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Antique market still thriving after 10 years

dealers come from across the country for monthly meet

POSTED: June 18, 2013 9:00 p.m.
 

Jerry and Brenda Greer drive to Cumming all the way from Ohio the third weekend of every month.

The couple brings truckloads of unique items to sell at the Lakewood 400 Antiques Market.

While they could stay closer to home to sell, the antiques dealers say the long trek is worth it.

“We love it here,” Brenda Greer said while sorting items at her outside display booth at the market on Friday. “The friendliness here is special. It’s very businesslike, but it’s totally friendly business. People help each other.”

During its show this past weekend, the market celebrated its 10thanniversary.

Founded in 2003 by Ed and Barbara Spivia, the market was spun off from the couple’s first antiques market, Historic Lakewood Market in Atlanta.

That market remained opened from 1984 to 2006.

“We sold our lease to the city [of Atlanta] and came up here and this was perfect,” Ed Spivia said of the current site at 1321 Atlanta Hwy.

The facility includes both indoor and outside space for more than 500 dealers, as well as a restaurant.

Barbara Spivia said she and her husband aspire to make all the dealers and customers feel at home. 

“It’s a family spirit,” she said. “We take care of each other.”

Vendor Joe Anne Newton couldn’t agree more. The jewelry dealer has been coming to the market for about seven years.

She said last year when she had a health scare, her fellow vendors rallied around her.

“We have a camaraderie here,” she said. “I had cancer in August and I think in about five minutes of someone knowing it, every vendor in here was over here praying for me … and they still come and check on me.

“That’s the way everybody is over here – just very caring people.”

Besides vendors that come back month after month, the market also sees its share of returning customers.

Peggy Ballard of Dawsonville is one of them. As a collector of antiques, she said she gets to the market as much as she can.

“I just have an appreciation for the old things because of the quality and everything that went into them,” she said. “So many things today have just been made to throw away, but I have things that I’ve collected that are over 200 years old that are just like new.

“They just don’t make things like they used to.”

Barbara Spivia said all the merchants who sell at the market go through an application and interview process to insure they will be selling high quality items.

Vendors come from “all over the country,” she said.

“We have the best dealers anywhere,” she said. “They’re friendly, they’re knowledgeable, they’re just great.

“They do shows everywhere and they ‘pick’ everywhere and they’re shopping everywhere, so you can find things here that you don’t find at other antique markets.”

The market, which runs the third weekend of every month, is chock full of everything from antique furniture, collectibles and jewelry to more obscure items such as handmade folk art.

Barbara Spivia said the merchants book their space from month to month, and prices for booths range from $90 for an outside spot to $240 for space in one of three “permanent halls,” in which vendors can leave their items from show to show.

Spivia said some people might be surprised by the items found at the market.

“People think of an antiques show as like your grandmother’s things,” she said. “But that’s not what we are. We’re an upscale mix of antiques, home décor, collectibles and fun diversity.

“We’re upscale. It’s not a flea market … you won’t find tube socks and T-shirts, unless they’re vintage shirts that have been repurposed.”

She added that Lakewood draws “thousands of customers” each month, who also come from “all over.”

“We advertise throughout the Southeast. It’s great because we get people from Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Florida, Alabama. They come up here and eat in our restaurants, they buy gas here, they stay in our hotels.

“We get several thousand people on the weekends that get to know the county and that’s beautiful.”

As for Jerry and Brenda Greer, they’ll keep making the trek from Ohio every third weekend to sell to Southern shoppers.

“We drive about 10 hours to get here and we love to redistribute Ohio products down here in Georgia,” Brenda Greer said.

 

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