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.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Back to the Future

Do you love the Mid-Century look? We're talking about the Mid-20th Century. That postwar era so many of us grew up in and fondly remember.

Barbara Johnson at Timeless Antiques & Collectibles in Aurora, OR, finds blogging on her website the perfect way to show detailed photos of specialties in her store, such as the ever-more-popular mid-century lighting and Heywood Wakefield furniture in complete sets, which go together like ice cream and strawberries.

Lamps from the Fifties feature those fiberglass shades that conduct light so well, and ceramic or metal bases, and creative switch design that allow for brighter or dimmer light.

Heywood Wakefield's designs from the mid-Forties into the Fifties emphasized curvy, clean lines, compact shapes, and honey blonde woods that brighten a room, and futuristic abstract upholstery patterns that collectors are beginning to appreciate again. Furniture from that era is often worse for wear (we're talking some 65 years ago, after all), so Barbara does her research and comes up with the appropriate fabrics and finishes to make the pieces look like Mom just proudly brought them home from the furniture store. Sweet memories.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Painting it Red (or your favorite color) in Vegas

Painted frames by local artists, at Not Just Antiques in Las Vegas

It takes a little courage for some of us to transform an object with paint, or maybe a little inspiration from an expert. And that's where The Painted Attic comes in. If you're in the Las Vegas  area, you could sign up for a painting workshop in their upstairs Recycled Furniture and Craft Boutique at Not Just Antiques, on June 28 at noon.

Bring an object you'd like to paint: a small box, picture frame, something that would add fresh new color to your décor. The class will provide a brush and a small can of paint for a $45 fee, and help you with your transformation, from preparation to painting to applying a protective coat of wax. The Painted Attic also has quite a few small items to choose from that might be fun to paint. Sign up by emailing

Not Just Antiques is at 1422 Western Avenue near Oakley, in Las Vegas. Call (702) 384-4922 for information. Also visit the store's Facebook page: Not Just Antiques in Las Vegas. Owner Renee Poole is also involved extensively in estate sales, auctions, consignments and eBay sales, and the store website has an Online Shop.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

If You've Got it, Flaunt It, Part II

Want to bring out your Inner Spielberg? There's no better reason than to make a video of your antique store. That's what Collector's Mall in Milwaukee, OR, did, and they uploaded their creation on their The result is a warm, welcoming tour of the store, complete with special focus on what makes the store unique: a rare, authentic 1950s soda fountain with a young soda jerk who proudly whips up a cherry coke and a banana split, for a great nostalgia rush.
Main Street Collector's Mall occupies an old drug store building, c. early 1900s, with an authentic soda fountain that still serves up breakfast, lunch and anything ice cream
Very popular model of the Starship Enterprise at Main Street Collector's Mall and Soda Fountain
Darlene and Pete Davis, owners, make sure there are plenty of photos in their Gallery as well, so anyone considering going to the Portland area is going to want to make a stop in Milwaukie while they're at it...especially this time of year for First Fridays celebrating art, food, live music, poetry, dance and community, from 5-9pm the first Friday of every month. And then there's Farmer's Markets June-September with music and crafts.

If there's anything visual that trumps a picture, it's "moving pictures" with sound. The video camera used to be a pricey and tricky-to-operate item but now technology has put vidcams in iPads and smart phones, as well as digital cameras. So making videos is now accessible to all of us who have the patience to experiment and learn. Have fun with it, fine-tune it and upload it. Make your website come alive.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What do men want? Mantiques!

Seasoned antique dealers have always known there are certain items in their collections dear to the heart of male shoppers. While the wife is swooning over ornate old sterling and Meissen porcelains, the husband is drawn to old gas station pumps, toys that bring back his youth, tools and fishing tackle...objects that these days are referred to as "Mantiques." And now there's a guide especially for these objects, Mantiques: A Manly Guide to Cool Stuff, by Eric Bradley and published by Krause Publications.

Mantiques covers quite a wide range of items, from surfing and fishing gear to men's fashions to jukeboxes and barware. And their popularity among buyers has boomed worldwide over the past few years, leading us to lament getting rid of our Generation One MacIntosh computer and Grandpa's shaving mug. This guide will make those antiquing forays Dad used to dread into exciting explorations of everything masculine...just in time for Father's Day.

