as footfall has been very good on all occasions. It’s just that a fair, that you think will excel itself, goes seriously wrong and customers not really willing to spend. We will be doing the Peterborough Festival of Antiques in March and in May we start the first of 4 markets at Nantwich with the VandA Fair organisers. We are looking forward to all events and hope for dry weather on market days.
Bygone Times, the centre where I have 2 stalls, has seen changes this year. The building has expanded and many new stalls have opened and been filled. The centre now has a different identity to what it had maybe 10 years ago and stock within it, reflects different tastes and fashions. Being a dealer in “Brown furniture” has made me have to accept that, for the foreseeable future, that area, will be difficult, but, I still maintain that quality still sells and I’m finding that some items sell well and need replacing regularly, whilst others linger and eventually end up going back through auction, where others might try their luck with said items. My wife and I, still see a future at Bygkne Times and hope that we are able to continue until we feel the time has come to call it a day.
We do look forward to the coming year and have a reasonably busy time up until May. We will, I feel, be looking for fairs we’ve not done for a while to revisit and maybe some new ones in the pipeline. Bygone Times will continue to get our full attention.
I will ill endeavour to update a little more regularly , but don’t want to fill page after page of same old same old.
I do wish everybody a safe, happy, healthy and with any luck prosperous 2016.