Observations from the big Gypsy sale

Most of you know that the Married Daughter also is the proprietor of the Flint Hills Gypsies emporium downtown. I generally keep mum about the merchandise she carries except on rare occasion when something jumps out at me and makes me think, “Oh my, what would her grandmother say?” From time to time, there is a certain edge to some of the inventory that makes me wonder if I messed up years ago with the talk about what is appropriate and what is not.

However, I try and pull myself back to my own growing up years and the music, clothing, and ideas we had back in the 1960s and 1970s that already rocked the world of that grandmother about whose innocence I am now concerned. I know change happens. I try to accept what young adults believe and enjoy, but sometimes it is almost out of reach.

However, this past weekend I think I learned a good lesson about how things change. As often happens when one’s offspring grow up, I think I have reached the point where I believe I am no longer the boss. (Don’t tell her I said that and don’t worry about her reading it here, because she no longer reads this column with any regularity.)

I thought she and her crew were investing way too much time in “staging” the inside of the building where she was having her big sale. It is a concrete block building for Pete’s sake. Does it really need to look like something else? Or several other places? Apparently so.

In the 30 years or so that I rented, then owned the building, it has been the site of dozens of antique shows, flea markets, and miscellaneous sales. But rarely has so much merchandise in that type of retail event changed hands so quickly. I thought they brought in way too much junk and far too few really good antique pieces to be able to make any money. Silly me. I found out I really am “old school” when it comes to knowing this business in this day and age.

I also saw the effectiveness of communicating with customers online. Again, I knew she had a good online following for the store, but I had no idea how many of those people would actually drive to Peabody and shop at her big Gypsy sale and her store. Her day was a huge success. People left names and e-mail addresses for her next big event. They left lists of items they would like to buy at any time. Her totals for the day left me speechless.

There should be a way for Peabody to market her technique and capitalize on the shopping trends of online buyers. Merchants need to keep up with new ways of doing Main Street business in any town anywhere. I think I am glad that I no longer have to try to keep up with a traditional auction business. Today there are different ways of moving estates and collections. The next generation seems to know what they want and how they want to buy it. Things have changed!

I certainly have a new admiration for the Married Daughter’s business acumen and her judgment about what merchandise to carry. Yes, I said that. I am not trying to promote my first-born here, I just think she has made an adjustment to the next level and perhaps there is a reason for other businesses to do likewise.

It is just a thought, but if you are a retail business in small-town USA, this might just be something you should consider.

— SUSAN MARSHALL

 

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