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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Vintage Picking in Ohio and Pennsylvania: Tips, Tricks and Must Hit Spots

Save money, find the best deals and plan a successful vintage picking trip with these tips and must hit spots in Ohio and Pennsylvania!

The other weekend, myself and two of my favorite vintage loving friends headed out on a four day picking trip through Ohio and Pennsylvania.  We researched, planned and made hotel and rental truck reservations, but the rest of the trip was full of spur of the moment adventures. 

We hit a couple bumps along the way like roaches in our first rental truck, making many wrong turns and showing up at closed stores, but we found some great shops, snagged some awesome deals and had an absolute blast treasure hunting.
vintage picking in Ohio and Pennsylvania
Before I get to some of the shops and antique malls we hit, I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips for having a successful vintage picking trip.

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- Large plastic storage totes with lids:  Perfect for keeping small items organized and they stack well for easy packing.  
- Moving blankets: To wrap around larger fragile items (frames, mirrors, etc.) and cover and protect furniture.
- Bungee cords Wrap around dresser drawers and secure moving blankets around furniture and larger items.
Ratchet straps: To secure furniture and dresser drawers.
- Tarps and/or plastic trash bags: In the event it rains, you will be thankful to have something to cover furniture and smaller items that you don't want to get wet. 
- Utility shopping cart: It will make your life a whole lot easier while shopping at flea markets.  We each used a shopping cart and tote when picking at the flea market and it was not only convenient but kept our hands free to dig for treasures.
- Heavyweight poly strapping: Ratchet straps may not fit through the rails on all rental trucks.  Poly strapping can be used as an alternative to ratchet straps to tie down and secure furniture.
- Newspaper/packing supplies:  Most antique shops and stores will be able to wrap and protect items you purchase, but you may want to bring newspaper/packing supplies for items you score from flea markets and smaller shops. 
- Hand Truck/Dolly - Many stores will provide a hand truck to help move large furniture, but you will definitely want to make sure you have one packed just in case.


headed out to go vintage picking

 - Travel in a group of three or four:  This allows you to split travel expenses (gas, accommodations, etc.) and break apart and tag team when necessary. 
- Research rental truck options:  We priced two different rental companies (Budget and Penske) and compared rates in both Ohio and Pennsylvania to find the best deal.
- Ask for a discount: Our first truck had roaches (gross, I know!), so we requested a new truck then asked and received a discount.  This also applies to flea markets, Facebook Marketplace and antique shops.  Most people will be open to reasonable offers, so offer less and see what they say.  More than likely, vendors will be happy to give you a deal, especially if you bundle items and/or pay in cash. 
- Pack a cooler: Buying food and beverages from convenience stores, food vendors, hotels, etc. can be expensive and quickly blow your travel budget.  Save money by packing your own food and drinks and resist the temptation to make unnecessary stops. 
- Use hotel points: Do you or anyone you are traveling with have hotel points?  We were able to use points for hotel accommodations, saving us hundreds of dollars on our travel expenses.

- Take advantage of hotel perks:  Most hotels will have coupons for local restaurants or offer free continental breakfast.  Take advantage of discounted or free food and grab breakfast, coffee and a snack before heading out for the day.
- Ask for Recommendations: You have to be a little assertive and outgoing when visiting new places.  Don't be afraid to ask for directions and recommendations for places to shop and eat.   We found some great vintage and antique stores simply by asking shop owners where else they recommend we visit.

I didn't take pictures or record every store we visited, but we tried to hit every Goodwill, Red White and Blue Thrift Store, Merchant Village, antique and fleatique mall in and around Rogers Ohio and Pittsburg Pennsylvania.  

Antique store and thrift shop store fronts

45625 Old State Rte 154, Rogers, OH 44455 
With around 1600 vendors and miles of treasure hunting, it was no wonder we were all looking forward to hitting Rogers flea market.  We got up early and arrived at the flea market a half hour before they opened.  We were surprised that vendors were still arriving and the crowd was small.  We quickly learned (from talking to a few vendors) that the flea market picks up in the late morning/early afternoon.  We stuck around for a few hours and did find some great deals, but were definitely a bit disappointed.  

