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Author Topic: Trip to the flea market  (Read 4907 times)

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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Trip to the flea market
« on: April 10, 2016, 06:46:58 PM »
   Our large flea market opened last week with a good crowd so I decided to do a combo wood selling and advertising trip. Sawed a couple hundred bf of 4/4 ash and poplar 8' long to fit my trailer. Added 7-8 dozen tomato stakes, several bags of sawdust, threw in a couple of bent tree ash slabs, several live edge walnut slabs and a curved front cherry mantel. Topped it off with a few shim cuts and two bark on slabs in case anyone wanted me to save them some for deer blinds.

   When I hooked up and pulled out it was 20 degrees. We had snow flurries all day yesterday. It was scheduled to and did warm up to around 60 or so this afternoon. I guess the cold weather chased folks off as few vendors and poor crowd.

   Was a 20 mile trip each way, $15 set up fee, bought a $3 bag of pork rinds and sold a total of $3.50 worth of trim cuts. (This is beginning to sound like a government run operation isn't it?)

   I did get to meet FF member Woodbutcher but we did not get to talk long before I got interrupted. I also passed out a couple dozen business cards, several price sheets and talked with several people who had questions about getting their logs sawed into lumber. I have hopes several will call back. It was good to talk with the folks. Several other people had sawmill experience and enjoyed talking with them.

   Time will tell if the trip pays out. I was surprised I did not sell a few tomato stakes and a bag or two of sawdust. One lady wanted the whole load of wood but could not contact her husband as no cellphone service in the area. Gave the bark on slabs to a lady for craft work and thoroughly thrilled her husband in the process. Talked with one guy who makes artificial limbs for people in Central America for a benevolent association. He sounded like needed thick wood for make heels on artificial feet. He is supposed to send me more details and I may be able to cut and donate some wood he can use. We will see.

    I will likely try again in a week or so when the weather improves.
 

 
Set up on site - wood items on display.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline drobertson

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2016, 09:17:20 PM »
Heck of an idea, thanks for sharing,, I'd say this will pay back at some point for you, good idea,, bet those mater stakes will go as the weather warms up,, I saw a big trailer load coming back from Wis, last week, beefy things, nice conical tapered points,, headed south on I-39, 
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline kderby

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2016, 12:26:08 AM »
This is beginning to sound like a government run operation isn't it?


 :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

I was Government, my Dad was Government and my wife is Government. 
I have a full grasp of the good and the bad of Government.
Notice: I quit and bought a sawmill.
Notice: My wife has a fulfilling career and provides our health insurance and steady income.

Public service is a real benefit, if it is in service to the public!

Offline wvwoodbutcher

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2016, 06:06:06 PM »
It was nice to meet you in person WV Sawmiller. It looked like you drew a pretty good crowd considering the turnout yesterday due to the temperature.
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Offline 4x4American

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2016, 07:41:03 PM »
W(BG)V Sawmiller you have some real good idears you've posted here.  I tried your idea of printing out flyers from a previous thread.  And instead of hanging them in stores I've been ending up passing them out in addition to price sheets and biz cards.  I don't go into stores or go out to eat much, in fact pretty rarely, and I don't feel right about going into a store to hang an ad on their wall without buying something.  Anyways, another good idear!
Boy, back in my day..

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2016, 08:52:27 PM »
It was nice to meet you in person WV Sawmiller. It looked like you drew a pretty good crowd considering the turnout yesterday due to the temperature.
WV WB,

   For such a slack day they sure got busy when we tried to talk. Come see us any time you are over in Hinton and you can take the mill out for a spin. Always some thing laying around we can cut up.
W(BG)V Sawmiller you have some real good idears you've posted here.  I tried your idea of printing out flyers from a previous thread.  And instead of hanging them in stores I've been ending up passing them out in addition to price sheets and biz cards.  I don't go into stores or go out to eat much, in fact pretty rarely, and I don't feel right about going into a store to hang an ad on their wall without buying something.  Anyways, another good idear!
4X4,

   The places I put out my flyers are the regular businesses I visit. Its a small town and everybody knows everybody (or thinks they do) and my wife and I shop there regularly. They have community type bulletin boards for such ads. Like I said before it is real cheap advertising - 2 flyers per page on a regular sheet of letter size paper. People sometimes do take them down but then again maybe it is because they plan to call or maybe the staff there just periodically clear off anything they think has been there too long. I think I have them in our main grocery store, hardware store, feed store, local catch all/country stores, local sporting goods store, etc.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2016, 08:29:02 AM »
   Well, I got a call yesterday from someone who saw me there and I'll do a site visit. They have a bunch of ERC they want cut up and did not know where to start. Will likely go again this weekend and much better weather predicted and a larger crowd should be there.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Magicman

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2016, 01:32:21 PM »
Your presence is good advertising. 

