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Randolph Street Market ~ Chicago Antique Market ~ Indie Designer Market ~ Modern Vintage Chicago ~ Fashion, Jewelry, Flea Market, Antique Shows
Randolph Street Market ~ Chicago Antique Market ~ Indie Designer Market ~ Modern Vintage Chicago ~ Fashion, Jewelry, Flea Market, Antique Shows

From down the street to across the country, people near and far travel each month to the Randolph Street Market. And the consensus?

They love it.

In its 10th year, Market staffers have made a conscience effort to reach out to marketgoers through social media. Through advertising on Groupon and Living Social earlier this year, over 5,000 people have bought market passes. With a Facebook page with over 13,000 likes and an opt-in email list of over 25,000 people, Market Founder Sally Schwartz hopes to make the market easily accessible.

“Because we have such a big body of vendors, we encourage them all to post online,” Sally said in her booth, Sally’s Cabana. “A lot of people who come are staying in hotels in the city so to reduce congestion around the entrances, we try and offer easy ways for people to get here. We have a free trolley that runs from the Water Tower once an hour and takes people back every 30 minutes. We also started offering free bike trolley rides from the Little Goat. The restaurant is so popular that there is always a long line, so while people wait for a table they can come check out the Market.”

In Chicago for the Market, Sandy, a Braidwood resident and her friend Sonia, from Frankfurt, heard about it from a friend at work.

“We love it,” Sandy said. “There is just so much variety. I’ve gone to a few antique stores and auctions before but this fair has such creative stuff. There are a lot of vendors and a lot of refurbished items. All of it is quality made. At many similar places, vendors buy items and then give them to you to fix up. Here they refurbish things, add little twists to them and then resell them.”

Sandy found a tablecloth from Mayseek Global Treasures and Sonia bought a photograph from Brian B. Horan’s stand.

“We came in for the market and it was so worth it,” Sandy said.

“Not for my pocketbook,” Sonia added, laughing.

Making the long trek from Cincinnati, Ohio, Julie and Tom heard about the Market on T.V., on a show called Market Warriors on PBS.

“The people we’re meeting here are so interesting. They all have so many stories,” Julie said, holding several bags of items they had just bought.

“We love mid century modern items and we like comparing notes with the vendors. We go to some markets but not a lot and we’re selling in our first show in July in Kentucky. Collecting was an acquired hobby and we have so much stuff now so we thought we’d give selling a try!”

“Today we found some owls, an orange telephone and some multi-layered candlestick holders – “ Tom began.

“And we’re only just getting started!” Julie added. “We will definitely be back.”

Close by and shopping with his friends, Greg admitted he loves antique fairs like the Randolph Street Market.

“I found the fair through a friend of mine,” Greg said. “I love it! There are really cool vintage finds and I like vintage shopping. Normally, I look for lamps and ashtrays as strange as that sounds. I like things with a really interesting history. Today I didn’t find any ashtrays but I did find a mid century Danish lamp, a cool shelf, some candle holders. I also found this paint by numbers painting of a cat. Each section of the painting is assigned a number and that number corresponds to a specific color. It’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen but I had to get it.

“I’m sure all the vendors here are making a huge profit but I don’t care. I love all the unique things here. There are just so many things from old dead people who didn’t know how interesting they were!”

After just stepping away from a vendor with her purchases, Laurie, a marketgoer of 5 years, folded two large, wool blankets into a plastic bag with the help of her friend.

“I like that it happens in the summer,” Laurie said. “I love the food trucks and music and the great deals! I’m an inexpensive shopper and sometimes antique shopping can be a bit hit or miss but today I lucked out. I’m from Canada and I love big huge blankets. Today I found some really beautiful big winter blankets. I collect them. I have two at home that I’m using to reupholster a chair. One of these I promised to send to Canada to a friend who has cancer.”

“She was very sweet,” Judith, the vendor Laurie bought from, explained. “This is our first fair. We just had all of this stuff and decided to give selling a try. People think we are professionals! We’ll definitely be back.”

Walking hand in hand down one of the outdoor aisles, Mary and her husband Frank appeared to be carrying an oddly shaped stool.

“We’ve been coming for years, maybe twice a season,” Mary said. “We found this turtle foot stool at Davis’s Antiques. Our son growing up, when he was little, little, little was called turtle because of the way he walked. So we’re bringing the memory back.

“There are so many different vendors here. This may be the best display of unique items we’ve seen. We make a day of it. We go get breakfast down the street and then come here. We don’t go to places like this as much as we used to but we love, love, love this fair. This is by far the best.”

Just down the aisle and holding at least a dozen wooden tennis rackets in his hands, Paul guided two men carrying two tables and a few iron baskets through the fair to his loft down the street.

“I remember playing when I was a kid,” Paul said, referring to the tennis rackets. “I’m going to put them on the wall of my loft in the west loop. I love the history, the wooden handles and frames.”

Pointing to the tables on the cart behind him:

“The wood is from Wisconsin. I like how the metal and wood work together. They will accent the apartment well. Not only are they functional but they are unique. The large table has a piece on the end that says “Chevrolet.” It’s a one of a kind, an original. And the wood. The wood came from a grain-sorting mill. The vendors took it apart, deconstructed it, and these were the best pieces. The baskets were made in Hoyt Park and from the 70s. People used to put their clothes in them and lock them up before changing into their bathing suits.”

Laughing, Paul continues, “I’ll probably just put them in the shelf there and put my keys in them.”

Once a vendor, now just a markergoer, Consuelo searches the Market looking for antique perfume bottles to add to her collection.

“I’ve been doing flea markets and antique fairs for close to 40 years now,” Consuelo said. “I couldn’t believe when this started. It is the best. People just have stuff, and I don’t think they realized how incredible it is! I used to sell vintage clothes here maybe three or four years ago. It went very well but it was a lot of work. I just had a closet full of stuff! I had to get rid of it.

“Now I collect miniature perfume bottles. I keep thinking I’m going to get rid of them but I can’t pass up a deal! Today I found bottles for two dollars! The buy is for the bottle. I found a Fendi and a Nina Richie, made in France. I also found a wine bottle, Matteus. It reminded me of when I was younger. In the 70s women used to go out and drink Matteus! So I thought, I had to have this miniature.”

With a bag of purchases in her hand, Cindy and her friend leave the refreshing air conditioning of the Plumber’s Ballroom to check out the food booths just outside.

“This has been absolutely excellent,” Cindy said. “I heard about it online, I think through Facebook. It’s just been terrific, I’ll definitely be back. There are such friendly people.
“I found some little books, a cork screw, a necklace and two augers that I’m going to put in my floor base. I visit other shows like this one maybe twice a year. I like to look for corkscrews. I collect them and have been for a couple years now. I’m in the wine business. I work for Binny’s as a consultant and I just think corkscrews are really cool looking. This one’s pretty old, and a good price too!”

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