WILMINGTON, Ohio — Less than two hours into the Ohio Country Antique Show, held April 1 at Wilmington, Ohio, people were heading for the exits. What was telling, however, was that they were leaving with their arms full.
A man in a yellow sweatshirt and a red ball cap embroidered with an American flag was balancing a decorated stoneware jug in one hand and two early baskets and a paper sack in the other. Following him out the door was an older gentleman with both arms wrapped around a two-shelf bucket bench.
It was no fluke that dealers spent much of the morning writing receipts. This second-year show seemed to have what country-oriented collectors wanted. With 52 dealers, the event was neither too big nor too small. And the interesting mix of merchandise, from pie-safes to almanacs, was reasonably priced.
Having 20 dealers on the waiting list, promoter Bruce Metzger of Queen City Shows easily could have ramped up the size of the event. Instead, he took a conservative approach. “I think shows sometimes have a honeymoon period,” he said. “You just don’t know where things stand.”
From the looks of things, the event stood with both feet firmly planted in Buckeye soil. The one-day format created an atmosphere in which showgoers knew they couldn’t think about a purchase overnight.
Buyers had only seven hours to shop, and they responded. Mimi Morgan of Bryn Sion Antiques, Florence, Ky., spent the morning assisting a steady stream of customers who bought everything from game boards to landscape paintings. She noted that 80 percent to 90 percent of her sales were to dealers. “I’m thrilled. So far it’s been an excellent show,” she said halfway through the event.
Like other merchants across the floor, Morgan is a fan of Metzger’s shows, including the Tri-State Antique Market, held monthly from May through October in Lawrenceburg, Ind. “I squirrel away my stuff for Bruce,” she said.
Across the aisle, Kitty Saylor of Kitty’s Antiques & Collectibles, Hamilton, Ohio, also was singing Metzger’s praises: “I told him one time, I don’t care if you have a show in Egypt, I’m going to come.”
The format was also to her taste. “We like one-days,” she said.
Mark and Betty Hetzler of B&H Antiques, Centerville, Ohio, started the day by wondering whether they were asking too much for their rooster-shaped, painted-wood sign advertising chicken and dumplings. At $450, the price was right, as the piece was quickly bought by a dealer who intended to add the item to his collection.
The Hetzlers said recent sales included firkins, decorated stoneware and oil paintings. But mostly, people wanted paint.
“If it has paint on it, it usually sells,” Betty Hetzler said.
There was plenty of paint to be found, from a Pennsylvania miniature dometop box in red with a floral motif, tagged $795 by Gail Pearcy of Enon, Ohio, to a grain-decorated mule chest from Maine, priced $2,900 by Dee Allen of Troy, Ohio.
Collectors who missed the April show won’t have to wait a year for its return. The event moves to a semi-annual schedule on Oct. 21. The date was targeted to take advantage of dealers heading to shows in Nashville, Tenn., the following weekend.
“I thought that was a better way for expansion than a bigger show,” Metzger noted.
For more information, contact Metzger at (513) 738-7256 or visit www.ohiocountry.com.