The Arbor Story
Round Top Antiques Week has several venues each owned by different people. I have been asked to tell our story of how The Arbors at Round Top came to be.
I grew up with a love for “old things” as I loved prowling through my grandmother’s, aunt’s & uncle’s homes in Arkansas. That love grew as an adult. For eight years, I lived in Germany and worked as an inventory control specialist for the Army. I worked part time for an antique shop & art gallery. I was able to travel extensively while there! I wanted to make sure I found all the great places, like the Paris Flea Market.
After returning to the United States, as a single mother with 4 children, I managed a store for about a year before going back to work on a government contract as a Project Manager assistant. During that time, I met Dave and we married a couple of years later (1989). Dave was a salesman in the welding alloys field. Together, we opened the Arbor House in Alvin 1991. It was a co-op/consignment shop.
A dealer in my shop and l made a trip to Round Top Antiques Week at the Rifle Hall and I was hooked! A couple of years later, a friend and I decided we wanted to do the Warrenton antique show. We made a few calls and spoke with the owner of what is now known as Northgate. We were the first dealers to ever set up there! We brought about 10 dealers with us! Later I moved downtown to the building which was the original Warrenton Grocery that was moved in front of the fire station.
We also rented the upstairs of a 100 year old farm house in the community of Nechanitz from Vaddie Oser. Every morning we woke to a real “farmers” breakfast and dinners of homemade beef stew and cornbread. We would sit around in the evening sipping wine and singing songs.! One evening, I am sure, after too much homemade wine, I said, “I want to promote a show in Round Top. We had the opportunity to buy the property that is now Marburger but it was not the right time for us to buy. Vaddie’s brother, commander of the American Legion Hall, called me following the spring show to discuss us leasing the American Legion Hall for the shows. It was a perfect fit for The Arbors!
Dave was still working full time and there was a lot of challenges. I would not have made it without the help of many of my vendors. Windstorms, rain, and more. We would pull large trucks across the front to block winds and dug trenches for the rain! We have been through every type of tent out there and several tent companies. I never would allow anything but white tents on the field. I have white linens, white vehicles & white tents!!! I loved the crisp clean look of the tents. We were the first show to introduce free span structured tents to the area and to bring in an air conditioned comfort station. We were also the first show to have wood floors in our tents, now we have about 70,000 square feet of wood floors. We were also the first to have air conditioning in our tents and French doors! Rachel, my daughter, said “oh Mom, you are just a trend setter!”
About 5 years ago the economy was in a slump and the company Dave was General Manager for closed its doors and he had the privilege of going to work full time for The Arbors at Round Top!! What a blessing that has been. The way the show has grown I could not have possibly done it without him.
Twenty years, 7 kids and 15 grandchildren later, here we are, now the only show left with its original owner. Sometimes we look back and think we should have bought property but by leasing from the American Legion we are giving back to the community. They support the Round Top Volunteer Fire Dept, EMS, scholarships, our military and more! They are happy to have us and we are happy to be there.
One of the things we love about our show IS the temporary space. We have been coming here for years, since when the Round Top population was only 77! We love the beauty of this area and are sad to see so many buildings going up that will sit empty for 10 months out of the year. After our show, all we leave behind is tracks, sometimes ruts, depending on how much it has rained. Once the first rain comes after the show, you can hardly tell we were even there. We know that growth is necessary but want to do our part to see Round Top keep its quaint and nostalgic style. Dawn, my youngest daughter, tells me that we are building a legacy to be carried on by the family. We have been so blessed by the dealers and customers that have become our Round Top Arbor family and hope that we do leave a “legacy” of white tents, knowledgeable dealers, quality products, great friends and fun times!
We are excited to see you at the Round Top Antiques Week and are very pleased with our extensive and diverse list of dealers, both returning and new. Watch for more dealer details over the next few weeks.
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See you at the show!!