With warmer weather comes… YARD SALES. Yard sales are main reason some folks get out of bed on Friday and Saturday in the summer. I no longer attend these sales regularly, but before we started the business I was a weekend warrior like the rest. I put quite a few miles on my truck by trying out different towns, thinking there might be something I could not live with out.
A yard sale is a great way to find things you don’t know you need, cheap. Walking in to the shop today I saw a couple of sales being set up. The first hour or so always is the best for the die hard yard saler. These folks typically peruse the paper the night before and plan a good route. Then they troll the sales looking for an opening before the set time. Any time you can get a jump on the completion you are better off.
Yard sales are like a scratch ticket, sometimes the oldest house has the newest stuff and vice versa. In the past, there have been, some fabulous finds at sales. Some of these have made the news. I have never found anything of that magnitude, but I have found some great collectibles and some household items I have used. A yard sale id hard work for the seller, but just as hard for the buyer, especially when they cant find a good sale or it RAINS!!!!!!
The bathroom here at Houlton stamp and coin has been out of service for over a year now. We need to finish the floor and do some painting, mostly minor things. After reading online about all the trouble North Carolina is having, I probably won`t jump on finishing the bathroom too quickly. The controversy can stay south of us. Our bathroom was referred to as a “one Holer” anyways so I think we would have passed muster with those folks just fine.
I was shocked to read that some people just refuse to go to North Carolina; some of them were scheduled to perform acts while others are entities that provide services to the state. Here at HSC we might not agree with things but we always come to work. We come into to work sick, sad, happy, depressed, elated and sometimes poorly dressed. No matter what we go to work. I think it is important to be open the hours you say you are going to be open. I also thing folks should make commitments and stick to them, barring major unforeseen circumstances.
We are open six days a week here at HSC and usually are here by 7am and leave by 4pm. Within that timeframe, if you come to visit, you will hear us banter back and forth amongst ourselves. If you come in at the right time you will meet Dave the mailman, or catch Tom visiting in the morning. We resemble the Mr. Rogers shows at some level, just with a great deal more swearing and creative ways of describing Davey B and his likes. In the end we are a pretty funny group and seem to make people smile, this wouldn`t happen if we decided to not go to work…..
(Not all my blogs can be super, sorry. These blogs are getting more hits than my tenant’s tobacco pipe, which tells me someone likes them. See you next week when I explore the keyboard from downtown)
I watched a show last night that embodied the reasons we believe in something. The host stated a very simple fact that I am paraphrasing “no one ever says Amelia Earhart is dead, instead everyone just keepings searching for her.” This hope, that Amelia is alive, is what keeps all of us searching for something. This relates to the antique business especially well. Dealers are always searching for the next great find, the next Declaration of Independence on the back of an old picture, the next gold coin hoard, etc. However is the prize that hoard or the journey one takes in search of the prize?
As a dealer I frequent small shops, yard sales, flea markets, auctions and anywhere selling used wares. I always find something, sometimes for resale, other times it is for my own office. In either case I enjoy the ride there, the lunch (I obviously like to eat) or the company (I never take Dave). I have had some of my greatest adventures on the road trying to find stuff for the store. I have made some good friends and lost some other friends in the pursuit of the prize. I don’t begrudge the money spent on gas or the cost of the meals; rather I think these costs are the dues we pay to have the memories.
I once cleaned out a house in Limestone Maine; this was a decade ago and in the middle of February none the less. It was a multi-trip cleanout, as the couple had to do this in stages to allow them to use the furniture and dishes while the house sold. There was very little I wanted in this house, but February is a tough time to get “new” inventory, so beggars can’t be choosers. On day one of this pick, the couple owned 22 cats and 1 ferret, I am not exaggerating. On day 2 of this pick the ferret had left for a new home, he did this of his own volition; I think 22 cats would make for a strange living situation. By the end of this pick the wife was throwing things off the second story porch onto her husband who was helping us load thing below. I have never forgotten the sound wicker makes when it connects with a man’s head….
The search is as important as the find, however the most important thing is really to never stop believing what you are looking for is out there. Settling for something less, a reproduction maybe, will never fill the void, it hopefully just irritates you enough to keep you searching.
I received many comments on the last blog (shopping locally), so I decided to expand a little further on that theme. Shopping locally helps everyone and keeps the big box wolf at bay, However how about taking it one step further and buying locally made products. This doesn’t apply to all items, as some things can’t be purchased as locally made, but for those items that can, why not grab them and support the artist or creator that makes the item?
The reasons not to buy locally that I hear are simple and mostly are based on cost. We sell locally made MICMAC baskets. These baskets are handmade and represent the hard work and dedication of a Native American tribe to supply a local economy. Historically the local farmers would purchase large quantities of baskets for potato picking. I hear many a tale of cold, crisp mornings that these baskets clung to the hands of local youth that picked potatoes. While the sun rose and warmed the land, it also warmed the hearts of these workers, many of them trying to get money for school clothes or new bicycles.
We carry Richard Silliboy baskets, he is well known for quality and beauty and his baskets are in many states. In his youth he sold these door to door, his black hair combed into the popular duck tail, he made his pay in the same manner as any cold call salesman would. Times have changed, now he displays baskets at many of the larger fairs in Maine as well as many Maine made shops that are available throughout the state.
