Something Old/Something New

How an Antique Mall Works

Selling through an antique mall or co-op is a type of consignment. You place your items in the mall, which sells the items, paying you only after a customer buys something.

With most consignment deals, the store owner takes from 25 to 50 percent of the selling price. With an antique mall, however, you rent a booth or case and pay a commission (usually between three and 10 percent of your gross sales). The cost of case and booth rentals vary by mall, with most malls charging between $50 and $200 per month. Some will require a lease, though many allow you to rent from month to month.

By selling this way, independent antique dealers reap the benefits of their knowledge and experience without taking big risks. Your cash outlay is relatively small, at least in comparison to the costs of opening your own private shop.

Malls also provide a full-time staff to run the shop, leaving you free to hunt for more merchandise or keep your regular job. Another type of mall, the co-op, requires each participating dealer to work several days per month in addition to paying rent. If you are employed, be sure time slots are available to suit your schedule.

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This article was originally published in the April 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Something Old/Something New.

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