I wouldn't recommend making a trip to Rogers, OH simply for the flea market, but if you're passing through or in the area, it's definitely worth checking out. 

897 E Middletown Rd, North Lima, OH 44452

This super cool store was three floors and packed full with unique vintage, MCM and one of a kind decor and furniture.   The prices were a bit high for me as a resale vendor, but very fair if buying for your own home.  It's definitely a must-hit spot if you're near North Lima, OH.  

Vintage VanBlair Antiques and Oddities

We were able to find some great deals in this shop and it had one of my absolute favorite vendor spaces of all the antique malls we visited.   I literally wanted every multi-drawer piece, industrial cabinet, sign and unique vintage item.

A gallery of Antiques and Collectables

Vintage drawer cabinets

Vintage cabinets and furniture

Vintage industrial cabinets

930 5th Ave, Coraopolis, PA 15108

I was hesitant to visit Emma Jean Relics, but so glad I did.  The store is a mix of vintage decor and furniture, wholesale items and Fiestaware.  It's in town and within walking distance to a few other vintage shops, which makes for a great shopping experience.  We all ended up coming out with a few great buys and will definitely return.   The best part was, we made a connection with a picker who was dropping off furniture to the store.  
Emma Jean Relics

409 Washington St, East Liverpool, OH 43920

This antique mall was probably one of my favorites.  It's three floors and you could easily spend hours hunting for treasures.   It's packed with hundreds of vendors offering different styles and price points to appeal to everyone's style and budget.

***TIP*** If you purchase something over $20 you can ask for a discount and they will take 10% off if paying cash.
Pottery city antique mall

Vintage frame and glass jar

224 Braddock Ave, Braddock, PA 15104
I've been following Toll Gate Revival for years, so it was definitely a must-hit store on our trip.   I was looking forward to visiting the shop for weeks and it did not disappoint.  The displays were on point, the inventory was unique and the prices were super reasonable.   They are known for their Chesterfields sofas, so definitely check them out if you're on the hunt for one. 
Toll Gate Revival

Vintage storage cabinets at Toll Gate Revival

Vintage cabinets and lockers from Toll Gate Revival

Vintage industrial laundry baskets

210 4th St, Irwin, PA 15642
Miller's Crossing was the first of many fleatique stores that we hit on our OH/PA vintage picking trip.  I would describe fleatique stores as upscale thrift stores with a heavy emphasis on items you would find at traditional antique stores and flea markets.  This particular store had a great selection of inventory and we were all able to walk out with a bunch of cool finds. 

Miller's Crossing Fleatique

2397 US-30, Ligonier, PA 15658
I had high hopes for this antique mall, unfortunately, it was quite expensive and was mostly full of glassware and chotskies.   I'm not even sure I would visit this store again even if I was in the area and simply passing by.  

Grahams Antique mall

1327 Lincoln Highway, Laughlintown, PA 15655

This antique mall was probably my least favorite of all the malls we visited.  It was smaller than the others and was filled with mainly primitive antiques.   There were a few vendors that had some good sales (like the gorgeous card catalog cabinet below), but overall, I found it to be a little expensive.
Laughlintown antique mall

Large vintage card catalog

My intention for the trip was to buy for my shop, but I couldn't resist keeping a few items to decorate my own home.

Vintage modern industrial mudroom
I've always loved vintage industrial laundry baskets and couldn't resist buying one from Toll Gate Revival for my mudroom.   I think it looks pretty perfect under my DIY hairpin bench
Vintage industrial modern mudroom decor

I also kept a few books, a brass jewelry holder and a clock that I picked up to style my nightstand.
High contrast vintage modern decorated bedroom

We traveled hundreds of miles over four days, visited many stores, made valuable connections and all came home with some great furniture and smalls.   I feel incredibly fortunate to have amazing friends who are motivated and share my love for all things vintage. 

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  1. You were in my neighborhood !!! And now, since the only store I’ve been to is the one in Cory (Coraopolis) and also Rogers...I am on my own little road trip!! Thanks for the tips ! I can’t believe you were right where I live! How exciting ! Thank you for the tour!