We saw a rerun of Green Acres on TV the other day, and we marveled at the inside of Zucker’s General Store. There were shelves of old tins filled with who knows what and big bulk barrels with scoops and a scale. We realized the classic trading post was a very organized place—loaded with jars, drawers, bins, and sacks. What a charming way to corral clutter! It made us want to go flea market shopping for all things general store.
Right away we found that general store goodies abound at the flea market––and they are affordable, too. One vendor had a variety of canisters with brand names like Happy Valley Lard and Dixie’s French Fried Popt Corn. Kitty wanted the large Fry King tin to dispense dog food, but it was $55! She settled on a $5 peanut can for dog treats instead.
Jennifer was attracted to the tins with crazy names like Monkey Grip and Boraxo, but she kept organizing in mind and chose three vintage coffee canisters for her office supplies. Only $18 for the lot!
Another booth had stacks of crates that once held washing powder and soap. We thought of dozens of items they could hold like file folders, magazines, and toys. We each bought one and got a package price of $22. Kitty’s says Bicycle Laundry Blue and Jennifer’s is printed with Tyler & Bro’s Biscuits. Just like Mr. Zucker, the dealer had an ornate National Cash Register over 100 years old, but he didn’t ring us up on it!
Although the country store is full of charm, we really have a sweet tooth for the penny candy counter. So when we saw authentic candy collectibles at the flea market, we squealed like school children. We oohed and aahed over a cast-iron scale called the “Detecto-Gram” that came with its own weights. Fun! Kitty snatched up two tilted glass jars with chrome lids and red Lucite knobs for $20. When Jennifer spotted a 1¢ gumball machine, she forked over the $35 without even haggling! And we both went home with lidded jars that still smelled like peppermint sticks. At only $3 each, we could’ve used our lunch money!
Vintage manufacturer’s displays with clear tops, drawers, or multiple compartments are ideal for keeping every little thing in its place. A small point-of-purchase display like one for Bromo Mints is a good size for housing spices in the kitchen. In the studio, a tiered countertop shelf meant for Lifesavers can be used to create stadium seating for bottles of craft paint. Tabletop display cases can cost between $25 and $75, right in line with modern storage cabinets but much cuter! On the high end, a thirty-compartment case for Shaeffer’s Leads will run you $150 or more, but just think of all the buttons and beads those tiny cubbies can hold!