Thursday, December 11, 2008

Show sold

Gerry Nagel, one of the owners of Willowrush Promotion, based in Indiana, has confirmed that the Overland Park (KS) Antique Show (most recently held last weekend) has been sold. No word on the owner or price, but speculation is that it is a resident of the metropolitan Kansas City area.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bad check alert

Antique shops in Liberty, Belton and Harrisonville, MO — and maybe more in the greater KC area — have been hit recently with a bad-check writer. The woman passing the bad checks is described as in her 40s, reddish-blond hair and approximately 5' 3". She travels with a male companion. The name on the check and Nebraska driver's license is Heidi R Aerts, 14906 Martha Circle, Omaha, NE 68144. The phone number (402-498-9888), usually written on the check, is for a Day Care Center. The check is drawn on Enterprise Bank, Omaha, NE, and the account is closed.


Monday, November 24, 2008

New antique show

Willowrush Promotions, based in Auburn, IN, has announced it will be organizing the new Maumee Valley Historical Society Antique Show, scheduled for Jan. 24-25 at the Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee, OH. Proceeds from the show will support the special events of the Historical Society at the Wolcott House Complex in Maumee. The oldest original structure still in use in Lucas County, the Wolcott house was home to several families who played important roles in the development of the Greater Toledo area.

Willowrush also promotes and organizes antique shows in Overland Park, KS, St. Louis, MO, Louisville, KT and other places in Ohio and Indiana. Contact the company at

Monday, November 3, 2008

Exhibitors wanted

The promoters/organizers of the Kansas City Travel, Adventure & Culinary & Expo, held March 27-28 at the Overland Park Convention Center, seeks exhibitors to the two-day event, free to the public. The "ideal exhibitors include local, state, regional and national destinations, resorts, tour operators, charters, attractions, cities, wineries, travel agents, travel services, security firms or any organization that wants to reach large numbers of consumer travelers in a one-on-one setting.

Interested organizations should contact Kelly Mullins at 314-481-8100, ext. 105 or 1-877-785-TRAVEL, ext. 105. For more information, go to

Monday, October 27, 2008

Auction at Washtenaw

Showtime Auction Services, based in Woodhaven, MI, reports that the top lot in an Oct. 10-12 auction held at Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor, MI, was a rare bow front violano music player, made around 1910 by the Mills Novelty Company. It sold for $137,500. In all, the auction grossed around $2.2 million.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Archives moving

The Central Plains Regional Archives is now closed on Mondays through March 30, 2009 as they prepare to move to a new location. The Archives will be moving to Union Station, which should improve public access to archival records and environmental conditions for storage. The new address will be National Archives–Central Plains Region, 400 West Pershing Rd., Kansas City, MO 64108. For more information, call 816-268-8000.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Holiday open houses

Got a Holiday Open House happening in your town, mall or shop? Let us know for our November or December issues. Listing is free. We're distributed in MO, KS, CO, NE, IA, IL, AR & OK.

Email to or fax 816-474-1427.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Florida shows change hands

Three Sarasota, FL shows formerly run by Dolphin Promotions of Chicago & Ft. Lauderdale have been purchased by JMK Shows of New Jersey with Allison Kohler as owner.Kohler announced three upcoming shows in December, January and February in Sarasota of the eleven JMK will hold for the year beginning in October. The Sarasota shows will be held at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, Dec. 27-29, Jan. 30-Feb. 1 and Feb. 20-22.
For more information, go to

Monday, September 29, 2008

the hype about small business

You've got to wonder that with the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street and "too big to fail" mentality that the talk for decades about small businesses being the big "jobs generator" and backbone of the American economy is just propaganda to get votes and bring money to the credit card companies.

Want to help the economy? Enforce anti-trust laws, let the financiers fail, lower taxes on small businesses, give small business employers help with health insurance – or seriously consider single-payer universal coverage — and extend loans to small businesses.

Small business owners and the American taxpayer are justified in denouncing this bailout.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Press release on Ralph Kovel's death

Ralph M. Kovel, nationally known antiques author and expert, died Thursday, August 28, 2008, in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND – September 2, 2008 - Ralph M. Kovel, nationally known antiques author and expert, died Thursday, August 28, 2008, in Cleveland.

