Shoppers hunt 'haggle-able' finds at Long Grove Vintage Days
To say everything was old-school Saturday at Long Grove Vintage Days would be a bit of a stretch.
There were iPhones (for taking photos of antique glassware or decades-old jewelry). And there were Gmail addresses (for joining mailing lists for updates about a beloved vendor).
But nearly everything for sale during the first of the two-day event was vintage or handmade, said Laurie Wilhoit with the Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association.
Shoppers browsed 40 booths from crafters, antiques dealers and upcyclers of all stripes Saturday looking for unique finds, such as a 1960s General Electric fridge -- in working condition -- painted a vintage teal. The appliance drew onlookers to the JLC Restorations booth staffed by Jennifer Lemker.
Gordy and Suzanne Anderson, of Arlington Heights were, among the first to stop by Lemker's booth and peer inside the fridge Saturday. But they didn't stop long. Gordy said they were on the hunt for books by author Sam Campbell, whom his wife described as "the philosopher of the woods."
The event drew a record number of vendors this year, Wilhoit said, and gave visitors a chance to enjoy a true shopping experience -- not just another sit-down session clicking online for Amazon items.
Organizers moved the festival from the typical location along Robert Parker Coffin Road to Old McHenry Road this year because of construction.
Signs posted to entice shoppers despite the road work prove the downtown's dedication to "keeping it light," Wilhoit said.
"Help, customers wanted," read a sign at a Marathon gas station near the downtown's main corner.
"If Rome was built in a day, we would have hired their contractor," read another, this one on a window of a business that was closed for renovation.
Even the crowd control signs had a vintage theme. With a classic serif font and an image of a finger pointing toward a crosswalk, the signs looked like something at an old-fashioned carnival, but said, "WALK THIS WAY to cross the street. Be Alert, Don't Get Hurt."
Also vintage at the festival were blueprints, window frames, rugs, sewing machines, seasonal décor and vendor Diane Statts-Mareci's attitude.
"Hurry up, before the price goes up," Statts-Mareci said to a customer who was browsing $1 and $2 pieces at the Days Gone Buy Jewelry booth.
Arguing price and building rapport with customers, like merchants did before the days of automated inventory and computerized cash registers, is part of the fun, Statts-Mareci said.
"My stuff is always haggle-able," she said. "It draws people in to the thrill of the hunt, and that's what I love -- the hunt."
Long Grove Vintage Days is set to be open for another day of hunting from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at 308 Old McHenry Road.