Monday, December 26

Finally a new and perfect home for this beautiful set at Hope's Bridal Boutique!

I've been wondering what this custom sofa and chair were waiting for... the perfect home! Their new owners at Hope's Bridal have finally come to find them. I can't think of a more perfect place for this girly, comfy set. The thought of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and best friends awaiting the big reveal while sitting upon these beauties makes me enormously happy.

The best part? Now I get to play, play, play house again in the front room at the shop. I believe the plan will include a wonderful pair of burgundy floral chairs and a deep aqua blue velvet sofa that has been hanging around in my front room at home. It will be so much fun to set it up and decorate with all the wonderful treasures I can choose from at Polly Ann's. Something fresh and new will be there after the first of the year... you should come and see!

Tuesday, December 13

Pine Harvest Table ... all old materials

This is the beauty that Bob just put the last coat of polyurethane on tonight... it's almost 3 foot wide and is 8 foot long. Oak legs from an old table, long dismantled, and floor boards from a house that was over 100 years old. So solid and such wonderful character in those floor boards. I can't wait to get it in the shop and play with it! Oh what fun!!!
Unless, of course, it sells before I get it in there! That would be just fine, too :0)
He can build to suit your measurements. We have several sets of legs to choose from. The floor boards will go quickly, and when they are gone, they're gone. We're always scouting for more materials, but it's always hard to find...

Monday, December 12

oh what a terrible blogger I am...

I am so bad at this whole blogging thing, but I really do enjoy it when I take the time to post something. It seems like these days I usually post things to facebook on the Polly Ann's Antiques page as I already know how to do a mobile upload on facebook. I'm sure mobile blogging is quite easy, but I'm not sure I'm ready to sit down and figure it out.

Anyways.. last Saturday was Polly Ann's Antiques 20th Anniversary. It's so hard to believe that we have been in business that long, but we have! We had a wonderful day at the shop. Dad, Bob and I were there all day long together and it was wonderful to have people stop in and share in our celebration. We did a little impromptu sale and ended up having a fantastic day. I wish you all could have been there.

Here a little ditty I wrote when I woke up Saturday morning and was feeling a bit nostalgic...

20 years ago this morning, I left our little, freezing cold, rental house north of Martelle, Iowa as a scared, but determined young woman who wanted to find a place for herself in the world. Bob and I had worked hard, or so we thought, at the time, to have our little antique store ready for the public to see. My dad was anxiously awaiting the first day of what would turn out to be a new journey for him.

We had nothing, almost... be we were determined. I had left a job at the Collins Plaza Hotel where my only possibility for advancement was working every night and weekend along with the regular 9-5. In retrospect, there have been times when that would have been fantastic, but only at times.

So many people taught us so much along the way... Kim Wolfe who was, and still is, an incredible mentor of mine... It was in her store a few weeks before we opened that I stopped in to let her know there would be a new kid on the block, so to speak. She didn't waste any time in helping me get listed on the "brochure" that we still use to help our customers find the other antique shops in our wonderful little burg. She asked me right away what I was going to call the shop... I stuttered and said that I hadn't really thought about it. She said the brochure was going to print tomorrow and she needed the information right away. I said, "um, um, um... Polly Ann's Antiques, I guess"? She wrote it down. Next question, "what are your hours going to be"? I looked at her and said, "what are yours"? ... and so it went. She's been eager and willing to help me every step of the way. She and Carolyn Wellso are two women who have worked this business hard for more years than Bob and I have. They paved a way her in MV, and I feel so very blessed that they both chose to help me along the way.

From the moment we opened, we had traffic. We were so excited, and thought, after the first day, that our biggest problem would be making sure we had enough inventory. Ha! What we soon realized was that those first customers were the vultures of our business honing in on the new village idiot. We even gave them discounts on items that were so grossly underpriced that we still long to this day to have back. But each and everyone of those customers/vultures taught us invaluable lessons about what was to come. What was to come, was helpless and hopeless that winter. I mean, who opens a 350 square foot antique store two weeks before Christmas with zero inventory of their own and expects to make it? Well, we did!

From there we figured things could only get better if we worked hard and started to learn about what we were doing. At the time we opened I thought we would sell Dad's stuff for a 17% commission and that Bob and I would contribute "crafts" to the inventory. What a joke! We soon learned that we weren't very "crafty". We made it through the winter because Bob asked Rich Rockrohr for a job. Rich said he wasn't hiring, but listened to our story and told Bob where to be Monday morning at 8am. Thank God for Rich! I worked a part-time job at the Anamosa Journal-Eureka as, of all things, a sports editor. We had no kids, no money, a really drafty, but otherwise cheap, rental house and our tenants in the apartments we had finished the previous summer were all making their rent payments. It wasn't so bad.

Working six days a week at the shop was getting old when I was working Mondays in Anamosa. Just then Mary Swan from Mount Vernon Antiques (at the time her shop located in what was called the old IE Building) walked a dealer down the street named Phyllis. Mary would be closing her store and Phyllis was looking for a new place in Mount Vernon to have a booth. What a novel concept, I thought! I was honest and told Mary and Phyllis that I hadn't really thought about that. Mary said to rent her a space for $1.00 a square foot and have her work a couple of days a month. That was music to my ears! So, Phyllis Shutt was our first "dealer" at Polly Ann's and it meant that I was going to get out of there for at least a couple days a month. We finished another room and Phyllis moved in about the time I got a call from a lady named Peg Burke from Coralville. She was a professor in the athletic department at Iowa. She wanted space and was willing to work as well. And so it began, we became a mall. Francis and Betty soon followed, along with Dee, Barry and Eileen. Things were starting to happen. My dad and all of those dealers, excepting Phyllis, who retired from U of I hospitals and moved, and Barry, who passed away a few years back, are still with me. Many people have come and gone over the years, but we've had such wonderful people helping take care of both our store and us. We are so lucky. I still charge $1.00 a square foot and every dealer at Polly Ann's is required to work as part of their booth rent.

I borrowed $70 from my dad in the spring of 1992 and I started buying and selling antiques myself. I now have a store that is ten times the size it was when we opened and have inventory stored all over the place in storage sheds, garages, machine sheds and often in the middle of my living room if we have a show coming up.

I love, love, love what I do and I get to be with my partner and best friend every day... not to mention getting to know my daddy along the way. Bob and I do the antique thing full time now. Bob also runs a Blythe Cottage Inn... a bed & breakfast, from our home. We do about ten antique shows every year. We've got three wonderful kids now and, with 20 great years of experience under our belt, I think we're starting to get this thing figured out.

The past 20 years has been a wild ride, but one I would go on again in a heart beat. If I only knew then what I know now...