The cost of a locally made, hand signed, dated basket is much greater than that of a “Made in China” basket. This cost includes the maker finding the brown ash, splitting this ash, finding the right strips for each basket and then finally weaving these strips into a thing of beauty. I have sold many baskets, from potato to pack baskets and I yet to have anyone come back and say the basket fell apart or the basket received hate mail. What I do hear is more in line with folks receiving compliments on the great piece from Maine or how well the item stood up to the rigors of fiddle head hunting. A few years ago I sold a basket to a wonderful lady from Key West that stopped her RV in Houlton, she was so excited to get a Native made basket. She received comments from Maine to Florida on the beauty and craftsmanship of this piece.
In the end it’s not how much something costs as much as it is how much something adds to your life. A Maine made “anything” typically adds value to any life, whether it becomes a magazine holder or a holder of fiddle heads…..buy local, stay local, never be disappointed.
Thanks for reading, have a great day from the square (where it is finally sunny).
The term branching out, I believe, comes from the flow of a river. At a terminus, a river will find a way to create collateral smaller streams so as to keep the flow moving. The same can be said for small business. All small businesses rely on local support, maybe more so than “big box stores”. A small business is typically run by an entire family, not just the face you see when you come in. The spouse helps, sometimes by doing the books or helping to rearrange stuff. The children typically clean and help lug or carry whatever ware are being sold.
Recently I saw a post on Facebook that seemed to sum up the way of life for a small business. I will paraphrase, but the gist of the post was that when you purchase something locally (small business) you are helping to buy a hockey season or a dance class for a child, you are creating a community by simply buying local. Creating a community through your choice of where to spend your money seems like quite a feat, but it is accurate.
Money spent locally turns into money used locally. The money you spend at a small business becomes a part of the community through rent, lights, odd jobs paid by the owner(s) to other locals, memberships in local organizations and of course food purchased locally. Downtown Houlton has some open store fronts, however it also has some filled storefronts. The next time you are thinking of heading to a “big box store” take a minute and stop downtown. If you are looking for a unique gift, the options are limitless and much more individualized. If you are looking to just browse, you could spend an hour and never see the same shop. So next time, instead of going for convenience or all in one shopping.how about branching out….and coming downtown?
See you downtown
A pawn shop operates much like a bank, offering loans and charging interest on those loans, that’s where the similarities end. Pawn shops offer collateral based loan, collateral that the shop holds until the loan is paid or sells the item if the loan defaults. Pawn shops charge very high interest and only offer short term (30 day with some extension options) loans. Banks offer long term loans at lower interest rates, banks also pull your credit and verify that you can meet the obligation set forth, Pawn shops do not care about your credit. Pawn shops care about the value of the item you leave in their care.
Pawn shops loan, typically, 40-45 percent of value on items. We do not accept items worth a retail of under 50.00 as it is simply not worth the time or paperwork. Yes there is a great deal of paperwork, all pawns are uploaded to the police department, all licenses are sent along with the pawn contract to the police department as well. The police will check the list of stolen items reported statewide, if your pawned item matches anything on that list then the police will be visiting you. As a pawn shop you work hand and hand with the police as well as the customer.
There are differences in what shops will loan on similar items. Some shops are really good at selling game systems, so they offer more for those. Other shops may maintain a steady flow of customers that want precious metals, those shops offer more for those items. In any case it is always good to check multiple shops, if possible. There is not a lot of dicker room on a pawn loan. Usually that amount is set by the owner as he/she knows what they need for a profit to cover the expense of storing the item, maintaining records and employee costs.
How a pawn DOES work:
Have a good night, see you in the square sometime.
What is the actual cost of having a yard sale? This question seems to be in every persons eyes when they consign an estate with us or sell the contents of a home outright to us. I have never really looked at it from a “homeowner” point of view. Let me try to break it down for you, as best as I can, from personal experience.
Let us know if we can help, sometimes just hiring us to price things works well for folks too...More to come soon.
Have a great evening, hope to see you soon downtown.
This is the first blog I have done, which tell me there will be some hiccups. We have recently changed the store around in hopes of finding a better flow to things, both new things coming in and items heading out to a new home.
Connecting with a fine auctioneer was the first step in this successful change. Melissa Wells is our new chosen auctioneer. She auctions in the big “city” of Baileyville Maine and does so with flair and a great Vermont charm. Originally from Vermont, Melissa has secured Maine resident status in our opinion. She was able to sell off the contents of the basement here at 8 Market Square as well as the lingering pieces on the floor. She did so in a timely;y fashion and far exceeded our expectations. Thanks to Melissa and her fine crew at J.W.`s Auction House.
The second step in this process is to hone your want list down from everything under the sun to certain items or areas of interest. We are skilled at estate clean outs and have done too many to mention, however some items are just stagnant. Furniture seems to sit the longest and for that reason we are offering very little of it. One or two pieces are on the floor, but we are certainly not “deep” in furniture.
As I close we are always seeking complete estates, working side by side with a fine auctioneer and having the storage room free allows us to best serve the public. We also have the ability to sell the house for you or the estate as we added real estate agent to our CV last year.
Have a great evening, hope to see you soon downtown.
HOULTON STAMP, COIN & PAWN