In the early 1950s, Kovel came up with the idea of publishing a book that indexed antiques by the factory-specific marks found on the bottom of the pottery. He and his wife, Terry, became nationally known with the publication of their first book, Dictionary of Marks: Pottery & Porcelain, published in 1953. The book led to a weekly question-and-answer column, "Kovels: Antiques & Collecting," syndicated in 1954, which still runs in more than 150 newspapers. It was also the first of 97 books that the couple would co-author.

Ralph Kovel was born in Milwaukee. He moved with his family to Cleveland Heights, Ohio in the 1930s. A Cleveland Heights High School graduate, he attended the Ohio State University, and later taught courses in antiques at Case Western Reserve and John Carroll universities.

Kovel was a food broker at the same time he found success with antiques. In the late 1970s, he purchased a small Cleveland company called Sar-A-Lee. The company was sold in 1989 to Sara Lee Corporation, where he continued as Senior Vice-President of Sara Lee Coffee and Tea's Foods Division until 2000. He never retired. He was president of U.S. Brands, Inc., a Beachwood-based direct marketing firm, and president of Lucayan Aquaculture, a shrimp farm in the Bahamas.

Ralph and Terry Kovel were featured in their own television series on public television, the Discovery Channel and, most recently, on HGTV (Home and Garden Television Network). They wrote columns for Forbes Magazine and House Beautiful. Their articles have appeared in Family Circle, Woman's Day, Redbook, Town and Country, Giftware News and many antiques-related publications. They contributed the "Art, Antiques and Collections: Collectibles" section for Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year and were once the prize for a Publishers' Clearing House contest.

Their best-known book, Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide, has been published annually since 1968. The 2009 edition was just released. In 1974 the couple began to publish a monthly newsletter, Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles. Their subscription-based newsletter has over 50,000 subscribers and is available in a digital version on the website,, which is visited by over a quarter of a million readers each month.

Ralph Kovel served on the boards of trustees of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Western Reserve Historical Society, and Public Broadcasting stations WVIZ-TV and WCPN-NPR. He won numerous awards for his public service and two Cleveland Emmys for his television work.

Friday, September 5, 2008

WorthPoint to buy GoAntiques

Atlanta-based WorthPoint, a social networking site for researching the worth of antiques and collectibles, has signed a letter of intent to buy Ohio-based GoAntiques, founded in 1994. eBay's decision to close its Live Auctions platform helped drive the sale. GoAntiques was a major user of the eBay's live-auction platform.

GoAntiques plans on launching its own auction site this month. The site has 350,000 registered users; WorthPoint reports over 50,000 registered users.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Scam in Kansas City

The City of Kansas City, MO warns of a scam targeting lodging establishments, including B&Bs. The telephone-based scam attempts to extort money from a business owner under the guise of fees for forms from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The scam artist tells the establishment that he/she needs to send $200 for a form that must be displayed in the business under new state regulations that went into effect Aug. 1. The caller says the form and fee are part of that new state law. A second call may follow, telling the business owner the form and an invoice have been mailed. The phone call may be blocked by caller ID or show a number from Montreal, Canada.

No such law has been passed and state employees from the Department of Health and Senior Services have not been making such calls soliciting a fee or form connected to this fictitious law.

If you have received such a call or have questions, call 816-513-6313.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Crime in Hutchinson

Johanna Johnson, owner of Bear Blessings in Hutchinson, KS, fell victim to a robbery on Aug. 1. According to Johnson, two women and man entered the store. One woman had a baby, and perhaps using the baby as a distraction, another man entered the the store the men, and either two or three men stole a flat metal showcase, 1 1/2 ft. by 2 ft., containing items including bulls-eye red and white marble gear shift knob, sterling silver spoons, pocket watches, old coins, straight-edge razors, advertising eversharps and pens, and pocket knives. Also taken were 5 silver-plated bracelets made from spoon and fork handles with magnetic closures, and rhinestone jewelry including a long rhinestone necklace with over 300 blue stones. Total lost, said Johnson, is estimated at over $3,000.

A police report has been filed. If you have any information on the crime or the lost items listed, call 620-669-8997.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mulvane show in Topeka ending?

