Visual Inspiration from the Springfield Extravaganza

Visual Inspiration from the Springfield Extravaganza

Visual Inspiration from the Springfield Extravaganza 800 435 Chute Gerdeman

Having creative teams get out of the office and attend events like the Springfield Extravaganza is a great way to inspire individuals, build teams and break the mold from the traditional way of working. Inspiration is found everywhere and taking time to experience life is the only way to be experts in designing amazing experiences. Here’s a look at what our creative team uncovered on their adventure.

Insights from Jennifer:

Heading to a place like the Extravaganza is a great way to understand the power of visual repetition. Seeing like things grouped together is a powerful selling tool, whether at a flea market or a big box retailer. I photograph this event every year as a tool of inspiration and always find myself walking away with dozens of captivating images.

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Insights from Amy:

I think the whole concept of the Springfield Extravaganza is nuts! With TV shows like Flea Market Flip, these shows have become trendy with the thrill of finding the great deal. Cities have started to use flea markets to sell local goods and educate the community on local issues and events. The idea of local is spreading through these flea markets, and small businesses are getting more established and recognized through these events. The big difference between local flea markets and a show like the Springfield Extravaganza are the vendors. People travel across the country to different shows and bring trends and ideas to the Springfield show. It’s really showcasing what’s new, what’s coming and a better taste of national trends through merchandising, graphics and furniture.

Insights from Elaine:

Attending the show, there were certain themes that stood out through the vast amounts of stuff. We found old items with character repurposed and used in a fresh new way, like a table made from old rulers and antique crates that were transformed into furniture drawers. Typography and color inspiration were abundant in old signage. One vendor (clearly recognizing the importance of presentation) grouped frames in varying sizes and shades of blue in a storage box creating a composition that made you want to buy them all.

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Insights from Natalie:

Metal fixtures, signs and chairs stood out as interesting pieces in many of the booths. Almost every vendor had some form of card catalog cabinet, and often made out of metal with a unique handle and interesting detailing. Metal fixtures and furniture pieces, especially chairs, were painted giving them a pop of color and a worn character to them. Metal signs with brightly colored illustrations and graphics were nostalgic yet classically beautiful. Colors go in and out of style, it was fun to find pieces that held true to their era, and refreshing to see sturdy, industrial metal pieces with so much character.

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Insights from Amanda:

These shows bring to life the power of nostalgia. You can find old antiques that need a little love and elbow grease to make them beautiful again, or perfectly polished craftsmanship that the creator/maker has the utmost pride returning the piece to its former glory. Looking through the piles of stuff (or junk as some may say), you’ll see oil cans with beautiful throwback branding, old metal signs that may have been from the old corner store, or something that makes you think “My grandmother had one of those.”

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All of which make you smile and feel a little tug on the heartstrings for the past. It’s a great place to explore and reminisce and find unique pieces that were once forgotten but are now exciting again. One of the best things I found was the Ms. Pacman arcade game that was in working condition. Yes, the kid in me stood there and played a few games while contemplating how I could fit the giant machine in my car. No doubt you can find unique, one of a kind, pieces at the Springfield Antique Show, but a little look into the past was, by far, the best inspiration.

Insights from Mary:

These shows are great, but there are some tips and tricks you should know before tackling the sometimes-overwhelming Springfield Show.

  • Talk to people. The unique vendors and builders at places like the Extravaganza are wonderful resources. Not only can they build or refinish just about anything, and if they can’t, chances are they know a guy or gal that can.
  • They love to talk. They’ve put a lot of time and money into their craft. You can learn a lot about technique by letting them talk about their processes.
  • If you tell them what you do they will give you more information, because they see $$ signs.
  • Barter wisely and get business cards. The vendors all have them and you never know when you might need to find that perfect table.
  • These vendors are for light commercial use; be aware that it may not be right for your restaurant or retail space.
  • Some can refurbish pieces or sell raw. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Vendors To Check Out:

  • Collectors Collectibles – Refurbished drafting and library tables. You know, the ones we all dream about.
  • The Old Red Barn – Handcrafted furniture and fine décor.
  • Harmony Haven LLC – Beautifully custom stained tables and casework.
  • Jak’s American Barn Wood Furniture – Handcrafted furniture made from barn wood.
  • Metal Letters, Words & Symbols – Recessed, marquee and script style lighted words, symbols, letters and silhouettes.
  • M & T Primitive Design – Shabby chic, great pieces with ceiling tiles.

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Springfield flea market and extravaganza events happen almost every month; if you’re looking for inspiration, check out the schedule and make some time to explore.


A collection of insights research and observations across retail, restaurant, c-store and grocery. Helping brands provide a better experience for their customers. Enjoy.

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