A different kind of treasure hunt

This morning, continuing to seek the clog in the drain that has both restrooms closed in the store!

I’m too big to go down there in a wetsuit…just hoping the Drano worked overnight, otherwise we’ve got no bathroom until we can get a plumber in.  Well, we wanted our own store.  :^)


Great day off!

Sometimes we have to step away from the store for a day or two, just to recharge.  Although we have many projects to complete, and the end of the month bookwork is approaching, we felt today was a good day to relax and take a drive.

Now, as folks know, we started out as antique “enthusiasts”, mostly just refurnishing our 100 year old home with items appropriate to the time period it was built.  We used to enjoy traveling the state, and bordering states, visiting antique stores and shopping for those special things that we felt would fit into our home.  We’ve missed those trips.

So, today, we just took off and went shopping.  I can’t say where, because we plan to go back, but we found ourselves in an antique store owned by a wonderful gentleman in his later years who is planning to retire soon.  I mentioned to him that we had just opened a store in Pekin, and next thing we knew…we were dashing to an ATM and our “day off” had turned into a true “picking” experience!

This kind man offered us some excellent investments, encouragement, and shared some of his experiences with us.  I cannot claim that a guiding hand led us to his STORE, as I have not asked our Father for financial help in our endeavours…but I have asked Him to guide our direction regarding our morals and ethics.  I do believe He led us to this MAN who happened to be a Preacher, and was obviously a man of high ethical standards!  It was great to see a man of such character had done well in the antique trade.

It was a wonderful shopping experience, and we will soon be offering some outstanding new products including a little bit of Canton, Il history…chicken bone porcelain…many things that customers have been asking us to locate.  We also have some great primitives, and even a little “advertising” including a 1960’s “Nestle’s Cocoa” package (a bank).  A total of 26 things…folks will just have to stop in to check them out. 

For our home (which was the intent after all) we found a great oil lamp, very ornate diamond pattern Depression Glass…not sure the maker.  Folks who have shopped “Spirit” will be surprised to know this is the first oil lamp we have kept for our home. :^)

Mostly though, what made the day so wonderful was meeting our new friend.  I tell ya….if I can make my customers in “Spirit” feel as great as he made us feel….if I can behave with the honesty and caring he displayed….I’ll be doing my job!



Can’t wait until tomorrow!!!!!

I’m so excited to see what records we break this weekend!!!!  Mostly, I’m hopeful that we have some special treasures waiting for just the right people!  I love it when someone has that “Oh!!!  Oh!!!  There it is!!!!”, moment.

We should have our Gift Certificates ready to go in the morning.  That should help the folks doing Christmas shopping. 

The store has had some new people rent display space…and many dealers have stocked up recently.  It’s a great weekend to get in and see what is on display.

On another note….I don’t know what is up with me, but my old battle wounds like the bad hip from getting rear-ended by a semi, the bad knees from wear and tear, the hands..worn out from working physical labor, and many other parts of me just sort of run down…have all decided to hurt at the same time.  I took some medicine (probably shouldn’t do this) that Debi takes for a bad back…and I’m kind of loopy right now.  But I don’t hurt so bad. 

Oh, and I found an old Marx toy tractor on Ebay….from a guy in Peoria selling it, and I think I won the bid!  It is not in the greatest shape…but it is really cool looking.  I liked it because it’s just about as old as I am…and though it has it’s own rough parts it is still running.  I should have it in the store soon.   

A Tale of Two or ThreeTurkeys

There were these three turkeys.  Well, there were these three turkeys among many on the Jones farm, but our tale requires that we mention only three of the many.  Their names were Al, Newt and Red.  Red was a bold bird, hefty from buttering up to Farmer Smith at feeding time and always being first in line.

When farmer Smith would enter the turkey pen, with feed, Red would even attempt to open the gate for him.  And after the feather flying frenzy of feeding time, Red would follow farmer Smith towards the gate, often earning another little bit of corn from Smith’s pocket.  Red was indeed a big bird.