Bill Ansley, coordinator for the high-quality Mulvane Antique Show & Sale, told me that the show may be ending. This past July was the show's eighth year, featuring 40-45 very quality-minded dealers, held on the campus of Washburn University in Topeka, KS. The show is a fund raiser for the Mulvane Art Museum also on the Washburn campus. Bill is looking for someone to take over the show but that person must have or decide to have an affiliation with MWB, the fundraising arm of the museum. It would be a shame to have this show end.

If you're interested or know of someone who may be, contact Discovery Publications at 800-899-9730. Ask for Bruce.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cookbook & recipe contest

Nebraska-based Roberts Dairy has re-released it's online version of Robert Cookbook and announced a web-based recipe contest. All 1,250 recipes can be found at while the contest runs through Aug. 25.

Five winners — selected at random — will have their recipes added to Roberts' online recipe collection and win $50 worth or free dairy products.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Some 'Dirigible Airline' pieces fall into place

In my January 2008 column, I wrote about Kansas City’s Dirigible Airline. A doomed enterprise of the Commercial Airship Syndicate, the 1919 airline would have been America’s first, and certainly its first dirigible airline.

From Kansas City, the route would include twice-weekly service to Coffeyville, KS, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Ardmore, OK. The Syndicate’s pilot airship was a Goodyear Pony Blimp, which the company was preparing to fly to Fort Worth, TX, to “complete arrangements at the stations en route for proper landing facilities.” The regular “airliner” would be a “monster dirigible” having a cruising radius “equal to a trip across the Atlantic, with a capacity for 144 passengers.”

Chief pilot was Frederick Karl Gampper, Jr., a licensed airship pilot and engineer for Goodyear. Gampper’s credentials were impressive, with more than seven years’ experience. He supervised Goodyear’s airship operations and was the pilot for the Wingfoot Lake blimp.

Things were looking bright for the fledgling Syndicate, but mother nature would intervene. The night before the pilot trip, a windstorm destroyed the Syndicate’s Pony Blimp and its hangar. The company quickly disbanded.

But what became of Gampper? I checked all my sources, including the Smithsonian, Googled all the names I could think of, but came up blank.

Then, on July 13, an email arrived from Fred Gampper IV, grandson of the airship pilot and a resident of Arizona. He had seen the article and wrote that it had “provided additional information that I had not been aware of.”

After an exchange of emails, Fred Gampper told me that after the demise of blimp and hangar in Kansas City, his grandfather had been approached by Charles Ora, manager of the defunct Syndicate to help him start a similar dirigible airline in Denver. Apparently the remains of the Pony Blimp had been hauled to Denver, and Goodyear had agreed to repair the craft. In the same correspondence, Ora told Gampper “just as soon as we get started here, I will send the balance we owe you.”

According to Fred Gampper, his grandfather declined, and went to work as a wholesale salesman for H. D. Lee. “Over the next few years (he) settled down in Hiawatha, KS, his home town, got married, raised a family, and retired.”

Fred Gampper said that his grandfather had been approached by several airship entrepreneurs to work with them, including a company in Germany, but there is no evidence he took any of them up on their offers.

-- Ken Weyand

Monday, June 30, 2008

Update into July

On the street and in the shop is the July 08 issue of Discover Mid-America.

Check out the feature "Putting on the antique show." It's not the usual "antique publication" feel-good, ignore-the-problems-in-the-trade stuff. The three antique show promoters interviewed come across as real.

For August, look for a cover piece on vintage baseball gloves and for September a cover feature on Fronkoma Pottery.

Meanwhile, ad executive Al Hedrick is healing and thanks everyone for their good wishes and get-well cards. Al is coming into the office though only staying 2 to 4 hours a day. Writer and author Mike Walker is now part of the Discover Mid-America staff. Mike and his wife Vicki authored Cinemental Journeys: An Uncommon Guide to Classic Movie Theaters Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa. Good book. Call the DMA office, 800-899-9730, to order.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Myspace for antiquers

A fellow named Scott Liscomb has created a Myspace site for antiquers, both dealers and collectors, called I Antique Online. Check it out at

Monday, June 9, 2008

Counter intuitive

Why is it that businesses, usually small businesses, stop advertising when the economy goes south?

