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Antique show at Shell Factory gains increased interest

By Staff | Apr 14, 2015

While the Taste of North Fort Myers was just getting started Sunday morning at the Shell Factory, another event was happening over the bridge in the front parking lot which has been flying under the radar.

Since the beginning of the year, the family destination has hosted a higher-end antique show on the second Sunday of the month, selling everything from jewelry to artwork and other collectables.

Shell Factory officials have such high hopes for the antique shows that it will open up the Dolphin Room at Fishbone’s for them throughout the summer in hopes of creating an “Antique Roadshow” type feel, with experts coming to appraise people’s heirlooms to see if they are trash or treasure.

More than 30 vendors were on hand on a hot Sunday morning, with a few people coming over to see what kind of treasures they could find. If you’re looking for old compact discs or movies, you’ll be disappointed. This is no flea market.

Bob Defino, from North Fort Myers, runs the antique show as well as an antique shop in Arcadia. He said the show moved here in January after its original location at History Park in Punta Gorda decided to stop it.

“The Cronins and (marketing director) Rick Tupper gave me a fantastic deal and we started coming here. They are fabulous people,” Defino said. “It takes a while for things to build up, but my vendors love it, they make a lot of money, and there is great stuff out here. It’s the perfect place to bring the family.”

Once the show moves across the way for an indoor-outdoor show, the hope is that an appraiser, who will come every couple of months, will add a new dimension to the show.

“It’s going to look like a professional show. Everyone will be under cover. It won’t be like a flea market. It’s a place for me to see my friends once a month and everyone gets to make some money. There’s great stuff out here,” Defino said.

Defino said jewelry is a popular item, especially since some of the vendors make their own. He also said they sell paintings, one of which was bought at the show for $100 and sold online for $8,000.

Jeffrey Bishop, a vendor from Arcadia, sells and makes his own jewelry, among other things. He sold jewelry in Punta Gorda at that show and came to the Shell Factory when it moved here.

He said it will take time for people to come to the new location. As a result, things have been a little slow.

“We’re happy with the results we’ve had so far. It’s going to take some time to build things up,” Bishop said. “The Punta Gorda show had run for five years and it was getting to the point of being something and they pulled the plug.”