Happy New Year!
But, let's not dwell on the evils of 2020. Now that it's behind us, we'd prefer to focus on some of the best things this worst of years has taught us. First, and foremost, we've affirmed that spending 24 hours together seven days a week works for us, as much when it's forced on us as it had always been before our lives became dominated by Covid. But, now we think about many things in a slightly different way.
For example, the restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic have forced us to rethink how - and when - we do business. For years, we based our annual rhythms on our buying trips to England and the exciting openings in our shop that occurred on the heels of our travels. In between those events, we periodically loaded up our van to travel to a show in a more or less distant place, to set up a booth, and then to hope for the best. While the pandemic has brought all of that to a halt, it has also encouraged us to think about alternatives and to make some fundamental changes in the way we do things.
Not surprisingly, the internet has provided the answer for us, as it has for many in our field and in others. When the 2020 installments of both our spring and fall shows needed to be cancelled, we moved the shows to our website, and found that our sales totals approached the figures we've come to expect in our live shows in our shop. When our two live off-campus shows, Rhinebeck and Wilmington, were cancelled, we decided to accept an invitation to participate in The Fox Valley Show, based in suburban Chicago, in its first virtual collaboration with Marvin Getman. It, too, was very successful, with sales surpassing any recent show away from home - and at a fraction of the expense. Our hopes were being realized, and, in a monumental decision, in August we sold our 20 year old Econoline and bought a minivan.
We've decided to carry on digitally for the foreseeable future. This winter we will be participating in The New York Antiques Show, a new digital event based on Marvin Getman's very accessible platform, and in March we plan to be part of the Spring installment of the Fox Valley show. After that, who knows? A year ago, we decided to cap our off-campus shows at two; this year, online opportunities might allow us to increase that number just a bit.
We're making changes in the way we do things at home, as well. The intensity of the first hour or so of our last two Conway openings has convinced us that we need to return to a calmer format. Beginning with this newsletter, instead of offering nearly 100 things at two openings each year, we'll be splitting our new stock into smaller bundles, spreading out their release over several newsletters. We trust that this will be better for all.
Meanwhile, our showrooms remain open by appointment, and we're always happy to welcome visitors. You'll find our event calendar for the first half of 2021 at the bottom of the page, just below Pippin's Page, The Back Page, and pictures taken during our annual New Year's Eve dinner last Thursday. And, most important, look for the listing of two dozen pieces that are appearing on our website for the first time. We hope you'll have a look at all of it.