Back in my woodworking days I set up at our bi-annual flea market with a display of about 6-8 clocks.  At the end of the day I was in the dumps because I had not made any sales.  None.  Well in November the calls started coming in and it was a struggle to complete all of the clock orders before Christmas.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2016, 09:26:19 PM »
   Beautiful weather so went back today. Tons more sellers and visitors. Had to set up in the back lot - not necessarily bad as next to the parking lot and closer to haul wood. Exponential increase in actual sales (Went from $3.50 last week to $32.50 today). Many more people came by and talked. Several were interested in my log benches and I am sure I will get some sales for them. Several were interested in the cherry mantel - seriously interested - and I am convinced it will sell. At the end of the day a guy came and said he is a local tomato farmer and had already bought his stakes this year but was interested in about 2,000 for next year. I assured him I can provide them. May have to buy or borrow my son's (I like that option) chop saw to cut angle on 2 sides for points. He sounded serious and I'd rate that as a 50/50 probability for next year sale. My redneck customer with the old hippy girlfriend stopped by. Pretty sure that job will materialize.

    Had to stop typing to answer the phone. Another guy from today wants to build a shed so either I'll provide the lumber or if his logs are okay I will go cut them but a very likely job.

    I won't set up regularly but may go again in a few weeks and also another at a drive in theater the opposite direction I will visit when they open in a few weeks. Looks like pretty good advertising.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 05:17:27 PM »
   Well, I'll reopen this thread for another year. My son reminded me Saturday that the big local Flea Market opens this weekend so I came home and rushed up a load of lumber (75-80 bf each of Ash, Spruce and Poplar), a few dozen tomato stakes, a nice live edge 3" thick cherry mantel, a couple of walnut crotches about 3' X 23" X 2", 3 Walnut Cookies/donuts (all had hollow centers) 23" diameter X 2"  thick, and 2 styles of log benches. My luck held true and my ATV would not pull the trailer load of wood and slung mud over everything before I pulled it out with the tractor. I hosed everything down, which was not great for the wood but better than the mud, but it still made a mess.

   Got up early yesterday morning, finished loading and strapped everything down and off to Pence Springs 19.5 miles away. Found a site, unloaded and started talking to people as they came by and passing out business cards. Several local current and former sawmillers stopped to talk and a couple of newbies stopped to ask me about bands and sawing issues. I sold a few dozen tomato stakes, all 3 walnut donuts, one walnut cookie (1st cut) I had been meaning to throw away, and one walnut slab. I passed along one Rite Leg referral to someone interested in making a bench out of a slab.

   Like last year when I started these flea market sales visits, the sales hardly justified the the time and effort. In this case I actually did better than before although nothing earth shaking. Mostly this is advertising and I feel I have a good chance of getting a few future portable sawing jobs from the people I met.

   I like meeting and talking with people so these outings are a lot of fun for me. I did see one large lady pass by wearing hip huggers who truly did not do them justice. I started to offer to give her my suspenders as she needed them much more than I did but I decided "If you can't make friends at least don't make enemies."

   I will try a couple more trips to different flea markets as the time and weather conditions permit. The bad thing about most flea markets is I tend to buy more than I sell and selling cuts into my shopping time.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Just Right

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2018, 10:05:05 AM »
Hip huggers are like yoga pants. . . . . . JUST BECAUSE THEY MAKE THEM YOUR SIZE. . . . .DOESN'T MEAN YOU NEED TO BE WEARING THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you are enjoying what you are doing,  is it still work?

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2018, 01:49:37 PM »
Just Right,

  Not real sure what prompted your comment. I fear you saw someone at a Flea Market in "less than flattering attire" and you can't shake the memory from your mind. :D It happens. I still remember a very large lady in tight silver stretchy pants in Ohio who looked like she was wearing a sack full of cats or something when she walked. The Fashion Police were nowhere to be found. I still wake up in a cold sweat sometimes as a result of that sight. >:(

  Anyway, with our rainy weather I have not made a trip to the flea market to sell although I have been shopping a few times. I will take a load in a few weeks when weather is right. A flea market trip with a load of benches, tomato stakes, and wood samples is more advertising for me than selling. I generally pick up a mobile job or two from it but often many months later. I like to talk and visit so I always make a few new friends in the process.

