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Monday, August 15, 2011

Road trip report from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana

What a trip!  Eleven days on the road to stamp shows in Novi, Michigan and Cincinnati (Stampaway) with antique mall shopping and thrift store digging in between and a detour to Indianapolis to pick up Chris Meador (formerly Coffee Break) en route to Ohio.  Ate at Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel for breakfast in three states; grits, biscuits and gravy offered everywhere...tried Three Sisters in Indianapolis on the recommendation of Drive-Ins, Diners and Dives and had corn cakes with lemon curd...yummy!  So many antique malls I actually got tired of shopping but sold most of my "finds" at the shows -- hated to see the case full of watch crystals go, as well as the fabulous old books, games, display cases, etc. but did bring home Mr. Magoo, Little Miss No Name, Marky Maypo and "rubber boy," who will make his next appearance at the Costa Mesa show in September.  Met lots of new customers at Novi and reconnected with lots of "veterans" of Stampaway -- this was the 19th year of Stampaway and we're already planning for the 20th anniversary show next August.  Stayed at a variety of "chain" hotels -- Quality Inn in Springfield, Ohio (near the Heart of Ohio super antique mall) should be ashamed to include the word "quality" in their name -- we should have gone with our instincts and stayed at the Drake or Harmony motels in Springfield -- they at least had character, were cheap, and the hookers would not have bothered US.  You must go online and find out if you have a Goodwill Outlet store or "as-is" store near you.  You buy from bins by the pound...books, luggage,clothes, toys, bric-a-brac, dishes, name it, they had it...but bring gloves!  Amazing "protocol" for shopping at one of these (3 in the Indianapolis area) -- they wheel in waist high "bins" of miscellaneous merchandise every two hours and wheel out the "perused" bins.  People line up for the new merchandise but you can't touch the new bins until they are all wheeled in...they fill up shopping cards and cover them up and go for more...and we were at one of the stores for 4 hours!  Got clothes, luggage, vintage sheet music, books, game pieces, stationery, glassware, props for my booth...and I didn't feel bad giving away the stuff I bought that I didn't want to cart home...We have an "as-is" Goodwill store in Santa Ana and I've been a few times over the past 40 years (found theater seats there in the early 70's), but I'm definitely going to go back soon and look for more locations.  Not for the faint of heart -- hard core diggers only need apply -- but what a treasure trove.  I'm sure that people who own thrift stores themselves spend days there, as well as people who sell online.  Found great books on the photographer Steichen, a Hitchcock film book, vintage sheet music that I sold to a young gal at Stampaway who wanted it for her wedding decorations, game pieces, a metal bowl that we saw at antique malls for $20+.  SCORE!  Had a good time as always with Mary Jo and Chris -- loved seeing customers and friends from 19 years of Stampaway -- Nancy, Sandra, Ellen, Tink, Dan, Connie, and the rest who know who you are -- as well as vendors who don't do many west coast shows.  Met the new owner(Kristin) of Coffee Break Design -- be sure to visit her web site -- EVERYTHING is listed and ready to order.  Missed Mike Meador terribly and was so happy to see the love for him expressed by customers and vendors letting Chris know how much he meant to them and how much we all love her.  Next year is the BIG 20-year Stampaway anniversary show -- you can't miss that!  We're planning our Friday night costumes already...since Ted and Michelle Cutts (Art Gone Wild, Stamper's Anonymous, etc.) won the vendor costume in their great outfits (nice chest hair and wig, Ted), Michelle got to pick the theme for 2012 and we heard a rumor that it might be PROM NIGHT.  Time to dig out the prom pictures -- I know I couldn't fit into that size 5 dress any more...good show, nice people, the BEST run show in the country, and always a good time.  Have my 45-year high school reunion this coming weekend -- one of my new stamp words is "High School Is Never Over," and apparently that's true.  I hope there are no "girl fights" on warehouse road this time -- everyone better behave coming soon when my luggage and boxes arrive later this week.  I sent everything home Federal Express Ground, what a bargain!

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