Saturday was a gorgeous Spring day here in Texas…88 degrees, sunny and breezy. We started the morning waiting on repair men to come by the house and then didn’t have anything in particular to get done for the rest of the day so I talked my husband into driving us to Arlington, Texas, to visit a couple antique malls (Arlington is about 30 minutes away from where we live and is where the Dallas Cowboys Stadium is and recently hosted the Super Bowl).
Into the navigation system I entered the address to the first stop – Antique Sampler Mall & Tea Room and away we went. I couldn’t find too much information about Antique Sampler Mall & Tea Room online but since it had a tearoom I thought (from my years of antique mall experience) that any location that has a tearoom has at least 75+ dealer booths so we could easily spend at least 1-2 hours there depending on how large the place was.
Traffic was a nightmare….looks like roadwork is best done in the middle of a Saturday when everyone is out and about. We drove past Magic Mountain and Dallas Cowboys Stadium and followed the nav system to the location….. it was a huge antique mall that took up an entire shopping center parking lot but…… it was CLOSED! From the looks of things it had been closed and out of business for a LONG TIME. Bummer! This is where using “Common Sense” comes into play, as it never occurred to me to call the place to make sure they were actually still in business! My husband, the “Genius” man that he is says to me “No worries, lets call one of the other malls in the area that you wanted to go to and see how far they are”. Good thinking…call the other mall! We called one mall but no answer….hmm, the phone number was disconnected, we did get a man to answer the phone at Antiques at Park Row Antique Mall and with his directions looked to be only 10 minutes away so off we headed to Antiques at Park Row Antique Mall in Pantego, Texas. On the way we passed the other mall I wanted to stop at and it too was out of business, another bummer as it looked pretty big too. So far both of the closed malls were located in what looked like very depressed areas/neighborhoods.
This is the very first time I ever experienced Antique Malls being out of business…every other mall I planned to visit in the past was never out of business so the city of Arlington must either have been hit hard by the economy tanking or not too may collectors lived there. It was sad to see that 30 minutes from where we live things could be so different.
Antiques at Park Row Antique Mall is also located in an older shopping center with lots of “for lease” signs on windows where once a business was. The place was open so inside we went. The antique mall has 60 dealer booths….when they are all rented. The mall is light and bright and clean. Once we started walking through the booths it appeared that there were a lot of “for rent” and “booth available” signs up. Antiques at Park Row Antique Mall has a lot of furniture items and most are not antique but just old. Many booths looked neglected, items all over the floor and not cleaned up. There is a limited number of booths selling antiques or vintage items as most of the merchandise is a mixture of mostly newer collectibles and lots of candles, stationary and cheap costume jewelry though there was a booth in the front that looked like they had some cases with estate jewelry pieces. Items were Way Over Priced. All I could think of was this mall is half empty already and with the high prices the dealers are charging it was a matter of time till it too would be out of business. We struck up a conversation with a friendly lady in her booth; she was all too thrilled to chat with us. I asked her about the two closed malls and she told me they had been closed for well over a year and she felt it was due to the economy and that many patrons had commented over the year that they didn’t feel it was a real antique mall as many booths had a lot of newer items and home made crafted items. She was ready to negotiate on the items in her booth if we were interested in purchasing. She was so nice and friendly.
We left Antiques at Park Row Antique Mall without making any purchases. I thought about what the lady said that patrons seem “turned off” when antique malls have more booths with new items and crafts than actual antiques and collectibles and decided I too felt the same as malls I have visited in the past that were a combo of mostly new items and crafts I rarely go back to as those are items I am not interested in and malls I visit regularly have mostly antiques and vintage collectibles and this is exactly what I am interested in.
So, could using common sense when it comes to Antiques and Collectibles be applied to making sure antique mall owners actually have more antiques and collectibles than newer items and crafts? Shouldn’t a mall that rents booth space and constantly has its dealers stalk their booths with primarily new items and crafts be called a “in door flea market” or “craft mall” rather than a antiques and collectibles mall? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this so please visit my “Contact” area above and let me know your thoughts on this.