Thursday, May 7, 2009

Showcase Your Antique Shop with Attractive Storefronts and Window Displays

I have radar, I can spot an Antique Shop anywhere with or without fancy signs or cool store windows to clue me in that indeed an antique store is approaching. My husband, like plenty of other "Sunday drivers" isn't that tuned into "antiquing".
Even if there is a perfectly visible flag waving us in, my husband will claim he didn’t see “it”. “It” of course is another shop that I would want to stop at. But not everyone has built in radar like true collectors, nor a GPS system to tell them about fab shops to visit.
Photos -Michele's Vintage Antiques Poquonock Ave, Windsor, CT.

How Do You Present Your Shop?
So if you are the owner of an antique shop or mall, you might want to think more about how you present yourself so that you can easily attract customer and tag along spouses. What I have in mind is how to add pizazz to the outside of your building. This is what I would call "stopping power".

Placing Antiques and Collectibles on the Sidewalk
To begin with,...always put "stuff" outsdse your shop on the sidewalk! This is one of the best ways to call attention to your store.

Did you ever notice how “junk”[ looks so terrific from across the street? And what about homemade folksy signs that tug at your heartstrings and say “come in....this is your kinda place!”.

Next to eating a good piece of chocolate, antiquing is by far one of my favorite activities. I love to find adorable shops that are relatively new or hidden gems. I find that often these smaller antique shops take the time to fuss with the exterior of their buildings adding inviting or attention seeking colors, flower boxes, picket fences, cute signs, vintage garden collectibles and plenty of “sidewalk stuff”. Clothing sign from Old Carriage Antique Center - Litchfield, CT.

Using Creativity to Decorate Your Building Exterior
It really doesn’t take a big budget to transform the exterior of your building. All you really need is some creativity and some old supplies such as left over plywood for signs, plenty of nails, broken objects that can become interesting props etc. I have been both the “inviter" and the “invitee” when it comes to store window and shop entrances.

Viewing your Storefront From a Distance
What I have discovered about window displays and building exteriors is that what you see up close is not exactly what is seen from a distance. So if you want to call attention to your shop...think bright colors that will literally stop traffic. In the photos shown here, retro painted patio furniture is set outside Tickled Pink, a Cottage style shop in Seymour, Connecticut. By the way, Tickled Pink not only has great exterior displays but she also has some of the best interior displays you will ever see in a Vintage Cottage style shop.

When you are planning ideas for the outside of your store. It is very helpful to go across the street and look at your store from afar. This will help you figure out what is getting seen and what needs to be added or taken away. When cars are passing by, the driver has a split second to become aware of your store, so you will need to consider how your storefront looks from the road. Is it crystal clear that you are an antique store?

As they say in the decorating business...."does it pop"? This means, are objects coming forward, are they in full view or getting lost? So how can you make things “pop” or attract interest?

Colorful Funky Windows Grab Attention
If you really want to create a stir...try doing a sixties window. Whites, neon colors, lighting, funky stuff, backdrops, varied height work very well in windows and are very current right now. If psychedelic doesn’t appeal to you, try cottage colors (pastels) along with lots of white.
This is a great way to go when the weather is warm.
Clothing photos from Barbara's Barn, Antiques and Collectibles, 203-268-9805, in Seymour, CT.

Avoid Dark Furniture- Use Lots of Lighting

Be careful with dark will appear dead and boring. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use Victorian furniture in your window...but add lots of lighting and colorful textiles. Vintage kitchen displays are always effective in windows.

Every Space Counts: Even the Exterior Walls
For the outside of your building add whimsical and colorful items to attract attention. An old chair pained in a bright color with a pot of flowers works well.
Consider adding shelves to the exterior of a building and adding interesting items that work well in all types of weather, Old tools and garden equipment look great mounted on the exterior wall of your building.

Signs are Critical
Signage is key. Make sure you have large easy to read signs that clearly tell visitors what your name is and when you are open. Always include the words “antiques and collectibles” on your signs. Cute names are great, but saying you are “The Dancing Frog” won’t necessarily help customers leap into your Antique Store.
Photo Courtesy of Michele's Vintage Antiques Poquonock Ave, Windsor, CT.

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.

To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link:
C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff

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Dianne is a member of:
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