I keep hearing people discussing how brick and mortar stores are becoming obsolete and as this is the case, I should be afraid of what will happen in the future after investing in a storefront. I can understand that viewpoint; I spend quite a bit of money buying items online myself. Office products, cleaning supplies, and personal items are always arriving at my home. Although I am careful to support area businesses, the fact is that sometimes I am not able to get exactly what I require locally.
As a collector of vintage and antique items, I also have bought items from ebay, Etsy, and other similar e-stores. Although each purchase was as described, there seemed to be something missing from these online purchases. I then started to pay close attention to my behavior when I went on “hunting trips”, as my husband describes them.
There are many things I see that I recognize when I stroll through antique and thrift stores and estate and garage sales. From experience, I know what to expect if I examine them from all sides. However, what process happens when I find something that I haven’t seen before?
The first thing I use is my sense of sight. There might be a color that catches my eye or the material from which it’s made is something that I don’t understand. It might also have been used for something for which I can’t relate. So, I pick it up if it’s small enough or I circle around it if it’s too big or heavy. I close in on it. I see the way the light plays on it when I turn it over in my hands. I feel the material from which it’s made and try to identify it from its look and feel. Is it cold? Does it have any texture? Does the light penetrate through it? Does it have a smell (either pleasing or not)? What type of sound do my fingers make on its surface or when I place it back down onto the display? Does it feel good to me or do I get a bad vibe from it?
How does it relate to the items around it? Does this relationship give me any ideas on how to utilize the thing I’m studying? Can I imagine a way to repurpose it? Can I picture myself owning it?
When we are babies, we use all of our senses to understand the world around us (although I rarely use the sense of taste when I buy something- the exceptions were when I bought two flutes, one ceramic and one bamboo….when I got them home and totally by myself, I blew into them to see what would happen – I guess I tasted them then). I must experience as much as I can before I truly feel comfortable or connected to an item, which, I guess, relates back to being childlike. How can this happen, at least to this extent, when buying something online?
Customers who visit Ambry’s Attic find that the store is effective in engaging their senses in many ways; even if it’s discovered that we don’t have an item that they’ve been searching for, it becomes a pleasant and memorable experience, nonetheless. I work hard to make sure that this is the reason for clients and customers to continue to visit Ambry’s Attic while they’re in Blairsville.
Although this is the main reason for opening my store, there is another, darker reason. My husband threatened to call “American Pickers”, as our storage unit, my parents’ basement, and our home were becoming quite crowded. Now that the store is open, Mike, Frank, and the rest of the gang, will have to find someplace else to pick.