Newt was a foul bird, complaining often and not one to trust the leadership of the Smith’s, something didn’t seem right.  Al, on the other hand, made Newt’s suspicions seem minor.  He would strut about all day pointing out all the reasons why so many turkey’s could never hope to survive…how the turkey pen was overpopulated.  He had many thaories about what disastors would befall his less intelligent companions.  And, it is one of those theories we will mention later in this tale.

While Al and Newt debated often, they never quite noticed the extra servings Red was getting, nor his method of kissing up to farmer Smith.  They barely noticed Red at all, to be honest. 

One cold day, farmer Smith appeared as usual and after the festive, feather flying feeding frenzy some hours had passed when suddenly Newt noticed Red was missing.  Concern grew and Newt and Al went looking for Red.  They, being smart (for turkeys) managed to escape the pen and for the first time in their turkey lives explored the great farmyard!

Now where was Red?  They checked the barn, the chicken coup…having a laugh at those hens who worked so hard laying eggs.  What a way to earn their feed!  Newt gave them all a sound speech about eggs having a right to live!  As they looked for Red, Al preached away about all the dangers of the overpopulated turkey pen.  Newt grew tired of listening, he’d heard it all before and Newt decided to explore the Smith farmhouse!  He slipped away from Al, and enjoying the peace and quiet managed to enter through an open window.

He could see the Smith’s and their family gathered in the dining room, they had just begun their own feeding time and had bowls of salad.  Newt was careful not to get caught as he explored the house.  He went upstairs and found the bedrooms, the bathroom and some closets.  He snuck back downstairs and saw the living room, then he crept past the Smiths and into their kitchen.

And there was Red!  Headless, feathers missing, and skin burnt brown and steaming!  Newt made a mad dash for the open window and out to the farmyard!  He ran about, “Al!  Al!  Al!”

Al appeared from the outhouse where he had been searching for Red, “What is it Newt?”

“Gather up all the turkeys…we’ve got to get out of here!  You were right!”, responded Newt.

“About what?”

“Cripes Al!  Global warming is REAL!!!!!!!!!”

Watching "The Walking Dead" recently…random thoughts

I thought the title was about Debi and I in the store last Sunday.  We were seriously tired and hurting.

Of course, “The Walking Dead” is a television series on AMC on Sunday nights.  Debi and I love it.  I have been a “zombie” fan since even before the original “Night of the Living Dead” by George Romero.  He, of course, put the stamp on what it means to be zombie!

Sure, “28 Days Later” added the ability to run to our ghoulish friends, family and neighbors that have recently passed or been bitten by a zombie and thus been intiated into the zombie ranks.  But aside this recent change in the world of the zombie…Romero will always be (to me) the mind behind our mindless, hungry, villains/heros. (Depends on which side you are on.)

So why do I like zombies?  They are the bluecoller, everyday, average monster/creature…the everyguy of the horror type beasties!  Vampires?  So elitist!  I mean…they bite someone for food..only occasionally chosing to actually add an additional vampire to their ranks.  They often “dress” for dinner…and even have that “eurocentric” attitude!  Aliens?  Too much technology, and other than the general feel that the Martians from “War of the Worlds” were really working for a galactic “Terminex”…I’ve never understood the draw that we of earth would hold for such advanced creatures.

Nah…give me the everyday zombie who could be anybody…seeking to eat anybody…and add anybody to the “club”.  And, I like that “running” (to some extent) has been part of the zombie’s ability in “The Walking Dead”, though as the title indicates it is more like fast walking.

So, I’ve thought, how about something else.  Let’s face it…zombies think, a little.  They eat, which means they must also ummmm, poop, right?  They can see, hear, smell…they appear curious.  But I’ve wondered if since we are expected to belive they are DEAD…why can’t the humans amongst them simply hide out and wait a few months until all the zombies rot away?  And that leads to my idea…perhaps, instead of falling to pieces…could zombies actually enjoy the ability to HEAL?  I mean, not like they get perfectly healthy…ya know, more like the more they eat, the healthier they get?  Last week Bert the zombie had a limp…he eats Aunt Martha and this week he’s jogging like a champ!

