Times are tough, especially for anyone in the antiques trade, but Tammy Dargatz is almost giddy when asked about any interesting stories to cover for the show. “You have to go and talk to Jeff and Jane’s daughter. She is here with her new boyfriend, who is also a dealer. They met while she was helping her parents at our last show in Calgary.” This young romance seems to give Dargatz hope as it sets the stage for a whole new generation of antique dealers and buyers.
With several local antique malls closing and with more people trying to sell and buy online, the antiques industry is changing. However, Dargatz believes that “people still need to touch and feel” and when Tammy and her husband Dennis (Antiques by Design) heard that the Gadsden’s were planning to cancel shows in Abbotsford and Calgary, they decided to step in and run the shows themselves. “It is a lot of work but we needed another show to sell at. We also believe that people still need and want a place to go an experience antiques first hand.” By having a one-stop shop with so much selection under one roof, antique shows continue to meet a real need in the marketplace.
Once they made the decision to take over the shows, other show promoters offered to help. For Dennis Dargatz, any good show is based on vendor support. Both John Humphries, who organized Blue Mountain, as well as Jeff and Jane Harris, from Seahawk Auctions, shared their vendor lists with them. “With the right quality of vendors, the gate will come.” And so far, this has been working out. Dargatz expects to see close to 2000 people over the course of the two day show.
Their first show in Calgary was held on the Stampede grounds but they have since relocated to the Acadia Recreation Complex. This is where the Taya Harris met Shawn Holatko. For Dargatz, watching their budding romance provided a very sweet element to organizing the show, especially when she saw them drive off together once it was over.
Harris is the daughter of seasoned dealers and show promoters, Jeff and Jane Harris, and was literally born into the business and even remembers having naps under the table at shows. On the other hand, Holatko found his own way into the business, doing his first show at the age of 15 in Winnipeg. “I liked history and started by collecting stamps. I also enjoyed finding stuff at yard sales.”
Jane Harris is thrilled that Taya and Shawn have met and plan to make their own mark on the industry. “This business is made for young people; it is one big treasure hunt every day and they are surrounded by eager and willing mentors.” Since their initial meeting last June, Shawn has since relocated to Vancouver and he and Taya are now growing their business together. They specialize in selling silver, jewellery, china, crystal, art glass and stamps too.
Another indication of the changing of the guard is Jordi Williams who is new to the antiques industry (Williams Architectural Salvage). With big bold pieces of furniture of salvaged wood (from old barns and factories) and original metal hardware, his booth of “industrial chic” has generated a lot of interest. He started selling online, but finds that the shows are becoming a better showcase for his work. His furniture is the perfect blend of the old and the new, appealing to shoppers who are looking for unique items that have a story to tell but still modern in their design.
Mother and daughter team Nicole Gunn and Ann Crowie also bring their own sense of style to the show. They specialize in classic fur coats, vintage clothing and jewellery, and glassware. “I love my furs, they are part of our Canadian heritage,” says Crowie while wearing a vintage Dior Arctic Fox fur. “They were made for real women of all shapes and sizes.” Their booth is set up like a French boudoir with opulence and elegance in abundance.
Tammy Dargatz is pleased with the show, especially that a new crop of youthful dealers are bringing their own spin to the industry. She hopes that much like the young budding romance, more people will rekindle their passion for antiques and come courting at their next show which is set for November 3-4, 2012 in Abbotsford at the TRADEX.