Ron Hart, former owner of the Rainbow Barn flea market, is trying the flea market business again in a new location in the city.
Hart used to host auctions out of leased space at the Rainbow Barn in the town of Florida, which is now home to an Alpin Haus location. Hart is selling various goods that he collects from estate sales, including antiques and vintage items, at leased warehouse space on Route 5S.
Hart said he is currently working on obtaining a variance from the city to host auctions at the new site, but until then will operate for a few weeks as a flea market.
“We’re doing this to let people know that we’re back in business,” he said.
The Northville native said he has a pretty good client base, with a list of more than 350 people who have attended his auctions.
Neil Flavey and his wife, Jean, of Amsterdam, visited Hart’s new location on Thursday. Hart said the couple regularly came to his auctions at the Rainbow Barn.
Neil Flavey was looking at some glass pieces, while his wife rummaged around the store, taking an interest in a pile of ceramic dishes.
“We used to sell books on the Internet,” Neil Flavey said. “Now we look for either books or antiques for us or to sell.”
The couple said they enjoy going to all sorts of antique shops and auction houses, including Capone’s Vault on Division Street in Amsterdam, which has a weekly auction on Tuesdays.
Larry Cline of Gloversville said he’s done some research on vintage brands that are worth money, including McCoy ceramics. Peering through a small magnifying glass at Hart’s new space on Thursday, Cline studied a Santa Claus figurine, which he said he believed was worth some money. Hart was selling the figurine and a similar piece for $6.
Cline said he got into collecting antiques and vintage items after he began selling on eBay the estates of two family members who had died. He said he’s been researching various vintage brands and scouring flea markets and antique stores for items to buy and resell.
Hart said only a few pieces of his inventory originate locally. About 95 percent of the items he sells are from estate sales in Albany and Schenectady. He said he never has trouble finding items from older people who are downsizing.
“Almost all of our stuff is from out of the area,” he said.
Hart sells nearly everything imaginable, from furniture and bowls to clothing and shoes.
Hart expects that more people will be taking advantage of the flea market and related auctions because of the down economy.
“Some people can’t afford $400 or $500 for furniture, but they can come to the auction and get great stuff for little money,” he said.
Hart pointed out items like a Haywood-Wakefield set of mahogany chairs, table and china cabinet that he was selling as a set for $600, as an example of his great buys.
“Stuff like that would usually go for a couple thousand dollars,” he said.
Nancy and Mell Herrick of Amsterdam greeted Hart as they walked into his shop Thursday.
Mell Herrick said it’s the hunt that keeps him returning to flea markets and antique stores.
“Just the chance of finding something,” he said.
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