Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shopping with Joe

"I'd rather have something that looks better after you drop it," Joe tells me in all seriousness but he's smiling while he says it. He's explaining to me what he looks for when he's on the Treasure Hunt at Scranberry Coop.

Joe's been coming every week for many years and has become one of the Coop's favorite clients.

Those irons above he explains could be used for anything from bookends to door or cabinet stops.

Joe begins his weekly tour at Treasure Map Location #1. That's the the very first booth when you walk in. The booths are numbered, in order, ending with #146, the very last booth that brings you back to the register. Any one who can count can follow the Treasure Map. It's designed so even a child can count booths and plot an item. Here at Location #1 Joe always finds something he likes.

We all have certain things we collect, certain booths we gravitate towards, and Joe is no different. He tends to stay away from the fragile. He likes brass, iron, copper, steel and wood. He likes to look at antique tools.

One of the reasons Joe comes to The Coop every single week is the quick changeover. "Other stores in this area can look like museums," he explained to me. "The same stuff is in the same spot and hasn't moved in years."

But that's not the way it is at Scranberry Coop. With about 150 different dealers at any given time, constantly coming in and out there's lots of room for change. Additionally, Joe feels most dealers here have priced their wares to move. "People can afford to shop here."

Location #32 (above) is another fav spot of Joe's. That's our "Clock Guy." He is an expert with repairing, restoring, and supplying antique working clocks.

This is a new spot that Joe likes. Location #35 is RetroNJ, and they have a very unique style and feel. Joe especially likes looking at the old cameras and equipment. He says not everything is old, but it's all interesting and pretty cool.

But bear in mind that Joe uses the term "old" in a very conservative way, which I learned as we looked at this Matchbox-type car case, Treasure Map Location #55 for $15.00. The tag states 1966. Joe said, "Ah, that's not old." Since I was born in '66 I just nod and smile at that one ;)

And speaking of cars, that's another point Joe made about The Coop.

"You can park once, close to the front door, and that's it." Joe explains it's like one-stop shopping. You have a 10,000 square foot building to walk. "It's much more convenient then driving from one store to the next, having to street park and deal with snow and traffic."

Joe gives a nice nod to Lori who keeps the Scranberry Coop parking lot plowed and clear, safe for all.

At Dave and Melanie's Treasure Map Location #63 we checked out the big blue thumbtack light, the beer signs, and some old license plates. Joe knows many of the dealers that have booths here. We chatted with Melanie as we continued our interview. Joe described the duo's wares as "oddities," things that are really fascinating and different, things you won't find elsewhere. He said even if you aren't interested to purchase a thing, it's always interesting to check it out and learn about it.

But Joe isn't just a looker and learner. He's a shopper. He tells me he buys something at least every 2 - 3 weeks. Check out this great find, only $2.00 at Treasure Map Location #83: a hammered- aluminum very clean ice-bucket that you could use as a catch-all for lots of different things. This booth and a few others belong to Carol, also known as The Pink House Lady.

"Now her items are really priced to go!" Joe tells me, and I agree!

I did a good deal of Christmas shopping myself in Carol's locations. And this adds to the quick turnover here, Joe explains. Carol is always selling stuff, so she's always bringing more and more stuff in.

'Makes perfect sense.

We checked out this vintage swing in Carol's pink booth, and then moved on. "Where else are you going to find interesting things like this?" Joe points out a vintage Barbie pink rolling pin and a pen set as he makes his way to the next aisle.

Joe mentions Map Location #42 also. The gentlemen that rents that spot brings in many items from Asia that aren't common elsewhere. He also points out some other spots he tends to slow down and check out pretty thoroughly every week.

As we came upon Treasure Map Location #126 Joe explained to me about this style: primitive, country, warm and inviting. Although this isn't his taste per se, he knows so many people that gravitiate to these items. He's done gift shopping at the Coop, and specifically at this spot.

Since Joe's here so often and knows so much about the items and the dealers, people often ask him why he doesn't try his hand at selling. He says he just enjoys shopping! He'd prefer to cruise through once a week rather than work.

He will help fellow shoppers out though. Sometimes people will ask him to keep an eye out for a certain something. And he'll oblige, sending them a cell phone pic or letting them know what's come in.
At Treasure Map Location #132 Joe pointed out this excellent assortment of tools and parts and items he gravitates towards. Joe said, "This is Kathleen and Dan's booth. They always have remarkable finds."

And that's the truth. They have a few booths, all packed with incredible and unique treasures.

Take this old brightly colored Dictionary for example. This would be a fun gift, a cool conversation starter on your desk or your coffee table, or it could be used to add a little height in your McCoy display area.

Walking through the Coop with Joe was like walking through the place with new eyes. He'd point out something or explain a way of seeing it, that had never occurred to me before. I had a great time, and I hope Joe didn't mind granting us this interview.

At Map Location #145 Joe pointed out Vintage Valentine's Day postcards and remarked, "Look how nice Joanne has this put together!" Everybody knows and loves Joanne, the Bottle Queen.

I asked Joe if he could leave us with any words of advice for our shoppers.

"Look up! Don't forget to look up!" Joe points to the top part of the booths where many items are often hanging, above our heads.

"Great advice," I said. "Some dealers really utilize their entire space."

"That," Joe said, "And some people are just really tall."


Anonymous said...

I'm a shorty, I know exactly what he means!!! I forget to look up and then when I do I'm like how the heck did they get that way up there???

Cindy said...

Awesome post! Make you feel like you were there too! See you tomorrow! Cindy

Scranberry Coop said...

LOL @ Anonymous!

I'm kinda short too. ;)

Don't ever hesitate to go to the front register area and ask someone to help you get something down that's too high to reach. We're happy to help!

Scranberry Coop said...

Thanks Cindy! See you tomorrow for the Chocolate Fiesta here!

Laura said...

Joe sounds like my husband. We have such a great time at Scrans because there is stuff we both like. I like the fragile things hahaha. My husband likes the booths Joe likes. This was a great article.

Scranberry Coop said...

Thanks Laura! We keep saying it, there really is something here for everyone.

Bennie said...

Joe sounds cool! How come no photos of Joe?

btw I really like this website. It's really well done.

Scranberry Coop said...

Thanks Bennie! I have a lot of fun taking care of the site, I'm glad it's working for ya!

Joe is as cool as he sounds! I did ask if I could take some pics of him but he declined. And I respected that. Maybe he's a superhero incognito. Who knows? ;)

Tzveta Tochkova said...

I feel I know Joe better now Thanks for your time Joe It is great to have you here