Handmade Attractions: Vintage Market Days opens doors for designs

Handmade Attractions: Vintage Market Days opens doors for designs
April Wallace

Each year before Vintage Market Days officially opens, Chandra Gower says she drinks lots of coffee, and her husband and Farmhouse Beginnings business partner Greg Gower builds items until the very last minute.

“We don’t have tons in stock,” she says of Farmhouse Beginnings. Husband Greg builds barn doors in his spare time, and she paints and distresses them. They make custom signs, too. “Everything we make is shown all in (this) one event.”

This year’s Vintage Market Days, titled “Vintage Soul,” will feature 130 vendors, the most it’s had yet, and will take place April 8-10 at the Benton County Fairgrounds.

Megan Allen, co-owner of the Northwest Arkansas event, says this year features a lot of new vendors, plenty of activities for the whole family — face painting and pony rides for children and live music for all — and one brand new offering: a workshop given by Junk to Jewels on Friday to build your own hat. She’s expecting 10,000 people to attend over the three days.

“I love the whole experience, the whole weekend,” Allen says, agreeing that there’s probably something there for each person in your family, from baby to grandparents. “The vendors restock each day, so you can find things for your home, or gifts. You can bring the kids … there’s food trucks for your husband, or you can simply sit and watch the live music.”

Among the vendors are lots of locals, Allen says, but plenty from out of town too. Perspective Design and Antiques out of New Mexico, featured in Country Living Magazine, is probably the one from the furthest away.

A number of vendors now travel from one Vintage Market Days event to another. There’s 75 locations around the country, and Allen says they’ve found a bit of community in doing multiple events.

For Chandra Gower, Vintage Market Days NWA was the inspiration for her business.

Megan Allen, co-owner of the Northwest Arkansas event, says this year features a lot of new vendors, plenty of activities for the whole family — face painting and pony rides for children and live music for all. (Courtesy Photo)

“This all started because I was a Vintage Market fan,” Gower says. “I was an early Friday morning shopper, and just amazed by all the stuff shown.”

When her family added on to their house six years ago, she wanted a barn door, but the steep prices made her investigate what it might take to make her own. Husband Greg built one and encouraged her to finish it.

“I’m not a crafty person, seriously,” Gower says. “But he told me ‘just try to paint it,’ and it turned out awesome.”

They made one and set it out at a garage sale they were having and it sold, which proved to her that it could bring more business.

Now Farmhouse Beginnings builds five to 10 custom doors each month. Most have bold colors and unique finishes or distressing, and they all come with the wall hanger. By now, the Gowers have made these barn doors for many uses: as pantry doors, entrances for the primary bathroom, laundry room and closet.

“They’re functional wall art,” Gower says, noting that they sell everything you’d need to install it — everything but the labor, that is.

“When you see our stuff, you know it’s us,” Gower says. She and her son even developed a shade of blue paint that they often use on the doors, which doesn’t have a name but she describes as “not royal blue, not navy blue; it’s just perfect.”

Other times she’ll use a white drybrush, or plenty of neutrals with a pop of blue or black. The family business has their own version of Buffalo plaid, but aside from those elements, it’s the handmade quality that gives their products a novel feel.

Among the most unique projects the Gowers have done was to customize a cabin, making the window shutters and lining the hallway so that each bedroom had a barn door for a total of 16.

There are a lot of early mornings and late nights leading up to the big day as a vendor, Chandra Gower says. So before the 20 doors and assembly of door hangers, signs and stands can be set out for shoppers to peruse, there’s a ton of little last-minute things: dusting that sawdust off; packing up two trailer loads worth of stuff; setting up the booth, of course; and making sure everything has a price is no shortcut, either.

But it’s all worth it to build those relationships with customers who have come to love her family’s products.

“It got us in the arena,” Gower says. They’ve built a following since their first show as a vendor in 2017. “People run to our booth to make a purchase, then at the end, they come back.”



Vintage Market Days

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 8-9; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 10

WHERE — Benton County Fairgrounds, 7640 SW Regional Airport Blvd. in Bentonville

COST — $10 good for all three days; children 12 and younger free

INFO — vintagemarketdays.com/market/nw-arkansas/

FYI — In the event of bad weather, entertainment will be moved inside, and a tent will be set up for shoppers to eat under.



Farmhouse Beginnings has a little shop in Gravette that is open only by appointment, which you can make by messaging their Facebook page. They offer DIY craft nights about once a month, which are popular for birthday and bachelorette parties, Mother’s Day activities and more.


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