SELLING AT THE CRACK OF DAWN

If you know me, or if you’ve read my About page, you know I recently had an antiques business. It’s something I’ve done off and on for years, starting back before I moved to Boston.  In fact, when I moved I thought I wouldn’t travel that path again…but I was curious about a new market.  I was lucky to find my favorite antique shop, Thoreauly Antiques in Concord, Massachusetts, had an opening and was willing to take a chance on a Detroit Transplant!

It was a challenge!  After getting over that hump of learning a very different market, I found I just didn’t have the time to invest to really make it work.  So after a year and a half, last December I made the difficult decision to leave the community at Thoreauly.

Fast forward to last Sunday: time to sell off the remainders from the shop.

Selling at Todd Farm
A few leftover wares.

After half a year of holding onto my left over stock (What if I change my mind? But I really like this piece!), I realized it was time to let go.

It was good timing.  My friend Holly had just moved, uncovering a plethora of things she didn’t need—so we teamed up for a day of selling in Rowley, Massachusetts at Todd Farm Flea Market.  Todd Farm is a weekly mini-Brimfield (see other previous posts here and here), that I frequented as a buyer and now frequent for pleasure!

Once our schedules cleared we watched the weather for a no-rain Sunday.  We packed our vehicles and hit the road.  The saying is “bright and early,” but I set my alarm for 3:30 a.m., so it wasn’t exactly bright.  Ugh!  It was us and Uber on the road at that hour!

Why so early?  The Market opens at 5:00 a.m. and Rowley is a solid hour north of Boston.  And, it’s a morning crowd…even more so than I knew!

Map Boston to Rowley
It looks odd, but driving around the Boston area is better: less stop-and-go, and no tolls!

We had a bit of a late start, so we rolled in around 5:20 a.m.  As we slowly cruised the dusty lanes, looking for an open space, panic began to set in…the first field was two-thirds filled, and there were orange cones in all the “open” spots, making them look decidedly unavailable.  I stopped to ask a vendor I recognized as a regular, “How do you know if a spot is open?”

“The open spots don’t have any cones.”

Shit.

“Any idea where there might be spots with no cones?”

“Oh…you’ll find a spot!”

Damn straight I’m gonna find a spot!

I did not spend all day Saturday gathering, deciding, pricing, packing and hauling stuff down to my car for nothing!  I did not drag myself out of bed in the middle of the night and drive for an hour, only to be turned away.  Apparently a 3:30 a.m. reveille isn’t good enough if you want to sell at Todd Farm!

But I wasn’t going to “go there,” we were going to find a spot!  So we circled around and entered the adjacent field…how could so many people be set up already?  Then…

“Mama!  Mama!  You need a spot?”

It was The Wild Cuban Lady (cross her path once and you won’t forget her!)…beckoning me to a spot…with cones in it!

“You, here!  This your spot here!”

Uh…ok…I’m not gonna argue with that!

Somehow between her broken English, and our cluelessness, we managed to squeeze my Volvo wagon and Holly’s Jeep Cherokee in the spot, with just enough room to sell.

Selling at Todd Farm
Ta da! We made it!

As we began unloading I couldn’t help but wonder if we would go nuts spending the day next to The Wild Cuban Lady…

No!  Not only did she hook us up with a spot (she knew the regular that spot was saved for wasn’t coming), she turned out to be kind and generous, not to mention entertaining!  Her name is Juanita, and her habit is to feed her fellow sellers.  I turned down the salad, but took her up on the fresh watermelon—“Hey! Prima donna! You take watermelon?” “Yes I do!” (Prima donna?)

The day may have started out on shaky ground, but it turned out to be one for the books—in good and unexpected ways!

  • We sold stuff. Not everything of course, but we sold a lot—moved things on to a new life, and put some coin in our pockets—mission accomplished!
  • I felt an unexpected sense of comradery with both the other sellers and the buyers. There was a steady stream of people.  We had garage sale prices and it was really fun to surprise a buyer with an even better deal!  I know most of them will sell what they bought from me, and it felt good to help them make some money.  Money is just energy, right?  Pass it around!
  • I got to see a couple of my colleagues from Thoreauly Antiques!
  • The running joke for the day: the time. At one point Holly asked, “What time is it? I’m ready for lunch.” “Yeah, it’s 7:12…a.m.”  We had no concept of time!
  • I finally got my summer tan!

The market technically closes at 3:00 p.m., but it was over way before then!  We started closing shop around 1:15 p.m., and I drove over the stake separating the spaces a little after 2:00 p.m.  Oops!

Maybe best of all: I now know I don’t want to sell again anytime soon.  It was a great day, but a good reminder of how much work the resale business is!

Todd Farm items
I didn’t get to do much shopping of course, but we took turns walking around a bit. These pieces caught my eye: unusual pieces on the left, and on the right…my mom used to decorate cakes!

Have you any resale experiences to share, buying or selling?  Yard sales?  Flea markets?   Do you love them or hate them?  Let’s talk in the comments below!

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