Finders Keepers Vintage Market starts Christmas spirit early

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Vendor makes a sale at outdoor shop at Finders Keepers Market

Brandy Muz

Vendor of clothing booth makes a sale at outdoor shop during Finders Keepers Market.

MASON – One hundred fifty vendors selling everything from antiques to handmade crafts came to the Finders Keepers Vintage Market at the Ingham County Fairgrounds Nov. 6.

One vendor was self-proclaimed “picker” Mike Hochberg. This was his second year at Finders Keepers, Hochberg said, but he has “been picking janky stuff for probably about 10 years.”

1970s Apache trailer that Mike Hochberg transformed into his shop.

Delphina Yancho

Mike Hochberg spent a month transforming a vintage trailer for his shop, Making Things New Again.

Hochberg’s booth was a 1970s Apache travel trailer that he converted into a shop during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everything has a story,” Hochberg said, “if you point to something [in my booth] like ‘where did you get that,’ or ‘what’s this made of?’ or ‘how did you do this?’ Those are my favorite. I love those interactions.”

Finders Keepers Vintage Market was spread through the fairgrounds, with indoor and outdoor locations. The market featured Christmas decorations and music throughout, although it wasn’t yet a week into November.

“In November and December, every show that we do is about Christmas,” said Julie Fessler of Fessler’s Original Sauce.

The Fesslers were selling their award-winning mustard sauce, made from a recipe from when they owned a restaurant. They worked with the Michigan State Product Development Center to develop their first recipe, then expanded from there.

Setup for a Fessler’s Original Sauce booth usually takes about an hour, but Fessler says that for teardown the goal is closer to a half hour. “Hopefully you sold product, and you don’t have to bring all that in.”

The market had a sold-out $10 early bird admission for 10-11 a.m. that could be purchased online. For all other guests, admission began at 11 a.m., and by that time the line was several hundred people long.

“I didn’t actually buy any of this,” said Morgan Loucks while standing next to a wagon full of Christmas decorations. Loucks was with a friend who at the moment was making a purchase at another booth.

“I’m the cart-puller,” Loucks said, “I only spent money on food … but it is fun to look at stuff.”

This was Loucks’ first time at Finders Keepers, and she traveled from Brighton for the day.

For those who needed a break from shopping, the market included local food trucks. Emily Robinson had just arrived and began her shopping by picking up lunch with her parents.

“I’m away at college and I wanted to see my parents,” said Robinson, “and my mom loves this kind of thing.”

Robinson attends Grand Valley, and the fairgrounds were a good halfway meeting point between college and her hometown.

You can still get a chance to “support small businesses and look at all the festive decorations,” Loucks said. Finders Keepers will be in Jackson, Michigan, on Nov. 13 and Toledo, Ohio, on Dec. 4.

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