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A Map to Round Top

  

This begins the antique feeding frenzy known as Round Top Antique Week. But this is SO much more than just Round Top or one antique week. But it IS a feeding frenzy for the visionary of all things junk. 

I usually cruise the show 3 – 4 times during this semi-annual shopping event. So, I’ve developed a little $-$$$ of where to go for the novice who sees the 10 mile tour from Warrenton to Round Top as a little overwhelming.

$ – Warrenton and points south toward La Grange. South of the Warrenton gas station and the famous Zapp Hall you will find fields upon fields of everything from metal letters and signs to homemade bird houses and everything in between. Just north of the gas station you will find fabrics, bric-brak and odds and ends to give any Pinterest fanatic brain overload. As you hit the northern side “of town” you hit Ex*Cess a land of industrial goodies – some with prices to match their weight. Some bargains.  If you’ve made it here in one day, covering both sides of the road – you have incredible stamina. Congratulations, you can now move to the next level!

  

This bed spring is now a backdrop for our store in La Grange – I found it in Ex*Cess.

$$ – Cole’s is across the street from Ex*Cess and along with the AC/heat and a nice bathroom, comes high prices, but they are high, much higher, quality antiques and collectables.

Now, you get in your car and drive to Round Top. The square seems overrun with clothing and jewelry tents, but hey, we all need a wardrobe addition. Especially after you stop for pie at Royer’s. Trust me, YOU-DO-NEED-PIE.

As you head up the highway there are now dozens of cool places to shop – many I’ve not even perused yet. Prices here go from $$ – $$$, but worth the visit. This is also the area where you can visit the famous Junk Gypsies world headquarters. 

$$$ – north of Round Top is Blue Hills

  

Worth the trip if not worth the dollars, but even Blue Hills offers one of a kind fabulous pieces.

  

Okay, if you have any money, stamina or sunscreen left head up to Carmine and the land of cheap prices, cheap finds once more.

Tomorrow I’ll post finds and outcomes to get you excited even more. Get rest to shop!!!

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Filed under Antiques, Country Living, Furniture, Gifts, Go Texan, home decor, Independent Retailer, Painted furniture, Retail, Texas Junkin, Uncategorized

Express Yourself

My mantle has been begging me to take it from winter…

to anything that expresses the change of season. So this became a clean slate

What do you do with your mantle? Do you use it to make a seasonal statement or display a collection? 

Mantles are such a great way to say “I like rabbits for spring.” Or, display an array of framed family photos – use similar frame styles in varying sizes to let the eye focus on the images – not the frames.

But, for now, bring out the bunnies, give the space some highs and lows in the assortment and let your mantle say “Welcome Spring!”

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Inspiration is Everywhere 

I love shopping shows and other stores, I get so many ideas….and get depressed at all the creativity I sometimes feel I DON’T have!  

At the risk of depressing you too (LOL) let me share some of what I saw today:

Able’s in Huntsville, Texas set up the coolest entry to a booth. Just made me want to go in…then out…in….out, well, you get the point!

Another homey example. 

Only in Texas does this make sense, but I love it – note the glitter this gal is sporting! This was at a great store, Antique Queens in Rockdale, Texas! Love their creativity!

What a great way to take the customer upward!

Ok, well this one’s just for me because I love reindeer! I want it too!!!

Just a fun collection all over the place! This is at French Marketplace in Navasota, Texas.

Stay designed inspired–even I surprise myself sometimes. And you will too! Just try it! 

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Filed under Antiques, Country Living, Furniture, Gift shop, Gifts, Go Texan, holiday decorating, home decor, Independent Retailer, Painted furniture, Retail, Texas Junkin, Uncategorized

One of THOSE Days

We all have THOSE days. You know the ones where you should’ve stayed in bed with the covers over your head. For those of us in retail it can sometimes be a lost package that seems to be touring the U.S. when all it had to do was go 40 miles, a dock strike in LA meaning your Easter bunnies are being held hostage by sweaty men with placards, or a snow dump on the east coast keeping your new barware – on ice! OR, you can have one of those days where that ALL happens and you can’t do anything but wait for the next call with more good news.
Didn’t have to wait long. Semi-trailer driver thinks our address is, well, not our address. That’s a fun argument!
Whew! Ready for bed and it’s only 6:30!

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To Market, To Market We Go!

Whenever I go to the Gift Market lots of friends and customers ask, “what did you see?” Well, I don’t know how to explain what all I see but I can say – “It’s a lot!”
W
That doesn’t satisfy!
So, what DID I see worth noting?
• Colors starting to emerge again. The year of everything in some shade of tan, fawn or brown is fading.
• Burlap in everything is getting old
• Baby biz is getting stronger
• Holiday 2015 will see dusty colors a little more muted than the pales of 2014
• Get ready for dinosaurs. The new Jurassic Park movie this summer has vendors sowing dinosaurs all over the place!

