The Burton Antiques Market

June 8th, 2013

Funky is prevalent at Burton. Made of wood and hand painted, the trio of stage props for an off-Broadway production of Carousel was offered at $850 by Ken and Jan Silveri of Hawks Inn Antiques, Hamburg, Pennsylvania. The couple had found the set in Buffalo, New York.

A bit of rain had fallen the day before the show, creating damp spots in some dealer spaces, and such was the case in the booth of Bill and Sharon Phillips of Phillips’ Liquidations, Cleveland, Ohio. Not to be deterred, they used straw to dry things up a bit, which is why there’s a bale sitting next to the wonderful lift-top cherrywood writing desk with bold dovetailing and the chair of what they thought was pine. The desk and chair were offered together for $750.

These stone hitching posts were selling right out from under my picture taking. Claire Faith of Sugarcreek Antiques, Sugarcreek, Ohio, stands with the pair of posts priced at $295 each. The water pump trough of cut stone was $175.

Darwin D. Bearley Antiques, Akron, Ohio, had an extensive variety of vintage water sprinklers available. Most seen on this table were priced between $25 and $75.

The framed war bonds poster was an impressive 5' tall x 3' wide and had “U.S. Government Printing Office, 1942” printed at lower right. Featuring Santa delivering “The Present With A Future” to rural America, it was offered at $350 by Dave and Jeff Huntsberger of Huntsberger Antiques, Orrville, Ohio.

Burton, Ohio

There are so many factors that can affect the success of an outdoor antiques show, and, of course, number one on that list is weather. For show promoters Kay and Bill Puchstein, this was their main concern on Saturday, June 8, when they presented the Burton Antiques Market at the Geauga County Fairgrounds in Burton, Ohio.

“Thank God for good weather!” Kay Puchstein exclaimed after the event. “With an outdoor show, its success is really at the mercy of the weather. As a promoter, you can bring together the best dealers, have a fantastic venue, offer great services, do everything possible to make your event popular, but you can’t compete with the weather.”

The Burton Antiques Market offers the majority of the dealer space on the fairgrounds racetrack and within the track’s infield, although since last year one fair building and the space under the grandstands are also filled with dealers. Nonetheless, when shoppers think of Burton, they envision the racetrack lined on both sides with dealers and the infield edged with sellers. If it rains, the racetrack and infield can turn to muck. If it is really dry, the racetrack can become a dust storm. Good weather is a big deal for everyone involved with this show.

Luckily, the Puchsteins, the dealers, and the buyers received the gift of fair skies and pleasant temperatures for the June 2013 edition. The next market will take place September 28, and again everyone will look to the skies, hoping for the best, which is what the Puchsteins strive for where Burton is concerned.

They took over the management of the Burton Antiques Market in 2010, and in doing so brought back better quality merchandise from a wider range of dealers. In prior years the show had been suffering from fewer antiques dealers and more booths filled with reproductions and lower-end items.

Three years later, the dealer base continues to expand, and great items are more prevalent than ever—a goal of the Puchsteins from day one. “I always say promoters need to listen to their dealers and provide what they say they need,” Kay Puchstein explained. “If the dealers are happy—happy with their setup space, with the hours of the show, with providing a way for sold merchandise to be picked up—then there is a very good chance these dealers will want to do the show again. The bulk of our dealers this year and in years past were from New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio, though others who set up hailed from all over the U.S.”

When the dealer base expands, the customer base soon follows. “We had a gate of more than five thousand shoppers in June,” Puchstein said. “We sold more tickets for the early buying session than ever [$20, 8-10 a.m.], and when the gates opened to the general public, it was like we let Olympians loose on the track.”

I can attest to the size of the early buying crowd and to the mass of humanity that took to the track at 10 a.m. I arrived at Burton just a bit past 8 a.m., and the parking lot of the fairgrounds already held more cars than I ever remembered seeing for the early buying period. While walking the race track, I saw buying in full force, and the track was already getting crowded.

Often when the show opens for general admission, the increase of shoppers is somewhat noticeable, but when 10 a.m. rolled around and the gates opened, the crowd surged noticeably. Suddenly, crisscrossing the track was no longer possible; it was necessary to take turns to walk into some of the more crowded dealer spaces. The number of people enthusiastically perusing the booths of merchandise was huge. “The lines of people wanting to buy tickets became so big at one time, we actually had to open a third area for people to purchase admission,” Puchstein said.

The best part was the buying that was taking place. Everywhere I looked, people were carrying packages. The pickup service provided at Burton, in which several tractors drive the track and pick up sold items, was bustling. The merchandise pickup building was bulging at the seams.

Taking into account how aggressively the Puchsteins promote Burton, the crowds are understandable. “We put up signs, run TV and radio ads, do mailings, send out e-mails, use social media, advertise in the trade papers—any and everything we can think of to get the word out about this show,” Kay Puchstein explained.

The dealers appreciate this, as do those looking for places to shop for their favorite things. “We definitely got the crowds here in June and hope to do the same in September,” Puchstein said.

For more information, contact Puchstein Promotions at (740) 998-5300; Web site (

This child’s toy cupboard with great paint decoration was $125 from The Chick Shak, Painesville, Ohio.

Originally published in the September 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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