Antique market soars in Mid-Hudson on supply chain issues

Growing up, I was never one to go to garage sales, flea markets, antique stores, or anything like that. I knew several people who hated the thought of buying something used, thinking it would be faulty, dirty, or cheap. On the other hand, I knew people who liked to find second-hand things because they thought they could find hidden gems inexpensively. Growing up, I was neither. It just wasn’t something I had experienced, and I had no opinion one way or the other. As I got older, especially in college, I was always on the lookout for a bargain no matter where it was.

Based on my recent buying practices, I was not surprised to learn that antique and vintage sales have skyrocketed lately. There are a lot of factors that play into this, and it’s quite fascinating. Before we get into why things sell, let’s understand some of the terms better. This is something that confused me a bit:

  • Items less than 30 years old are most often considered ” second hand “.
  • Items between 30 and 100 years old are most often considered vintage.
  • Items that are over 100 years old are most often considered antiques.

Most expensive items are sofas/sofas, tables/desks, dressers, chairs, patio furniture, enamel cookware, clothing, jewelry, and anything bar related. Paty Quynn, who is one of our DJs on The Wolf, also works at Antiques Barn At Water Street Market in New Paltz. I asked her what trends she noticed and she said, “We find most people find buying a used/salvage/or even vintage piece is more economical, adds more character to their home and right now it’s easier to get than new furniture because of supply and demand issues.” Boy, did she make a number of good points, so let’s dig deeper.

Durability

In the Washington Post article I linked above, they say:

According to Environmental Protection Agency statistics12.1 million tons of furniture and furnishings waste was generated in 2018, up from 2.2 million tons in 1960. The EPA also reports that 80.1% of what was thrown away ended up in landfills or disposal centers.

Many people have turned to green thinking in recent years and are trying new ways to achieve it. Just as it’s important to buy locally grown fresh produce from a supermarket, it’s also important to buy local second-hand furniture. In addition, such furniture has proven to be durable. Things are not made to last as before. I marvel that my college fridge was the same fridge my mom used in college. I always use it for drinks downstairs in my family room! Yes, it’s more of an appliance than a piece of furniture, but the sofa that sits right next to this fridge, I believe, is from the 80s, and it’s still in great shape! People want things that last, not something that will fall apart a few years after you buy it.

Cost efficiency

Buying used stuff tends to be cheaper. Growing up, I felt like antiques, thrift, and things like that were for “old people.” By the time I went to college, I realized how wrong I was. It’s for everyone, especially a college-aged crowd with little to no cash in their pockets. We had no money! I’ve helped friends carry sofas we found around street corners to their dorms and apartments! Many of my friends would like to go to thrift stores to buy new outfits. My roommates and close friends used to buy kitchen utensils from antique and thrift stores because it was cheaper. If you’re looking for something on a budget, this is a great way to go.

Accessibility

As Paty previously mentioned with the Washington Post article, supply chain issues have been a major factor in the surge in antique and vintage sales. There is an inaccessibility to new products, so people are turning to other products. Buying used online is nothing new. People have been using eBay and CraigsList for years, and now with the addition of Facebook Marketplace, it’s even easier to sell used, vintage, and antique merchandise.

Again, remember how I said growing up I felt like this stuff was for old people? This is another reason to think again! Younger generations who have grown up with the Internet find it easy and comfortable to buy online. Maybe fewer young people are going straight to the stores (honestly, we’re still in a pandemic, I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to go anywhere), but their online savvy has encouraged and strengthened online sales . For example, searches for vintage or antique sofas on Etsy grew 126% in 2021 compared to 2019. Social media has helped antique stores reach a new market of customers. Stores can post online articles on Instagram to get people interested in their products. Also, most places have some sort of website these days. Local antique stores are now able to sell to people not only in their local community, but to people in the United States as well!

Nostalgia

The pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone, and during that time we’ve turned to things that made us feel safe and comfortable. Many people have binged their favorite shows over and over again. Others have become more interested in the game. A lot of people have turned to a good book, maybe an old series they loved when they were kids. The mantra that “nostalgia sells” has been around for years. We see this constantly with movies and media. Disney created live-action versions of their greatest hits to make money from nostalgia. Reboots and sequels are all the rage! I remember reading an article close to New Years that had the Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2022, and I think they were all either a sequel, a reboot, or a sequel to a reboot. The same can be said for the used/vintage/antique market.

The renovation has been huge during the pandemic. It’s always like that. It gave people something they could control for a time that was out of control. It offers a change of pace and gives something new to the buyer. Even still, it all plays into nostalgia. We find sophistication in the things we find that are older. We are drawn to things that remind us of better days, whether we realize it or not. Consciously or unconsciously, we are attracted to things we are used to. “A lot of people are going back to basics, and a lot of what antique and thrift stores have are items that bring people back to good memories. Grandma’s Cookies – Mom’s House” , said Paty. One of my favorite things I bought from an antique store was a painting of a sunset at sea. I have always been obsessed with water because of my love of growing up on the river Hudson and the many hours I spent relaxing on a dock watching the sunset while listening to Jimmy Buffett music. Jimmy Buffett’s music is something I attribute to my time with my dad. It is currently hanging in my room.

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