Maybe even their “thought” process could improve?  “Hey!  Bert’s chewing on Uncle Herb’s leg while he’s driving Herb’s Cadillac!”

It’s a direction I can only imagine as I watch “The Walking Dead”…and sometimes, yeah…I’m kinda on “their” side.  Depends on who they want to gnaw on at the moment.

I can imagine the “zombie” theme song goes something like, “…wouldn’t you give your hand to a friend?  Think of me as a friend…”

Good night all.  See some of you in the store tomorrow.


For the month

We completed our 17th day of business for the month of November today, and for the first 17 days we are much closer to three times sales to rent than we are two times!

Now, I’ve typed and deleted several comments….not sure what to say other than WOW!

We’ve got alot of work to do yet, many projects to complete, I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of what this little place, “Spirit of the Past Antiques” can accomplish.

But we are certainly moving in the right direction.  So many folks deserve credit for our early success…so I’ll just mention that Debi and I know we’ve had help, and we appreciate it.  


We’ve not come close to hitting our stride!

Saturday, “Spirit of the Past Antiques” enjoyed it’s busiest day since the Grand Opening weekend!  In fact, it was our second busiest day ever!

Some of my (Dan) observations:

We picked up several more “regulars” recently.  That is, folks who found our store and have expressed certainty that they will return.  These included some from out of state that travel to find antiques and vintage items for their own collections or for specialized resale outlets of their own! 

Comments about the store continue to be VERY favorable.

Folks who have been shopping repeatedly practically overwhelmed me on Saturday.  What was great, is our dealers have stepped up efforts to stock their display areas and we had many items new to the store for them to see!

Now, I’ve mentioned in the last few blog entries our marketing efforts, including new signage, promotions, advertising and the like.  MOST of these haven’t even taken place.  The sign should be “hopefully” a week away.  The other events begin on the 10th and continue throughout the month.

People are liking us, and liking what they find.  That is the result of a solid group effort.  I can’t think of a good way to express how lucky Debi and I are to have so much help in the store.

As mentioned…Debi is coming on board full-time very soon.  She has made great efforts to get the Web Store ready…tomorrow I plan to take pictures of over 70 of our own items to “experiment” with to get the new online store going.  It won’t take lone to get this available to our dealers.  We’ve researched the potential and we think an online store can increase our inventory turn quite well.

Now, I make no claim that Debi and I are going to get “rich” with “Spirit of the Past Antiques”, and that is not our intent.  But since the first full month we have been making expenses and some extra, which we have invested right back into “Spirit”.  We’ve lowered some display space prices to make sure the store fills up as fast as possible.  It would be reasonable to expect that someday in the long run we’ll have to raise prices back up to where we’d budgeted them.  But, we’ll make sure we get our dealers well established and successful before that day.

We’ve some shelf space still available, many cases, and someday when I’m done “playing” with my booth I’ll let it go to a dealer as well.  (We’ve had a store almost five months..and yet I’ve never had a booth of my own.  I took an opportunity to enjoy one and get the experience of setting it up…stocking it…just, seeing what it is like.  It was hard to get as much inventory in it as it takes to make it successful…so far, I still like the shelves better.  But, it is a good learning experience.)

Thanks to Saturday November is off to a great start.  I’m also remembering that the store is about having fun (Hence the booth…spent money by not offering it to all the folks on our waiting list…just to play around.)

I think I’ll keep it until December and then put it up for grabs.  I’m keeping track of what I sell out of it…and I’m halfway to rent already!  There might be a future for me as a dealer yet!  (Just kidding…not for more than fun…renting space and helping dealers sell is what I want to do for a living. 

Besides, in a month my attention will likely be on marketing the Web Store.

Rattled on and on again.  Figures. :^)