Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lighting up the night

Last night was the longest night of the year, and it's no wonder everyone's turning on the lights.  No matter how you celebrate Christmas, chances are you're adding some lights to warm up the long, cold, dark nights.

Here's how Solvang Antiques in Solvang, CA dressed up their storefront with lights. Lovely!

We hope your holiday season is filled with light and joy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Going Glossy

For our 26th annual edition of Cochran's Collector's Guide, we're taking a big step in changing its appearance: the stock used in our color section is going to be 70# glossy. Big deal, you might say, but it makes a big difference in perception of our travel-size map book for antique stores and shows. For years we have dreamed of stepping up to gloss, but the cost seemed prohibitive. But this year our printer told us the stock we had always used is no longer being made and the other choices he offered weren't satisfactory. Rather than taking a step down, we decided to step up.

Hopefully, the glossy color section will also make for a more durable book. After all, people carry them around for an entire year.

The antiques business may be changing, making room for vintage, repurposed and recycled merchandise. But the people who know Cochran's still find the Guide the most useful publication out there for their shopping tours, from Washington State to Arizona. People still walk into the stores with copies of the Guide in hand.

We're starting to hear from store owners that shoppers are consulting the downloaded Guides on their mobile devices as well...45,000 downloads were made of the 2013 Guide. And this year we made the download even easier, by putting a QR (Quick Response) Code on the front cover. Just aim your smartphone at it, and in seconds you've got an even more portable copy.

Meanwhile, we're still getting calls from store owners who only recently became aware of the Guide and want to be included. It's too late to get anyone else in the 2015 hardcopy Guide, but it's still possible to be included in the online version, and start reaping the benefits before this Christmas. Then your store would automatically go into the 2016 Guide when we go to work on it next June. Just give us a call at 866-585-6162 and we'll make it happen.

Look for the 2016 Guide somewhere around Halloween at your favorite antique stores or find it here on our website.

Monday, September 8, 2014

What else we do...

The Cochran's Duo is in the depths of deadline drudgery right now (naaah, it's not really all that onerous, but it makes for good alliteration). But after we go to press, get the 2015 Guide shipped out to our distributors (coincidentally, our advertisers) and get the new version uploaded on this website so the rest of the world can browse it, we'll keep busy doing animal rescue. Yes, we're big softies who take in homeless, abandoned dogs and cats, give them some rehab and find them new homes.

Click the "RESCUE" tab on the menu above to see the rest of the story...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Taking it outside: Parking Lot Flea Markets

In the dog days of August, almost everything seems to take too much effort. But in Beaverton, OR, the owners of Curiosities Vintage are going the extra mile by planning the Beaverton Flea Market this Saturday, August 16, from 10-4. Knowing they'll draw folks who can't resist a flea market, Jenn and Travis at Curiosities are offering an extra incentive. They've got a big parking lot, and they know how to use it! From the looks of vendor signups, they're looking forward to the biggest flea market yet, with more than 50 sellers. Here's a video showing a recent one, just to give an idea. The booths wrap around the store entrance, for security and (of course!) to offer shelter and more shopping options inside!

A big parking lot has so much potential beyond a place to park cars! Magnolia Antiques Home & Interiors in Carmichael, CA puts on three annual Saturday outdoor marketplaces (Sept. 20, 8am-3pm, is their next one), renting space for $30 along a shady line of big trees at the edge of their parking lot. They've built participation up to 70 vendors. And of course shoppers are naturally going to wander into the air-conditioned store as well to cool off and do a bit more browsing. How can they resist?

Another antique store that has Peddlers Parking Lot Sales the first Saturday of every month (weather permitting) is The Antique Warehouse in Salida (just north of Modesto, CA). Here's a shot of their August 5 event, which is held in a more secure parking lot behind the store. You'll notice they have a vendor selling pizza and hot dogs. Setup starts at 6am with the sale officially beginning at 8, and vendors can download an application online at their website. Check it out at their next one, September 6.

Make no mistake, putting on a parking lot sale/outdoor market/peddler's fair is a lot of work, both for the store owners and the vendors! Setup usually starts in the early morning, and the work goes on until late afternoon with cleanup. The best sales are those that have vetted vendors' stock to ensure quality displays. But often flea market shoppers will also discover the store for the first time, and just might come back some quieter day. If it's planned well, and approached with a sense of fun and enough workers to cover all the bases, a parking lot sale can do a lot to stimulate new business.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Excuse our dust...

While most folks are on vacation, summer's a busy time here at Cochran's offices. Production is in progress for the 2015 edition of the Guide, and construction is underway to improve our website. When it's finished, we'll take you on a guided tour.

The book itself isn't affected by the sawdust, drills and hammers, so feel free to explore the 2014 Guide here anytime. Just click on Contents in the menu above, it'll take you to the Table of Contents and you can select the town or city you want to visit. And if our Guide takes you to one of our advertisers' shops, please tell them how you found them. You'll make their day!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Saving the world?

I don't know if it'll help save the world, but the shopping vintage/recycled/used movement has definitely taken off. I remember my mother insisting on buying new when I was growing up, and then she discovered thrift stores and became addicted. Some of my best memories are thriftshopping with my mom. My only regret is that she never got to go to an estate sale.

I've been buying vintage most of my adult life, partly because of economics but also because it's more fun!

Another reason I like to buy at flea markets, estate sales, antique stores, vintage stores, garage sales, etc.: often I can actually find something that wasn't made in China! Some items were even made in the USA! Then there's the damage caused by the clothing industry to the environment and the Third World. So maybe if enough of us did it, we could actually save the world.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Packing it all in

Ever wish you could be around when a container of wonderful old stuff is first cracked open and its treasures revealed? In their current blog, Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage notes that June is when containers from their buying trips arrive, and they show a photo of a container just after it's been opened. They call the game of packing it all in "Heavy Object Tetris" because getting it all in is like creating a puzzle.
Very interesting pieces all packed into a container, just arrived at Aurora Mills
Beyond the fascinating architectural finds that are their specialty, Aurora Mills carries furniture, art, lighting and industrial elements that lend themselves to all kinds of creative uses. In addition to items from factories, bakeries and offices there are goodies like old gym baskets, work benches, old bottles complete with labels, an oak beer keg... and they post photos of most of these ready-for-reuse items on their website. And you can catch up with the latest news on their Facebook page under Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage. Aurora Mills is at 14971 First St NE in Aurora, OR, phone (503) 678-6083.