Something Old/Something New

Choosing a Mall

Cost and staffing are but two things to consider when deciding where to sell your items. You must also consider hours of operation, location and the type of items that will sell at a particular store.

Since interest in antiques has grown over the past 20 years, many malls are now open seven days a week. But hours still vary, and it's not uncommon for a mall to be open only on weekends. One mall may rent spaces more cheaply than another, but if the mall is open every day, the extra cost might be worthwhile.

The location of the mall will also affect your cost. Dealer Terri Mowrer of Columbia, Pennsylvania, pays $75 to rent a glass case at the nearby Antique Center of York, which is open seven days a week. But in Adamstown, which is also near her home, case rentals for similar malls start at about $150. "Adamstown is a whole different ballgame," says Mowrer. That's because Adamstown has a national reputation as "Antiques Capital USA." People come from all over the country, and even the world, to shop in Adamstown, where about two dozen large malls and co-ops are located within a two-mile stretch of highway.

An antique mall must also be easily accessible in order to do well. Antique lovers frequently travel hundreds of miles to shop, always hoping to discover that elusive treasure. If someone new in town can't easily find your mall, you'll lose potential sales.

Equally important is the type of merchandise other dealers sell at the mall you choose. If you have mostly Victorian items, for instance, you probably won't do as well at a mall which specializes in late twentieth-century collectibles, such as Barbie and Batman memorabilia.

Regardless, you also should find out how well the malls under your consideration are doing. Before making a decision, watch customers in the malls that you are considering to see how many are buying, and ask other dealers who sell there how well they're doing, says AntiqueWeek eastern editor Connie Swaim, who for the past eight years has sold pottery and other decorative items at an antique mall near her home in Carthage, Indiana.

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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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