After having a cabinet in a local antique centre and selling various small items on the dreaded ebay (where everyone is a seasoned antiques expert) we branched out in to having stalls at various antique fairs in and around the Yorkshire area, we did the big ones at Wetherby & Doncaster racecourses and the Yorkshire Showground and we did much smaller ones at various locations ranging from village halls to sports centres (our least favourite type) and although we met some lovely and interesting prople along the way and now and again actually came home with a profit, they are hard work, very hard work ! In the early days all our stock was kept at home in large plastic boxes which all had to be packed in to the van the evening before and then unpacked and carefully carried in to the venue at some ungodly hour the next morning when most normal people were in bed, everything had then to be taken out of the said plastic boxes and arrange nicely on your stall, this process had to be all done in reverse at the end of the day, by which time depending on the venue, you were more than likely cold and ready for home.
If you had sold plenty and had a successful day then packing away never seemed too bad but if business had been slower than slow then it was a miserable task and the sooner you could get home for a bath and glass of wine the better!! Towards the end of our fair selling days we mainly took items that couldn't be broken as we had had a couple of 'incidents' where any hope of a profit was lost due to a careless hand and also we found that we could just 'lob' everything back in the boxes whilst other stall holders were carefully wrapping everything within an inch of it's life in bubble wrap ! so by the time they had packed away we were already halfway home !
Now antique fairs can be expensive to stand at, if you took a double stall at a two day one then you could be looking at nearly £150 before adding diesel and food etc so you had to sell a lot to draw a profit out of it and if you did two or more a month then you were talking serious money and there was no guarantee of good footfall especially if the weather was grim. So with all this in mind we looked at the possibility of taking a shop, there had to be certain criterias that had to be met, it had to be local to where we live as both myself and my partner still worked full time so the shop would only be open part of the week and the last thing we needed was a long commute ! It also had to be big enough but not too big and crucially affordable !!
After a while checking out various locations we found one that was less than a mile away from home so easy walking distance, it was only 100 yards out of Cleckheaton town centre and was within our price bracket and also had the option of a cellar area too for storage, so we met the landlord and nervoulsy put the wheels in motion. The shop area was small but managable and would be a good starting point for us even tho we were then told that we had to have a disabled toilet fitted ( to this day we don't know why ) which took away about 10-15% of our shop space but hey ho ! From signing our contract to actually opening seemed an eternity mainly due to the disabled toilet issue and also the small fact that I broke my ankle walking the dogs so was out of action for six weeks, but by February we were ready (ish) cabinets had been bough from a naff Swedish shop, a cash till was my Christmas present, card machine ordered, shop signage designed and made, bags, labels etc etc the list was huge but after a lot of hard work we opened our little antique shop in our home town and a new chapter in our lives had begun.