Things Are Going Great At My Antiques Stores, Except When They’re Not


The holidays were good to my two antiques stores. Sales were twice last year’s in the Florida store, up 50 percent in the Missouri store. So, you think I’d be happy. And I am, sort of.

But, in addition to selling my stuff, I also rent space to other antiques dealers who want to sell their stuff. This is a good way to keep both stores filled whether I am physically there or not. The inventory is always changing, and the store keeps 10 percent of other dealers’ sales — plus there’s that monthly rent.

So, technically, a landlord is what I am. Fifty percent of my job is to rent space to other dealers and to keep them in line, continually impressing upon them that we are an antiques store, so get those Beanie Babies out of here.

In Florida, things are going, uh, swimmingly. There are 50 dealers renting everything from floor space to wall space to individual shelves. We have a waiting list of people who want space, but we’ve plum run out. Due to supply and demand, I’ve raised the rent. Nobody’s budged.

In Missouri, it’s more of a challenge. In its defense, the north store is only two years old as compared a 17-year history at the south store. And things do take a minute to get off the ground. We have about 30 dealers there now, but we have twice the space.

And Beanie Babies are the least of my problem.

I’m in Florida now, so a lot of my north store responsibilities have been passed on to the manager, who called yesterday.

“Deb, I’m sorry but I had to call the police.”

“Never be sorry about calling the police. What happened?” I knew it was bad because this manager, despite her childlike voice, is one tough cookie. She would never call the police unless it was really bad.

“A woman was in here who was so high on something that the customers were afraid to leave me alone with her. They were trying to hang out until she left, but I couldn’t get her to leave.”

Generally speaking, customers who won’t leave your store are a good thing — they are having fun and spending money. Customers who won’t leave your store because a raving meth head has gone off her rocker and they fear bodily harm to the manager is not a good thing. When you’re trying to build a solid reputation, it is quite a bad thing.

“Did the cops settle it down?”

“They did. They told her she can never, ever come back in the store.”

“Good. So that’s settled.”

“Well, there was one other thing.”

“I’m listening.”

“The guy who drove her here came in to tell the police that yes, she was crazy and he had just been doing her a favor by giving her a ride and he would drive her home.”


“But he was wearing a lime green Speedo on his head with the crotch over one ear and his head sticking out a leg hole, claiming that was his face mask.”

Sigh. The irony here is that the guy with the bathing suit on his head was not the problem. He is welcome to return at any time.

Things like that are what makes it hard to convince people to rent space in my store. Plus, it’s yet another chapter in yet another book that I don’t have time to write. How does that saying go,? “The more I know of people, the more I like my dog.”

It’s true.


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