So... advertise in in good times to make it even better and don't advertise in bad times not to make it worse?

The best time to advertise is when business is down. There will always be people who buy antiques, go to events, indulge in places of history. If they don't know where those places are, they can't...

but, at least, you saved money not advertising.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Al's taking it easy

Long-time and valuable advertising rep for Discover Mid-America Al Hedrick drove himself to the hospital Tuesday afternoon. By that night he went in for open-heart surgery. Everything went well but Al will be out of the office for awhile.

Please direct questions and queries to Bruce Rodgers, publisher.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Holiday delay

This issue (June '08) will be a little late in getting to some of you because of the holiday and the fact I took off a few days. (Man, did I need it.) Look for FedEx in the coming week and statements, also.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hard times makes for sticky fingers

We're getting reports about increases of theft in shops and malls. Most shops and malls can't afford elaborate anti-theft systems so the best recourse is to pay attention to your customers, particularly ones you don't know. Many times the layout of the shop/mall makes that difficult particularly with limited staff. In that case, make sure your most valuable items are under lock and key.

Other things to consider is posting a sign at the front door stating "NO LARGE BAGS IN STORE," and enforcing the policy. A favorite trick of shoplifters is working in teams as one thief distracts a clerk and the other steals. If there's more than one person working the store, don't get caught with both clerks helping one customer. If alone, a good policy is not to leave the counter behind the front door, therefore watching who comes and goes, and if someone has a question, have them bring the question to the clerk.

Times are getting easier so be wary of unfamiliar faces. If you've got some ideas on preventing theft, comment back. And, of course, talk to your local police force about other prevention measures to take.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The value of antiques

The new issue will be out tomorrow. In an interview with Bruce Burstert, a dealer in Lexington/Kansas City, MO that is part of the cover feature, he mentions that antiques are "undervalued." Unfortunately, we need to follow up with that remark.

Shop owner occasionly mention — particularly when we raise our advertising rates — that they can't do the same...i.e. raise their prices.

Why not? Could it be the market they're in? Could it be the quality of the inventory? Could it be the misperception that price alone governs someone's buying motivation?
With the cost of everything going up, when and how much to raise prices to cover increasing costs are vital issues for survival.

Monday, January 7, 2008

wondering about the source

Antique News (about the only vehicle this trade has for disseminating information about the antiques and collectibles on a large scale) issued a press release Jan. 1 quoting as having a "19%" increase in sales volume in December 2007 compared to December 2006. The press release appeared to have been completely written by TIAS, a Mr. Phillip Davies more specifically.

Man, it didn't take them long to pull together the day? And since Antique News didn't appear to do any verifying on the claim, then we must assume they did all the math in one day. Pretty good, considering TIAS says it sells for 530 merchants.

The press release went on to say that "many Internet based antique & collectibles merchants have reported significant decreases in online sales volume over the past 3 years." The press release didn't identify who those other online merchants were.

The press release also made a point of expressing that because of (I assume) their sales increases and that "many merchants have just pulled out of the market entirely because they could not get the returns they need to stay in business," the market may be turning around.

We could all rejoice to the market "turning around." Still, I have to say the press release seemed somewhat self-serving for Sort of, they did good, everybody else didn't.

To their credit, they invited "accredited media" to give them a call to discuss the press release and other issues related to online sales. Hopefully, someone at Antique News takes them up on it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

new year news

Economic news about retail sales were just about what was predicted for the most part. People shopped, they just didn't buy as much.

One bit of news you should pay attention to if you're a retailer is that online sales jumped 21% from last year. If you have a shopping cart with your site, it's time to advertise as such...advertise online, of course.

Depending upon what you read or whom you listen to on the news programs, we're either toying with a recession or overstating the possibility of it. Trouble with the forecasting is that's it's all macro – the big picture, without regard to specific areas of the country or segements of the economy. I could write for hours on what I think antique shop owners should do to ride out any rough economic times; some of our recent articles allude to such suggestions. But I have to face it, most antique business people think they know what they need to know, and a lot don't pay much attention to the industry except in their own backyard. No wonder the trade is suffering – ignorance can be a killer in this business.