Friday, March 11, 2016

A beautiful day in Richmond, VA.  Sunshine and temps in the 70's. Just about perfect.

And for me, that means perfect for shopping!

Today I went on a treasure hunt of another sort. Returning from a doctor's visit, I went right by a mall where a local Macy's is closing. I decided to check out the final closing bargains, hoping to score a dress or at least a couple of tops. When I arrived at the store, it looked so strange that I was taken aback for a few minutes. All of the merchandise was gone, and the once busy store was emptied down to the fixtures. It was peopled by an army of headless mannequins and some industrious liquidation team members. How had so much time slipped by?

This store had been a favorite of mine through the 1980's and 90's, but as I stood looking in, I realized that I have seldom been to this Macy's in the last ten years. Newer stores have opened, closer to my house, and this mall, which was new and shiny when I was a college girl in the 70's, is now  grown old and mediocre ( like me perhaps?)

 I remembered hunting for dresses as spring approached, catching jeans on sale in October,  and standing in line for gift boxes at Christmas. A strong desire formed in my mind--- I need a piece of this store!

But what could I justify? The headless mannequins were fascinating: troops of skinny women in show off poses with no mouths to tell secrets. But what would my husband think  about one of those in our living room? They seemed too dear also; most were tagged at $100.

Then I began to notice the display racks: all shapes and sizes, wood bases and chrome bases, square, round, tall, short. Some advertised the brands they had once displayed. Why not one of these to use in my antique booth?

The idea took root; how fabulous to have a piece of Macy's in my own shop, but the prices were still too high.

Then I was approached by an energetic woman who began to talk price. The Queen of the Liquidation! "I've already marked these 50% off", she said, "and I'm going to mark them down again, so let me know what you are interested in, and I'll make you a deal."

A deal? Now we're talking. With renewed energy, I walked the perimeter of the once beloved Misses' department. I kept  coming back to a wood and glass display with gleaming chrome pegs on either side and a popular dressmaker's name on a plaque. It was still tagged at $100. She had 4 of these left and was ready to deal.  I got my dress rack for $10! Trusting my new friend, I began to look for more treasure.

As I walked the store, I shared smiles and words with a few other Macy's shoppers, all of whom remarked on the strangeness of the empty store where we had spent many happy hours.

After a half hour trip down memory lane, I had amassed a few more things : a stack of Macy's mailing boxes, a rotating Estee Lauder counter display, a half mannequin, and a 12" black plastic "S" from the end of a Macy's sign .

The liquidation lady marked my pile "Sold" and totaled my purchases: $18.00.

I'll have a ball cleaning the displays up and using them; the S is  displayed on my desk, and I'll use the boxes for shipping.

On a pretty spring day, I enjoyed treasure hunting in a place filled with wonderful shopping memories.

Today, S was for Macy's, memories, spring, shopping, and nostalgia.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I just returned from a wonderful two day treasure hunt and I had a blast!

A girlfriend and I journeyed north even though snow was forecast. We felt brave and hopeful.

Each of us took the other to one of our favorite shopping haunts.

We started by driving up Interstate 15 to Emmittsburg, Maryland, a small town just across the state line from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Emmittsburg Antique Mall is one of the best I have ever shopped. Don't know exactly what makes it so special... a variety of merchandise, always great stuff, nice people, and very fair prices. It's a comfortable place to shop and I have been known to shop it for 2 days in a row, especially when I bring my Mom along with me.

I was hopeful that my friend would like it as much as I do. In our first 15 minutes inside, she had already screamed over a pair of pewter julep cups and toted an aluminum watering can to the front counter, so I was pretty relieved that she was a fan.

I bought perhaps less than I usually do, because I was conscious of helping her look for great stuff. I bought doilies, hankies, and kitchen stuff.

 A friend had asked me to look for a vintage syrup pitcher.  It seemed that Emmittsburg was celebrating syrup pitchers, and I found them with their bright plastic tops in red, green, white, gold, and pink. I called my friend to ask her her color choice and she said "Surprise me!" I ended up buying 3 --- tops in pink, white, and green. White for my friend, green because it matched my kitchen, and pink because... well, because it was pink.

We had a lovely dinner at the Carriage House Inn in Emmittsburg and, as we got out of the car at the inn, it was beginning to snow.  We weren't far from our hotel so, in spite of the snow, we stayed through wine, prime rib, and dessert. A lovely meal in a lovely place.

By the next morning, the world was covered with an inch of sugary snow. It was beautiful on the farms around Emmittsburg. Fortunately, it hadn't really stuck to the highway.  We crossed into Virginia at Point of Rocks, and the snow on the hillsides was beautiful. By the time we got a few miles below Point of Rocks, the snow was gone, but we enjoyed seeing the hills wearing their last winter glory.

Now it was my friend's turn to show me one of her shopping places, The Minute Man Antique Mall in Culpepper, Virginia. She is from the Culpepper area and has shopped this mall for many years. She was excited to see that it has undergone some brightening and cleaning.

I was pleased that the mall was large and seemed to offer a variety of merchandise. The lighting was good and the booths seemed to stretch on forever. I   chose a Peppermint Patty out of a jar on the counter. The manager told me to pay for it  when I checked out.

We started in for a second day of treasure hunting. I was happy looking and had bought some linens and a few other small pieces when I saw them: a collection of 1950's dolls. So sweet, so nicely displayed. And then I saw the sign...50% off! Unbelievable; that's what it was, and I was not going to be hoodwinked. I  chose two of the prettiest babies, as though someone would buy them before I returned, and headed for the front counter. "The sign says that these are 50% off today", I said to the manager. "Yep." he replied. "Is that  true?" I asked. "Yep". again.

He must have thought me a silly woman, but it really seemed to good to be true.

I returned to the booth where I had found the dolls and had a  great time looking at all of them, handling them, making sure that their eyes opened and closed. What fun!

I ended up choosing three --- two 1950's Tiny Tears dolls by American Character and one 1940's composition baby wearing her original clothes. Treasure with a capital T!

My friend found treasure too --- vintage pillow cases and glassware in  a pattern that a good friend of hers collects. She left a Daisy and Button salad set; the large oval bowl and 6 small bowls. I am convincing her to go back next weekend to pick it up.

We complimented the manager on his antique mall.  He must have been pleased. He didn't even charge me for that Peppermint Patty.

Here is a picture of my three new girls. Joining them is my own Tiny Tears from 1957. They are getting along famously.