Visiting Aberfoyle Antique Market - How to Shop Antique Markets

Visit an Antique Market (with success)

One of my favourite ways to find unique, high quality furnishings and accessories is at Antique Markets. It’s also a great excuse to get out of the city into the country for a day. 

This year I’ve been fortunate to frequent a few great markets both in the USA and Canada. My top picks for markets are the Brimfield Antique Market in Massachusetts and the Aberfoyle Antique Market outside Guelph here in Ontario.

I took my team to Aberfoyle in search of furniture & accessories for a current project. Watch our day unfold here:


Here’s how to shop antique markets for optimal success:

Tip 1 - Bring CASH

How to Antique Shop - Bring Cash

Most antique dealers are not set up with electronic payment options. Make sure you take out more cash than you think you’ll need. The last thing you want is to leave without the dream item because you didn’t bring enough cash.

Tip 2 - Price is ALWAYS Negotiable

How to shop antique markets - negotiate prices

Negotiating prices on antique can feel intimidating. I know that I struggle with this. But just remember that this is NOT a retail store and vendors expect you to low ball them. A trick I like to use is to think of the price you would pay for it - then offer LESS than that. Chances are the dealer will meet you in the middle. Ultimately most dealers don’t want to have to head home at the end of the day with the stuff they came with!

Tip 3 - Bring a PHONE CHARGER!


This is something I learned on my last trip. You will likely use your iPhone to snap pics of items you like and want to remember to go back and see once you’ve seen everything. This sucks up your battery! Bring a car phone charger so you can charge your phone on the drive home (especially if you rely on WAZE to guide you home like Idid :( !

Tip 4 - Walk through multiple times

How to Shop Antique Markets - Multiple Walk throughs

You might be looking for something specific or maybe you just want to be inspired. Whatever the case, I suggest doing a. First walk through and make notes or take pics of items that you like. BUT if you see the PERFECT item, don’t wait. BUY IT. You can pick it up at the end of the day. (More on that in Tip 5)

Tip 5 - Bring an empty car, truck or cart

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There’s not usually a delivery service and dealers don’t typically do home deliveries. You are expected to take what you buy. A cart is great for small accessories but any big items you will need to load into your car at the end of the day. There is usually a n area where you can pull up close to load big items once you’re done shopping. Just ask your dealer if you need a “permission slip” to gain access to the pick up area. 

Have fun and enjoy the day. Be open and friendly. Dealers are more likely to give a good price to a well deserving individual than a grumpy pain in the ass. Ultimately shopping for antiques can be an extremely rewarding experience. Not only are you finding well made and one of a kind items but you’re helping the planet by not creating a carbon footprint. It’s truly a WIN - WIN in my opinion.

Have I missed any tips? Please share them below!