 
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2018, 08:11:51 AM »
WV. . . You are correct Sir.  It is forever burned in my retinas.  Sounds like the flea market is a way to go.  I will be retired in Jan 2019 and will have more time to do that kind of thing.  Atlanta has a Scott's Antique Market I am interested in giving a try.  Its only once a month so they get A LOT of traffic when they are in town.  
If you are enjoying what you are doing,  is it still work?

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2018, 08:06:23 AM »
So how many of those "promising" leads actually came through?  Did the tomato stake guy buy 2000? Did you do that ERC job?  Did you supply the shed material?  How did your perception of their seriousness compare with reality?
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2018, 08:44:30 AM »
Brad,

   I typically get 2-3 jobs after most initial Flea Market visits but maybe 1 on repeat visits to the same place.

   The commercial tomato stake deal never happened although a co-worker of my son in the same area did order about 350 or so last year and I got a call yesterday for about 180 (15 dz) from a local trader paper ad. I deliberately cut my ash tops (10-12 inch dia) 10' long then cut them into 1" boards then rotate and cut into 1" strips and saw the strips in half at a 45* angle and get 2 stakes with each cut. Bundle into dz and tie with old hay strings. Sell for $10/dz or $2/bf. Others make fancier ones but have more time and equipment expenses involved.

   Most of the people just talk which is fine as I am pretty gregarious (I find some folks like to use big words here on the forum to impress others :D). If anyone looks tired I invite them to sit down and test my benches and meet some nice people and flirt with the younger (Most all are younger at my age :() ladies and tell them I'll put them on commission if their presence helps sell any benches. Many people actually mean to cut some logs and  have me come saw them but forget or get side tracked or lose my card. 

   The ERC job did not pan out yet. I do see the man most trips and we stop and talk about guns and such as he is a big gun enthusiast. The last time I saw the lady was when she was there selling a litter of PB pigs. The shed guy was a bust so far - some slight hope he may still come through as he still shows up.

   Trips like these aren't for everyone but if you have the right personality they can be fun and productive. Don't go expecting immediate gain. If the right customer shows at the right time, especially if his wife likes what you have on display, you may completely sell out. I loved visiting open air markets in Africa and the MidEast and this is the closest thing we have to them. That's part of the appeal.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline maple flats

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2018, 08:26:46 AM »
Over the years I have been in about 4 shops with my maple syrup, one was fairly good and one is real good. The real good one is a second hand, crafts and antique shop with a locally produced food section. They are now in an old school house on a fairly steep hill and the have a hard time getting the landlord to maintain the driveway. This keeps traffic somewhat lower, especially in winter weather. That being said, I had a fantastic sales period from Sept-Dec. The shop emailed me as product needed to be restocked. Sometimes I had to restock 5 times in a month.
Now the shop is moving to a much larger building in a better location, and all on one floor instead of 2. This is where an old hardware store recently closed. No hills and easy to find and get to. That opens July 1. Sales should likely double in that location, maybe even better, time will tell. I may even try to peddle some air dried cherry I have, rough cut in 2004, stickered and covered with steel roofing. Some of the crafters might be interested.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2018, 09:53:16 AM »
Maple,

   You talk about re-stocking 5 times in a month. Did that prompt you to increase to amount of syrup you left there? Its a crap shoot and you never know how much to leave and don't want to leave too much due to extra risk and you don't want to leave it where it won't sell but you don't want to run out. Of course no matter how much you stock you may have that special customer come in who is going to buy up all you have there - How many of us have done that and emptied the shelves in a store when we found something special? I wiped out our local grocery store's stock of grits when they finally stocked them. That is the customer we are all looking for. 
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline brianJ

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2018, 10:04:26 AM »
 :-\ :-\ ???    A very big NO.   Never trust a person that grab up all the grits they can even if they gots green backs.  :o :o

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2018, 11:30:02 AM »
Brian,

   Think about your favorite food. Imagine you have not had it for a year or so then suddenly a miracle occurs and it lands on the shelf at your local market. Do you really think you are just going to walk past it? ;) I remember the same thing with Tortilla chips in a westernized grocery store in Cameroon in West Africa. You'd see the lady ahead of you at the check out counter pulling 3 shopping carts full of them. 

   My favorite thing to see at a Flea market is for a lady to see one of my benches and tell her husband "That's the one I want." end of discussion. he can say he will build her one or such but it will not work. What she wants, she's gonna get. An if she wants all of them I might as well load them back on the trailer and follow them home to unload.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Magicman

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Re: Trip to the flea market
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2018, 11:34:01 AM »
Now that is catchy;  Greenbacks for Grits!!  ;D

Deal me in.  :)


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