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Filed under Antiques, Country Living, Furniture, Gift shop, Gifts, holiday decorating, home decor, Uncategorized

Well, Hello There……

When you live in the country, Internet is sometimes as attainable as flying to space for lunch.  NOT happening.  Without Internet it makes it hard to find the time to post blog reports.  So, the Silver Barn blog fell by the wayside while we focused on Facebook and Instagram which are a bit faster when all you need to do is post a picture versus a little info.

So, now here we go again.  We have loaded the spaceship, we have so much to share….and lunch on Mars is great!  The Martians gave me rabbit ears, we should be good to go with Internet in the country!

Tomorrow we will fill you in on Spring Market 2015 trends – as seen through the eyes of this little barn owner.cat4

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Are You Ready?

Tomorrow begins the tour of the south with my comrades, Jackie and Heidi.  What an adventure we are Iooking forward to.  From dumpster diving for trash that can be a treasure once more, to hitting the AmericasMart in Atlanta for the summer market (a first time visit for us all), I plan to share every detail.  Well, I might leave a few things out…..just to protect the innocent/guilty.

I had likened us to Thelma & Louise, well their trip didn’t end so well, and there are three, not two.  Then, there was Charlie’s Angels….hmm, I think they ended up in a Louisiana prison gang and sold into slavery.  Not my cup of tea.  So, I have now taken to comparing us to the gals of “Petticoat Junction.”  Yes, Bobbie Jo, Mary Jo & Billie Jo are about to depart from our own Hooterville and hit the dusty trail.  The worst we can get in to is falling in the railroad water tank!  So, here’s to a trip full of fun and interesting sites.  I hope you will join us and let us know how we are doing!  See y’all

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Facebook & The Barn

Facebook is an interesting source for friends, but even more interesting for small businesses like The Silver Barn.  Yesterday we did what we call a Facebook Frenzy contest where fans share pics with other friends to then win the item featured.  This is the second time we have done this as a fast way to spread the word about our store.  It does generate buzz and new followers.  But, what I get out of it more than I ever expected is the constant interaction throughout the day with the folks that follow our store and our page.  When folks are in the store we constantly hear how much they like the store, like what we carry, enjoy the people who work here, but that is hard to get through the Internet.  Yesterday we were able to “feel” the energy as our fans played, congratulated others who won, commented on items we were showing and basically told us what fun they had.

Today, a fan and customer told me she had such fun following the contest yesterday even though she didn’t win.  There is a sense of community out there in Facebook land, you just sometimes have to rattle the keyboard to feel it.

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Back In The Saddle Again

Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is “Guinness”. No, the Silver Barn blog has not gone to the deer.   I am here on behalf of Cynthia, owner of Silver Barn who apologizes for being so remiss in updating her fans of late.  She has been a tad busy getting the store ready to celebrate birthday number four, helping the most brides in one season find just the right items, and helping me find all my babies.  I must say, the spots just don’t help at times!

So now, she is about to head out on an adventure across the south, looking for goodies for the store.  The trip culminates with a visit to what I hear is a buyers Mecca, the AmericasMart in Atlanta.  I’m confident she will find lots of things I have no use for, but I’m sure you’ll be happy to see them.

Today she is creating a fan frenzy on her Facebook page, so go over and see what all the fuss is about.  I hear it is like when she brings us a bunch of apples.  These gals go crazy I tell you, crazy.  I offered to step forward and get you started on the updates…so, stay tuned!Image

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What Does Doing Inventory REALLY Tell You?

Find me a retailer who LIKES to do inventory, and I’ll show you a retailer who needs an intervention!  But, before you head to the head doctor, consider this.  Inventory tells you more about your store, store direction, store sales and personnel than anything other measurement tool you use.

My team and I have been doing inventory today.  We have at least one more day to count.  Then it all has to be entered into the computer to see what has walked out the door (UGH), what has gotten broken (OOPS) and what is in hiding (DAMN).  As we count we find things that sold exceptionally well…good buying I like to think.  Things that SHOULD’VE sold….silly customers missed ’em.  Things that died last year, still stayed dead this year….I didn’t REALLY buy that, did I?  This, I think teaches a retailer how NOT to make the same mistakes.  It gives a retailer a chance to see if maybe something sitting in the warehouse another year is okay sometimes.  What was too forward for Christmas ’10, was right on target for Christmas ’11.  Consider yourself a soothsayer.  Got a dud?  We are all allowed a percentage of duds.  It is the retailer who has more duds than winners that needs to consider changing direction.

And then there is your team.  When you’ve got a team that comes up with ideas to streamline the warehouse, speed inventory, redesign how you do things.  That is a team that is as committed to the success of your store as you are.  I have been VERY, VERY lucky to have always had folks working with me that always wanted to help improve how we do our job “behind the scenes.”  If it weren’t for my team, I would not be as good as I try to be each and every day.

With that said I look to 2012 with lots of optimism.  We have streamlined our warehouse, buried our duds so everyone thinks we are perfect year after year, cleaned our inventory so the ghosts that play with our computer on a regular basis will have to start anew, and we feel renewed to better serve our customers as we head into year FIVE.

Thank you customers, thank you team, thank you God for helping me have more winners than losers over the last 48 months!

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