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April 30, 1993 - Image 55

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-04-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I

Bus ess

With an eye on the
future, Jeanne
Fishman invests in
yesteryear.

sells an eclectic repertoire of
cameos, cigarette holders,
stickpins and more, she
doesn't limit herself to sales.
She is the show organizer.
That means negotiating con-
tracts with other dealers. It
means working with mall
managers to iron out the de-
tails of setting up shop on
their turf.
Her shows draw between
10 and 65 dealers who use
the mall as a sales venue.
The dealers pay Mrs. Fish-
man approximately $200 to
set up booths for 41/2 days.
Mrs. Fishman uses the mon-
ey to pay the mall rent, gen-
erally between $2,000 and
$4,000 dollars a show.
The arrangement benefits
the dealers, the mall and
Mrs. Fishman.
Dealers profit from the ex-
posure malls afford. Ideally,
people shopping for clothing
or garden hoses will pass an
exhibit of Tiffany lamps — or
golden 14K fingernails or lace
bloomers or faded Elvis post-
cards — and decide to re-
arrange the day's shopping
schedule in a second. Dealers
rely on such impulse buyers,
Mrs. Fishman says.
Malls benefit from the
sales relationship be-
cause gung-ho collectors
are more likely to shop
there when antique
shows are the featured
attraction.
Jeanne Fishman prof-
its from selling her own stock

Jeanne Fishman
profits off the
past.

Trinket Or Treasure.

RUTH LITTMANN

STAFF WRITER

here's nothing like a sex
scandal to boost the mar-
ket price of knick-knacks.
Just ask antique show
coordinator Jeanne Fish-
man.
Among her collection of
valuables was a plastic
Pee Wee Herman wrist-
watch. In 1988, she
bought it for $1. Last
month — nearly two
years after Pee Wee was
jailed for questionable be-
havior in a movie theater —
Mrs. Fishman sold the watch
for $45.
"My philosophy is, don't
throw anything away," she
says. "Today's collectibles are •

tomorrow's antiques." That
includes TV Guides, Camp-
bell Soup labels and clutter
most are dying to ditch. But
for Mrs. Fishman, "clutter"
appreciates in value. There's
a thin (time) line between
trash and treasure, she says.
She should know. The 65-
year-old businesswoman
spends 43 weeks a year trav-
eling from state to state, con-
ducting antique shows in a
variety of malls — from Flori-
da to Denver and throughout
the Midwest. Her business,
"Jeanne Fishman: Quality
Antique Mall Shows," is
based in Oak Park.
Though Mrs. Fishman

of collectibles and antiques
— and helping others do the
same. The price tags on her
merchandise reflect their
cost, plus a 65 percent mark-
up. After a healthy bout of
bargaining with customers,
Mrs. Fishman generally set-
tles on a 15 percent discount.
"They expect to bargain
with me," she says. "When it
comes to antiques, that's
what it's all about."
Mrs. Fishman also makes
money from her dealers. Her
fee, which varies from mall
to mall, includes payment for
coordinating the shows and
publicity. She advertises in
local and metropolitan news-

papers.
She says the antique biz
isn't popular in Jewish com-
munities. Few Jews market
antiques or purchase many.
Though aged Stars of David
sell like kosher hot cakes,
gentiles purchase them as of-
ten as Jews, she says. Mrs.
Fishman, who attends Tem-
ple Shir Shalom, is, therefore,
an anomaly. She entered the
business soon after a friend
dragged her to an antique
show 35 years ago at the Ma-
sonic Temple downtown. It
was the beginning of her pen-
chant for the past, which be-
came an investment in the
future.
She began collecting. Pret-
ty soon, her home was full of
antiques and chatchkes —

"Don't throw
anything away."

Jeanne Fishman

some pricey, some priceless.
Her husband, Arthur,
worked in real estate. When
homes were foreclosed or
abandoned, Mrs. Fishman
was allowed to scour the
premises for unclaimed pos-
sessions. She was amazed to
find what people left behind:
hoards of valuable junk, cig-
ar labels and brittle editions
of National Geographic.
"The things people collect-
ed! It was crazy." She laughs,
then rethinks. "Maybe it
wasn't so crazy because there
are people who collect them
today."
Like Mrs. Fishman.
"Whatever they left, I cleaned
up," she says.
Cleaning up takes on a dif-
ferent meaning when applied
to Mrs. Fishman's Oak Park
residence, where she admits
to warehousing her mam-
moth stock of goods.
"I am such a pack rat," she
says. "Go to any antiquer's
pad and you'll go in a zig-zag
route around the house."
On the road, Mrs. Fishman
stores her merchandise in her
van. She secures it with an
electronic alarm and a steer-
ing wheel lock.
She profits from her busi-
ness, but will not say how
much she nets annually. She
believes her success comes,
in part, from her ability to
work well with all types of
people — and there are some

TRINKET page 56

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—J

aC

• 55.

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