Antiques are rare but the shows themselves are becoming just as scarce as the number of dealers declines due to what some say is lack of interest in the industry.
With two weeks until his show, however, promoter Rich Gryziec of RSG Antiques, Bloomsburg, is having the opposite problem. He has a waiting list of exhibitors hoping to make the final cut for the Bloomsburg Antique Show & Sale, which will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Gryziec had some last-minute cancellations due to health or personal issues and turned to his list to invite two back-up dealers to the event. “They were thrilled to learn that they can be at our show,” he said.
About 75 vendors will showcase a variety of antique furniture, glass, pottery, textiles, jewelry, primitives, books, paper and postcards. “It is a good mix,” he said. “That is why our show is so successful.”
To keep the event “pure,” he showcases only genuine antiques — no collectibles such as comic books.
The show has been in existence for more than 30 years, making it one of the longest-running antiques shows in the area. It takes place twice a year, in November and March, on the second weekends of the month.
The promoter bemoans the fact that more people aren’t getting into antiques as a career or hobby. “The biggest obstacle is getting younger dealers,” Gryziec said. “So many of the regular dealers are passing away, and the interest just isn’t there in a second or third generation of the family or any of the younger people.”
That’s why he encourages dealers to reach out to the younger people attending the show to engage them in antiques. “I tell them to explain to the kids what an item like an old toy is and tell them that Grandpa and Grandma had this when they were little,” he said.
Although the show takes place twice a year, don’t worry about seeing the same vendors or the same items at both. Gryziec changes dealers, and the dealers themselves switch merchandise.
He said the difference between an antiques audience then and now is that people are more particular about an item and want better things at a good price.
Repurposed or green items are the hot ticket these days, he said, as more consumers have environmental concerns. “People are finding out that the construction from the furniture in the 1800s lasts better than most furniture made today,” he said. “The minute you buy furniture from a store and bring it home, the value in that item drops. But with antique furniture, it is a good investment.”
Interest in Depression-era glass has waned, Gryziec said.
It takes about four days to set up an event of this scale. About 1,500 to 2,000 people will attend the two-day event. “For a show to get that kind of crowd is just amazing,” he said.
Clyde Bunce handled the event for about 25 years, but, for medical reasons, sold the show in 2013 to Gryziec, who first became interested in antiques as an attendee of the show. He became a dealer in a general line of country and primitives and later began exhibiting at the Bloomsburg show. When he retired from his flooring business, he devoted more time and energy to antiques.
Items are for sale, but Gryziec doesn’t discourage browsing. He bills the event as family-friendly and tries to keep the admission price low. Refreshments are available.
“It’s cheaper than going to a movie and much more interesting,” he said.