Oh boy, it’s been a while!
In the mean time, I have had a slow winter personally just to regroup and store up some energy for my favourite season of all: GARAGE SALE SEASON!
I’ve had a great couple months thrifting, picking, seeking and finding for a special sale next week. It will be my 3rd annual!
But last fall I was able to participate in the THE BEST vintage market in all of Western Canada! I have been a fan of Prairie Attic in Steinbach, MB since they got started a couple of years ago. I have also been desperate to get to one of their sales. Lucky for me, they asked me last spring if I would be interested in joining them for their Fall Christmas market. I was THRILLED! The date was set and I was determined that no amount of pain, fatigue or setbacks would keep me from getting there! Truthfully, a couple weeks before I almost backed out but I just couldn’t bear to miss it so I pushed through! I’m so happy I did.
Here’s why: This is not just another vintage craft show and sale. This is a nostalgia lover’s paradise. It’s also probably the best example I know of why I love what I do. So rather than bore you with paragraphs, I’m going to put this into point form. Hopefully.
- The location for the sale has been(and hopefully always will be) The Neufeld Garage at Randolph, MB. Now, I have to stop here and tell you that in 2007 my mom, kids and I drove through Manitoba on our way to Ontario. We had maps, homestead records and notes that we had collected because my grandma had been born in the area in 1908. Her entire family was part of the first wave of Mennonite homesteaders who settled there between 1876 and 1884. Her dad was a Neufeld. In 2007 while driving by, I snapped a pic of this garage hoping that one day I would make a connection to our family. Turns out, these Neufeld brothers and my mom are 2nd cousins! The garage was owned and operated by the family for years. It was a tractor dealer, auto shop, gas station, corner store. In the early days the village was called Chortitz. Of that original village, the garage and the Chortitz church are the only remaining heritage buildings. I love the stories from that community. I love the heritage. This is why I love collecting and sharing things from the past.
- Because the location is rural, there is a community feel to this particular market. The vendors are all from the area(except me!). They mostly have Mennonite roots and are very gracious with their time and talents. It has often been said that Mennonites are some of the hardest working, kindest folks you will ever meet. I cannot disagree. These ladies brought their A-game. And not with competition in mind but with friendliness and an attitude of sharing and helping each other. There was no competing for sales. There was only a heart-felt love of being there and sharing in the experience. Our fearless leader/coordinator Christina(Prairie Attic) even led us in a word of prayer as we began the day– even as hundreds were lining up outside.
- The people—-oh the people! It was crazy busy for hours. Line ups, wall to wall to wall bodies. But these people were lovely. Many hugs from those I have known from over the years, connections to family and friends…it was like a homecoming. And there were older men who would stop and look at the old gas pumps and signs and chat about the old days. There were ladies in red hats( a few of them-they came from the city for a day out). The other vendors were so friendly and kind to me- beautiful talented women! I felt honored.
- The stories- a man in his 70s stopped and looked at a blanket I had for sale( I only took vintage Christmas items and some other winter/decor related items). He started to tell me how his family had to flee Russia in the 1940s under Stalin. He said ” Our choice was Paraguay or Siberia- we chose Paraguay”. They left with one small bag per person. He was just a boy and he said his years in Paraguay were good years . And then they moved to Canada in the 50s. He held that blanket and talked about how it reminded him of his teen years.
Another man in his 50s bought a game of Mille Bornes. He said his aunt would always have that at her cabin and when there was nothing else to do that is what they played. He said he didn’t know what he was going to do with it but he just needed to buy it.
There was a lady who came and bought a set of retro thermoses for her son and daughter-in-law who have fixed up an old Boler camper. Then she saw a red plaid wool blanket that was made in England. Her daughter-in-law’s family had immigrated to Canada when the girl was young and all they could bring was one suitcase each. She said she felt like having something vintage made in England was the perfect gift. I agree!
The stories continued all day. This is exactly why I love what I do! It is not about the money- it is all about the history and the memories these special tokens remind us of.
5. Money- I needed to do well enough to pay for my trip. That was really all I cared about. I didn’t even think I had enough there but as I was putting it all out it somehow multiplied on me. Many items I let go for less than I purchased them. In a situation like that you have to think of the end result. Some items I bought for $5 I could easily sell for $20. Some items I bought for $3, I sold for $5. Some things I had bought for $15 or more and sold for $10 or less. But I wanted stuff gone. In the end……I more than doubled what I hoped to walk away with for profit! There’s a lesson there. And this is it: Buy low, sell low. This has always been my motto. I cannot justify buying a dresser for $200 and then trying to get $400 for it when I know it is barely worth $250. I have to say, all of the other vendor’s prices were spot on. They were so reasonable and no one was gauging. They could have, believe me. The ones who had a ton of big stuff sold out in the first 2 hours~ they could have charged more, but they didn’t need to. This is one big difference I see here in Saskatchewan. I would love to do a sale here but I find the prices that most sellers charge here are SO SO high. One lady came and told me that she was so thankful for reasonable prices. She said her sister has an antique store and also believes in being fair. “If she wouldn’t pay that herself, she won’t charge it to someone else.” Totally.
It was also so nice when a couple of the other vendors came and told me they felt my prices were SO reasonable and fair. I appreciated that. I don’t want to be undercutting anyone.
This was my ram-shackle display! After travelling 7 hours and not knowing what the sale would look like or how I would set up, it was sort of a hodge-podge! I would totally do a better display next time!
6. I learned a lot. I was so inspired. The ambiance was amazing. Bing Crosby’s Christmas was playing, coffee was on, everyone was in a great festive mood and there was a true sense of comradery and love. It was worth the trip, worth the sleepless nights, worth every minute of planning. If you can go next fall, you need to. You wouldn’t be disappointed for a second.
Other photos from the day and the area…this place has my heart.
Incidentally, Christina and all of the other wonderful vendors are having their spring market tomorrow! April 23. Please go if you’re within 3 hours! It’s so worth it. I would be there if it weren’t for my own sale prep for next week.
Someday, I will find a nice old building with a story and history and invite all my upcycling, vintage loving friends to join me. I hope that day is soon. For now, I will bask in the memories of this wonderful Prairie Attic Market.