Editorial: “Bravo, Senator Linares”

April 11, 2014

Editorial as it appeared in the Maine Antique Digest

One politician understands investing in antiques, or rather, investing in the antiques business.

Connecticut state Senator Art Linares, a 25-year-old Republican, has sponsored a bill to boost the Connecticut Spring Antiques Show, the 65-dealer affair that will be held March 22 and 23 in Hartford. Linares’s bill would appropriate $50,000 from Connecticut’s general fund in order to help with the operating expenses for the show.

The Connecticut Spring Antiques Show, long an institution in Hartford, was forced out of the Hartford Armory following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It moved to several other locations, including once being held outside of Connecticut state lines, before returning to the armory last year.

Being at the armory, however, is expensive, according to Terry Smith of the Haddam Historical Society, the nonprofit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1955 that produces the show as a fund-raiser.

Supporting the antiques business makes good economic sense. Smith told the Hartford Courant that an economic impact study showed that the show generated between $80,000 and $300,000 for the Hartford area last year.

Those numbers are in line with what the Office of Tourism Analysis in the School of Business at the College of Charleston in South Carolina reported last April. Each local attendee to a show in Charleston spent an average of $477 during the three-day event, and out-of-towners spent an average of $816, paying most for accommodations, food and beverages, and antiques. The total economic impact of the show for Charleston amounted to around $300,000.

Smith said the proposed bill would provide “three years of operational costs while we get on our feet,” the Hartford Courant reported. Senator Linares told the Middletown Press, “We want visitors to come to Connecticut to enjoy the show and to take in all that our beautiful state has to offer. When people and vendors visit Connecticut, small businesses benefit, restaurants and hotels and bed and breakfasts benefit.”

Senator Linares gets it: the antiques industry is worthy of governmental support. We hope the rest of the Connecticut legislature agrees.