| By Sarah Campbell
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Murfreesboro Antique Show opened its doors July 17-19 for its 43rd annual run with many familiar faces, but a new team at the helm and a new sense of energy.
Nancy and Michael Weaver of Georgia, longtime silver exhibitors at the show, recently added the event to the stable of shows they’ve been promoting in Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama since 1996. Lending a hand was their son Henry.
“I was pregnant with Henry the first time we did this show, 25 years ago,” said Nancy Weaver. “Now here he is helping us.”
Also there to assist was former owner Don Detweiler of Murfreesboro, who retired and handed over the reins to the Weavers in January.
“He was here every morning to make sure everything was running smoothly. It was important to him that we have a smooth transition,” said Weaver.
The show, held at the Middle Tennessee State University athletic center, drew a crowd which Weaver estimated at slightly above last year’s, with most customers hailing from the Southeastern region, especially Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. And despite the economy, several dealers reported decent and even excellent sales.
“It was the best year I’ve ever had at the show,” said Becky Puckett of Franklin, Tenn.
Puckett said her sales included a $1,600 pair of Old Paris porcelain vases, an iron bird bath for $500, a pair of bronze lamps for $1,200, a barley twist oak table and chairs for $600, sterling, and other nice smalls.
“It seemed to be the more unusual or rare things, or things really priced right, that sold,” Puckett observed.
“As with any show, you have a few dealers who don’t do well and others who do, but I think considering the economic atmosphere, it was generally good,” said Weaver. “And we were pleased with the turnout. A lot of people came all three days.”
The Weavers increased advertising for this year’s show, and started the advertising campaign earlier than in years past, which they said seemed to make a difference. Everyone who paid the entry fee was entered in a door prize drawing for a flat screen television, with additional entries available for an extra donation benefiting the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is still helping several Middle Tennessee residents who were victims of a powerful tornado that swept through the Murfreesboro area in early April.
But since the show has an enviable track record of consistent success over the years, the new owners did not attempt major changes. They kept the number of exhibitors to approximately 70, of which about 60 were return vendors. New dealers included J. Christopher Mitchell of Point Clear, Ala., with Civil War and militaria items, and Michael Hall of Franklin, Tenn., with early Southern pieces. Some exhibitors offered services rather than goods: Baron Restoration of Stone Mountain, Ga., restored porcelain and glass objects, and Estes-Simmons of Atlanta did silver replating and repair. A critical element to the show’s success has been the good variety of types, eras, and price points of antiques, and the Weavers say they’re committed to maintaining that.
“We understand that not everybody has $50,000 to spend on a painting, but they may be able to spend $300 on a nice drawing or something else of good quality,” said Weaver. She added that their waiting list had grown during and after the close of the show to approximately 40 vendors.
The Weavers are considering some minor cosmetic changes for next year – including better signage to direct shoppers to the elevators so they won’t feel compelled to climb the formidable set of stairs leading from the parking lot to the show entrance. But they don’t seem inclined to add or subtract anything substantial from the recipe that’s worked so well for the past 43 years.
“Really, the show has been so successful, our goal is just to get more people in the door. [Murfreesboro] is really growing, so we believe this show will too. We’re excited about its future.”
Next year’s show dates have been set for July 16-18.
Contact: (770) 928-0052