Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Charlotte Antiques & Collectibles Show

There's a new show in town and I had to go check it out.
Well, it's not really a new show. The Charlotte Antiques and Collectibles Show, which has been held at Metrolina for decades, has moved to Concord. So now it's dubbed The "Greater" Charlotte Antiques And Collectibles Show. I am not keen on the new superlative. Moving the show to Concord did not make it "greater" for me. It's a freaking hike to get from South Charlotte to the Cabarrus Arena and there is no direct route to get there. And, after attending the "Grand Opening" yesterday, I can't say the show itself is "greater". Okay, there is paved parking and the buildings are pretty and new if that's what you're looking for. But the parking lot was near empty at 11am Saturday when I arrived and that can't be a good sign.

No lines to get in and only about a half dozen outside vendors. That was the worse part for me. At Metrolina I always shop the outside vendors first and, honestly, that's where the bargains are.
So, moving on, there are 2 buildings. The smaller one on the right is where they stuck the new stuff. There were about 2 dozen vendors in there selling anything from fudge to reproductions to carpets. It was not a good first impression (or second impression as I was already disappointed over the lack of outdoor sellers). I did see one booth that I recognized from Metrolina and I am totally perplexed as to how she got allocated to this little annex building.
of "Salvage Art" is one of the most creative people I know. Her booth is always filled with her own creations like the desk lamps and wall hangings she makes from vintage ads or the purses from vintage patterns. When I asked her why she was in this building she said she was told that the big building was only for real vintage and antiques-high end stuff. She said I would know what she meant when I went in. As I said goodbye to Sandra, in my head I was crossing off a mental list of my favorite vendors that I guess I won't be buying from here.
There's the guy that sells cheese and butter, the guy that sells display items for jewelry, Linda who sells the best vintage clothing and sets up under the Mall at Metrolina and of course Harry who always has the best bargains outside.
Okay, on to the main building I go expecting to see only high end, authentic antiques. First impressions: "Wow, this place is huge!"
Lots of vendors. I'd say there were probably twice as many booths as you'd see in the main building at Metrolina in a building three times the size. So it's pretty roomy with wide aisles and lots of seating for bored husbands (not that I ever bring my husband-I know better).
So I stared down the first aisle. So far so good and I find another one of my favorite vendors right across from one of the two concession stands. More on the food later.

Unfortunately I do not remember this lady's name and she was very busy with customers so I wasn't able to ask. I do remember that she is from Pittsburgh and she always has beautiful vintage linens and purses. If you go, be sure to check her out.
This is where I stopped at the concession stand. If I do ever visit this show again I will be sure to eat first and bring a drink. It was early and the only breakfast item they offer is a sausage biscuit for $3.00. It was one of those awful frozen ones you buy at the grocery store. And the sweet tea was $2.75 for a medium! Other than that they have a very small selection of items. Hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, nachos, popcorn etc. All at premium prices and all pre-made and wrapped up and sitting on the warming shelf. And don't bother looking for the other food vendors that you are used to seeing at Metrolina. Absent are the barbecue stand, the Java Hut, the candied pecans, kettle corn, funnel cakes and the beer. I'm just saying.
So I continue shopping, or browsing really as I really didn't buy much. There are a lot of antique jewelry and furniture dealers with real period pieces but scattered throughout there seems to be several vendor selling strictly reproduction pieces. And the guy that makes 'art' by framing old ceiling tiles was there as well as the guy selling new jewelry displays, a booth with Obama and McCain buttons and a guy selling vases made of coral. All cool stuff but not antiques. So there goes the theory that there are only high end, authentic antiques in the big building. Are you confused yet? I was.
I did discover two very unique booths that I hadn't seen before. The first booth belonged to Nanette Johnson of Floyd Virginia.

