A Market Just Brimming with Antiques
By Margot Clark-Junkins
Pullquote: If you see something you want to buy, do so on the spot.
Brimfield, the word is synonymous with antiques. For several days every May, July, and September, this giant antiques and vintage furniture bonanza occupies 21 rolling fields in Brimfield, Massachusetts. According to the website, over 50,000 people attend the Brimfield Antique Flea Markets and thousands of exhibitors set up booths.
Hoping to source some good pieces for a client, Rye resident Erika Mercurio, owner of an eponymous design firm, drove to Brimfield with her friend, Kristen Koecheler. She had booked a room in nearby Sturbridge. Her plan of attack was to shop, eat, sleep, and repeat on Day 2.
In addition to bringing one collapsible “grandma” cart on wheels, one fanny pack, and two walkie-talkies, she was armed with tips from those who had previously made the trek. Getting there early is important because some “show fields” open at 5. As the sun rises, cars can be seen snaking toward parking lots at specific fields. Certain lots fill up because some shows are more popular than others. Where you park starts to matter if you end up buying a lot and having to make several trips back to your car.
It helps if you know which dealers you want to find; many dealers return year after year and you can search for them on the new Brimfield App. You can also check out #Brimfield@brimfieldantiquemarket on Instagram.
On Day 1, Erika arrived before 7. “It’s a sample sale mentality — with a line to get in,” she explained. “When they open, everyone starts running.” By 7:30, many one-of-a-kind items have already been nabbed. She recalled spotting sold stickers on all 30 vintage Coca-Cola coolers at an early hour.
The two friends separated, each taking an aisle and meeting at the end of the row to discuss. Texting took too long, Erika explained. They quickly learned that if you see something, buy it; it’s too risky to expect to find an item of interest waiting for you later.
While credit cards and checks were in evidence, cash is (still) king. Erika described her tactic: “I would get my best price, and then I would ask, ‘What would the price be if I paid cash?’” Buying multiples also gives you a bit of leverage. She stressed that one should never accept the first price…it’s more than acceptable to respectfully negotiate.
She came home with two Mid-Century scissor chairs with woven leather seats, a pair of round mirrors with industrial acrylic frames (“it looks like sea glass”), and salvaged bubble glass, which Erika plans to use on the cabinet door of a wet bar, to mask the bottles inside.
Brimfield reconvenes July 10-15 and September 4-9. Opening times vary by show field. Most do not charge an admission fee.
Pair of Mid-Century Scissor Chairs
Salvaged bubble glass
Erika Mercurio at Brimfield with cart in hand
Vintage tool chest
Industrial acrylic mirror