The Arlington Racetrack Antiques Show was held this past weekend in Arlington Heights, IL, a suburb of Chicago. It’s a small show that unfortunately has been getting smaller as time goes by. Shawn Hastings is the new promoter, having bought the show from Rosemary Krieger of Dolphin Promotions. The show used to occupy the entire first level of the racetrack, as well as a small area on the second floor. Now the show occupies approximately 50% of the original space, and that’s too bad. Real collectors show up for this show, so I would think that the show would stabilize or grow. If dealers do well at a show, the word gets around and other dealers want to exhibit there. It starts a beneficial cycle, where more dealers exhibit and more attendees come and the show gets better and better. I’ll start the ball rolling and see if I can facilitate it.
I spoke to many dealers at the show and asked how they did. Almost to a person, everyone said they had a good to outstanding show. One dealer told me he had his best Arlington show ever. Not one single dealer told me he had a poor show. That’s the kind of news everyone likes to hear. It means there’s no more talk of recession and no negativity. The new management increased the advertising budget to include television, and that’s always good. Attendance at the show was only moderate, but the right people showed up.
On a personal level, I would like to thank all of my loyal clients, some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for twenty years. Most of my business was to these clients, which on one hand is great, but on the other, gets me nervous. Thank you, thank you. You know who you are. I always need new clients. There were some, but not enough. Interest at the show was strongest in Tiffany Favrile glass and French cameo glass.
I’m looking forward to two super shows in a couple of weeks, the Los Angeles Antiques Show at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, April 22 to April 25, and the Chicago Merchandise Mart International Antiques Show, April 30 to May 3. More on those in future blog posts.
I’m taking a lot of time to add new items to my website. In the last few days I’ve added to the Gallé glass and Icart etchings listings. Please take a look, as every day I’m adding more. Click on this link chasenantiques.com.
Please send me your suggestions or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer your question in a future blog.
I appreciate your intent at this effort to resuscitate what may be a moribund show. I have done this show since McHugh & co., sometime in the ’80s, and all through Dolphin’s tenure. I have only missed one show in all those decades, and have been both downstairs and (mostly) upstairs. It was once my favorite show.
I wonder if you talked to any of the upstairs dealers after the spring show? I personally took in about $800, which means that for the very first time, I did not take a contract for the next show. I offer for sale, along with eclectic oddments, a fine collection of Victorian Scottish silver and agate jewelry, and did not sell one piece (in contrast to the past, when 4 or 5 pieces would make a show sing,)
The promoters claimed to announce that there were dealers upstairs every half hour; I and a few other upstairs dealers kept track, and they did about half that number of listless announcements. They were entirely unresponsive when a dealer near me went to them and asked for standing signs to be placed near escalators suggesting upstairs was also a venue. They said it was “against fire rules,” although clearly there could have been placement in compliance with such rules. There was an electronic sign near the ceiling by an escalator . . . hard to see and with alternating other messages. I myself did not bother to go down to talk to them, since my efforts to get them to increase announcements/signage during the fall show had met with defensiveness rather than any positive action.
Beyond their apparent disinterest in the upstairs dealers, the promoters did not even think to put signs out at nearby well-traveled street intersections, alerting passersby to the presence of the show.
While the present promoters no doubt have good intentions and think they are doing appropriate promotion, they are falling far short of what is needed, at least as far as the upstairs portion of the show. I predict the next show will be again in half the downstairs, with perhaps a hapless couple of dealers above. And that, unless more and better promotion is effected, it will die. And I will miss it . . . it used to be among my favorites, but not any more.