|By Eric C. Rodenberg
INDIANAPOLIS – Show manager Damon Granger said he believes he knows what the antique industry needs to do to survive. It needs to get back to basics.
“Our main focus needs to be getting the next generation into the field,” said the manager of the Indoor Antique Advertising Show. “For instance, a few years ago, I met a young guy who was interested in a Coke piece. It wasn&rsquo’t in the best condition, but you can still find them on the internet all day long for $300. I priced it at $80. He knew it was a good deal, but he didn&rsquo’t have the money.
“That was at our spring show. He showed up at the following fall show with $80. He bought the piece, then eventually a few more pieces. Now today, we share three booths together and he&rsquo’s totally hooked on collecting.”
Granger will be hosting his third show on March 16 when the Indoor Antique Advertising Show will be held in the Champions Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
There are some changes to this year&rsquo’s event. In January Granger learned the fairgrounds was upping vehicle admission from $5 to $8. He immediately slashed the cost of tickets to enter his show from $10 to $5 to help customers offset the entrance fee charge. “I did that immediately, the very same day,” he said.
Granger also did away with the early buyer program for this show. “Actually, the whole early buying concept works against attendance,” he says.
Champions Pavilion is a massive 66,500 square-foot building. So far, Granger says he has 40-vendors. “This is the greatest deal in the world,” he says. “For the same price, I can give you acres of set-up area.
“I&rsquo’m providing the tables. I had one guy tell me, &rsquo’I&rsquo’ll just supply my own.&rsquo’ Once I told him the space he could save, and the more antiques he could haul, he changed his mind … See, been there; done that.”
The pavilion also has seven overhead and two bay doors at a loading dock, allowing for easy move-in and move-out. And, of course, at the fairgrounds there are acres of parking.
Granger also wants to maintain a “dealer friendly” atmosphere at the show. “Several of the vendors at the show are old-timers, who even I&rsquo’ve grown up with and enjoy talking about their hobbies,” Granger says. “I have a lot of older people downsizing. One collector recently sold his restaurant and is selling all the advertising that he collected for years as décor. I have people who are willing to sell.
“I know slashing the prices doesn&rsquo’t help us make any money, but I&rsquo’m more interested in reviving the show to something like it was in the old days,” Granger said. “Just a place to come for one day and sit and talk with like-minded people, and who knows, spark the mind of someone to carry it even further.”
And, it&rsquo’s starting to work, Granger reports.
“At the shows, I&rsquo’m starting to see kids and younger guys bringing their parents,” he said. “At first, I didn&rsquo’t realize who was buying … and then it really blew me away. “
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