Also in time for Dad's special fete is a special sale of Mantiques at King Richards Antique Center in Whittier, starting June 9. The most hard-to-shop-for man should get a kick out of something from the store's selection of cameras, watches, glasses, collectibles, sports/auto memorabilia, metal signs, tools, golf clubs, fishing poles, LP's, model cars and more. King Richard's, which has been dealing in antiques for more than 30 years, occupies the historic 100+-year-old Whittier Citrus Association building, which is also home of the College for Appraisers...a good source for appraisals the first Saturday of each month. King Richard's Antique Center is proud to once again win the San Gabriel Valley Tribune 2014 Reader's Choice Award!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

If you've got it, flaunt it

So you have an antique store, and you'd like people to come in and browse the awesome collection(s) you've spent weeks putting together for display. But advertising copy can only go so far. People want to see what you've got, and then let something irresistible grab them and bring them in the door. That's where cameras come in.

Digital cameras have made photography so much easier! I remember when I published a monthly antique magazine and had to take roll after roll of film to the processor, where they'd charge me beaucoup bucks to even look at what I'd come up with, and there was no tweaking possible. If a shot was great but a tad too dark, there was little to nothing I could do about it. And digital cameras are capable of dealing with less-than-optimal lighting situations, too.

Now there's PhotoShop, but even more affordable, a nifty program called Preview (came free with my Mac) that allows me to crop, lighten, turn a photo on its side if that's the effect I want. But the best thing is just to take a LOT of photos, until you get over that attitude that "I can't take good photos." Take enough shots of anything, you're bound to come up with something you like.

How do you get the photos up where people can see them? A website is a great way to do that. Witness Hollywood Treasures' (of Eugene, OR) website, with a gazillion photos on their home page. It would be very hard to go through all those shots without seeing something you'd love to bring home. My favorites are a glorious, understated yet graceful chandelier and a handsome dive helmet of brass and copper. Not only are they very attractive pieces, but the photographer took great closeups of them. (OK, I confess, I did a little creative cropping too...)

Maybe you don't have time or the expertise to put together a website. You can still get your photos online, when you're included in Cochran's Collector's Guide. Stores in the Guide that don't have websites can have a free web page, similar to Hollywood Treasures' home page but with a descriptive paragraph and a map to your location. Take a look under the Free Hosting/Links to Shops Currently Hosted menu above for examples.

Whether you've got a website or a web page with Cochran's, the next important step is to get the web address out there, on your business card, flyers, maybe a poster on your front door, your Facebook page, Twitter...anyplace your store can be publicly viewed. And take fresh photos when new items come in! Your camera could be your new best marketing friend. And it doesn't even have to be a real camera, you can use an iPad, or a smart phone. Just start clicking away!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

That Time Again...

Here at Cochran's we have begun work on the 2015 edition (our 26th annual!), to be published in early October. Right now we're contacting everyone who participated last year, plus a number of shops that contacted us after we went to press, to let them know our deadline (August 31!) and rates for next year.

If you have a store or antique-related business or produce an event in the five Western states (WA, OR, CA, NV, AZ) please click on PARTICIPATE in the menu above and see what we have to offer. Then click on your state on the little map, and you'll see the rates for that region.

Cochran's entire 152-page travel-size map guide is printed and distributed to the stores and shows in early November, and then uploaded on this website at the beginning of the new year. Click on CONTENTS in the menu above to visit any of the five states and their stores. Or see our Events section directly after our color section, to see antique fair and show schedules for the rest of 2014.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Doggie Night at Cottage Jewel Soiree

If antiques, art objects and pets are a big part of your life, there's a special event with your name on it in Danville, CA Thursday evening, May 22. Cottage Jewel invites animal lovers to come in that day and select a 1950s rhinestone collar for 20% off, so you can spiff up your furry friend for a "bitches in bling" photo opportunity. From 5-8 pm local author Peggy Stevens will be signing copies of her new book of poetry inspired by her rescue cat Tommy.

Marcia Harmon often keeps Cottage Jewel open late for evening soirees like this, and also hosts workshops in creating found art. Next workshop is Sunday, June 8, 1-4pm, to learn how to make exquisite mini book pendants. The store, which offers a blend of antiques, vintage, period jewelry, artisan wares and novelties, is at 100 West Prospect, Danville. Call 925-837-2664 for more information, or to sign up for the June 8 workshop, or visit the website at