The Elverson Show: A Quality Regional Show That Remains Strong In A Changing Landscape

Challenging New Market Continues To Redefine Industry

December 1, 2017

“I love this show,” was the sentiment of one longtime showgoer expressing their thoughts toward the semiannual Elverson Antiques Show. The fall edition was held on Nov. 11 and 12 at Twin Valley High School in Elverson, Chester County, Pa. Ask any dealer involved in the antiques industry, and they will tell you it takes hard work to be relevant in this marketplace.
Student booster clubs at the Twin Valley school once helped with the long-standing show, but it is now fully managed and promoted by a group of its dealers, led by Gene Bertolet and Edithanne Wilhide. This change has proven to be a benefit to this popular regional event because the dealers understand how to market the show.
Brothers Steve and Bill Sherhag built a website along with a Facebook page for the show to expand the pool of people reached. All told, thanks to collaborative work and aggressive marketing, the managers are making the small country show relevent in an age where many shows are not.
The year 2017 has been far from easy for show managers, Elverson included. Several exhibitors have died this past year, retired from the show circuit, or simply from the business entirely, due to poor sales. In today’s market, the weekend warriors are gone. It is more difficult to find good material to both buy and sell. This has forced many dealers out of the marketplace. The ones with merchandise purchased pre-recession can’t get what they paid out of the material, and many collectors who were actively buying a generation or two ago are on the sidelines no longer buying.
Price point is as important as ever. Only the dealers willing to work off of slim margins and move inventory are finding and developing customer bases. On the bright side, any market watcher will report that opportunities are there for a wider spectrum of buyers. Where many were once priced out, more lower level buyers can make upgrades if they are patient.
Shows such as Elverson can play a role in this. If you have ever attended the show, you would know the interest level is out there for good antiques from a wide age group and income level buyer. The dealers who understand this and price material to sell are indeed cultivating new buyers and doing okay in today’s new market. Smaller shows such as this one allow them to do this, given it costs much less to do than larger shows, yet still attracts all levels of buyers. “I like this show because I see nice things, and mostly at prices much better than at other shows,” said one local collector. Luckily, for Elverson, the geographical area helps, being close to West Chester and Downingtown, as well as Reading, attracting antiques-minded folks.
The weekend of Nov. 11 and 12 was a busy one in the antiques world. The Bloomsburg Show (Columbia County) took place in the central part of the state, and Winterthur’s Delaware Show was held in Wilmington, Del. The Kimberton Show was held Nov. 18 and 19, but used to be held the same weekend as Elverson, which some would say was a positive thing, given they are relatively close to one another, and many showgoers used to shop both.
Elverson seems right on the cusp of great things. If it weren’t for two last-minute cancelations, the roster would have been full. “I did very well with local stuff. I was really pleased,” said Mark Saylor. Among his sales was a hanging corner cupboard. “A similiar one is at Landis Valley,” said Saylor. Brad Hamilton, Steve Sherhag, and Bob Conrad were a few others who had good sales.
To learn more about this fun show, call 717-532-8111.


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