Nanette & Mike own Floyd Antiques 116 N. Locust St. Floyd, VA. They specialize in antique tools, dollhouse miniatures, primitives and, my favorite, vintage clothing. Nanette and I chatted for a while and she talked me into making the 2 hour drive up to visit the Floyd Antique Show & Appraisal Fair on March 8th, 2009. If her booth is any indication of what to expect then I know I am in for a fun day.
The other dealer that I am happy to have met is Roberto Frontera-Suau from Elizabeth City, NC. A biology professor by trade, this charming Spaniard shares with me a love of vintage clothing. His booth was breathtaking and the clothing he displayed was divine. He says he specializes in 20's and earlier and he had some beautiful examples like a lovely mid 19th century wrapper. But he also carries later, more wearable vintage like 40's suits and dresses, dresses from the 50's and 60's and this stunning 30's gown that he had on display.

So, all in all, I am glad I went to check out the new location but I will still be a regular at Metrolina. That's right! I forgot to mention the best part. As much as DMG would like us to think that their show is the only one in town, the show at Metrolina will go on! Many dealers there refused to move to the new location and many others chose to do both shows. Besides, the new show is only going to be held 5 times a year:
  • January 30-February 1, 2009
  • April 2-5, 2009 "Spectacular"
  • June 5-7 2009
  • August 28-30, 2009
  • November 5-8, 2009 "Spectacular"
...whereas the show at Metrolina-now called The International Collectibles and Antique Show , will continue to be held once a month.
  • February 5-8, 2009
  • March 5-8, 2009
  • April 1-5, 2009 – spring ‘Classic’ show
  • April 30-May 3, 2009
  • June 4-7, 2009
  • July 2-5, 2009
  • July 30-August 2, 2009
  • September 3-6, 2009
  • October 1-4, 2009
  • November 4-8, 2009 – fall ‘Classic’ show
  • December 3-6, 2009
A few of the dates conflict which seems rather like poor planning to me but, if I have to chose one show, I'll be shopping Metrolina. Maybe I'll see you there.


fuzzylizzie said...

Marie, You have, of course, confirmed my worst fears. I was okay until you said "No beer." What kind of joint doesn't have beer? Seriously, one of the best things about Metrolina is the food selection.

It was nice that there were some vintage vendors though. I hope they will hang in there and last at least a few shows.

Well, the first weekend in April should be interesting. I'm pretty sure I'll be picking Metrolina, but I really hate the thought that the pickings will be divided into 2 shows!


The Vintage Peddler said...

Lizzie, fear not! Come spend the night with me and we'll do both shows in April. We can always smuggle in our own beer:)

Tor said...


lets get it right its the INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIBLES And Antiques SHOW

and I heard the same from several dealers on how bad it was, though a few friends sold well on Friday, the Saturday and Sunday crowds where, well lets say,LACK LUSTER !

The Vintage Peddler said...

I know, right? The dealers I spoke to said they did okay on Friday. All I know is that when I got there, paved or not, the parking lot was deserted. I did mention that the show at Metrolina is the ICA and I link to the site(right between the dates) *wink*
Thanks for the comment and hope to see you this weekend.

Roberto Frontera-Suau said...

Hi Marie;

I'm so glad you could stop by my booth at the Charlotte Show, and even better that you liked it. I have to say that Lydia (the show organizer) could not had been nicer to me and she really did a great job at advertising, setting up the preview party and making sure dealers were happy. However, I do agree with you on most of your comments. I used to show in the Metrolina April and Nov. shows many years ago, but had to stop because my merchandise and style of set up is not appropriate for outside shows with the wind, dust and rain. I always did very well there, both selling and buying, so I was excited to return to Charlotte in a great indoor facility. The show in general was well attended, even if not crowded, but sales were poor for me and for a lot of the dealers.
In general I though the crowd that attended was looking for a flea market more than an antique show. Many of the customers that stop at my booth were complimentary of the set up and merchandise, but really had no intention to buy. I saw almost no vintage collectors at all, and very few decorators, and those are my stronger customer base.

I do hope the show picks up and people give it a chance. However, in the current economy it is harder for us dealers to give a show time to grow. I have not made a final decision about returning for April, but when I do so I will let y'all know here so you can come visit!!!

Best of luck.

The Vintage Peddler said...

Thanks for the comments! I will be visiting both shows in April even though they are on the same weekend. We will see how they compete with their 'big' shows. "Spectacular" vs "Classic". Metrolina has always had a huge show so I suspect it will have more dealers. Stay tuned to find out.

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