Back From Grand Rapids Antiques Market

Antiques Show Grand Rapids Scales

Looking for antiques show in Grand Rapids? Grand Rapids Antiques Market is one of the first antique shows of the year. West Michigan may seem to be an odd choice for a January show, but during the past weekend (Jan 4 and 5), Grand Rapids proved that the furniture city has a penchant for antiques and vintage.

One of the highlights of the show was the appearance of Danielle Colby of American Pickers. She graciously greeted every visitor for more than four hours on Saturday and returned on Sunday for a Q&A session. A burlesque dancer with tattooed arms and big smiles, she is the antithesis of elitism in antiques, in which senior white males in blue blazers discuss items in lengthy jargon.

2014 Grand Rapids Antiques Market
2014 Grand Rapids Antiques Market

The show is a hybrid of antiques and vintage, high art and low art, fine and folk. Such a mixture may turn off some old-schooled antiques shoppers who are used to seeing walled spaces filled with mahogany furniture and paintings in gilded frames, but it brought in a diverse crowd.

Unlike many other shows, furniture did well in the show, in particular, items with aged patinas that fit easily in modern living spaces. A country cabinet, an old chest, a wine barrel and a set of miniature Pennsylvania painted dining set were a few sold items spotted on site. Eric Miller, one of the co-owners of the show, commented that free delivery services within 10 miles radius made such transactions carefree.

The venue — DeVos Place, the convention center — is a great choice for the show. In the lobby area, visitors were greeted by a vintage camper from Retro Rentals. Then the show filled all the hallways and a huge ballroom. Inside the ballroom than 100 dealers show in six rows of booths under a beautiful light. (In fact, a few visitors complained that more spare chairs are needed in different areas because of the size of the show.) Most dealers were satisfied with the ease of loading because they could drive the vehicles directly into a spare ballroom space.

Worden Select Objects had a marvelous display of some most interesting unique items. A pair of die-cast dolphins were hung on the wall, showing some fine details and vivacious design. They were part of 16 used as pool surrounds from a Chicago estate. The green patina looked fantastic against a white wall. Sal Palmer brought his repurposed furniture made of architectural elements. A table on display is made of salvaged ceiling tiles and wood boards stained into an array of faded colors. BJ Pawlaczyk, the Outboard Motor Guy, was happy to share his knowledge and passion in vintage boat motors. It was in the show that Mr. Pawlaczyk met one of his clients who bought a motor from him two decades ago. That made his day.

One would not expect such a big crowd from a town of less than 300,000. In fact, there was a waiting line to get in before the show opened on Saturday. And the line for Danielle began to form even one hour before she was supposed to come. The show promoters later changed to adopt a numbering system so that only people in the number range need go to the waiting line while the rest can shop with ease. The crowd was also eager to spend. Some dealers made great sales within the first hour of the show. The bustling shopping scenes almost felt like Christmas for an antique show. But unlike the Christmas shopping in which one buys for someone else, here one shops for his own. Thus, they looked happier and more utilitarian at the same time. Perhaps, for in the deep heart of post-holiday shopping blues, one still feels the urge for something that he cannot quite get from his Christmas gift. For them, Grand Rapids Antiques Market is the golden time of the year for local antiques and vintage shoppers.

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