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sales desk at art fairs

updated mon 31 mar 97


Roeder on sat 22 mar 97

I would be interested in knowing how those of you who are experienced in
"taking your show on the road" handle the "sales desk" or "check-out" area
of your booth. Bags, cash handling, calculator, wrapping material, space
for the customer to write a check...what to you do with all that stuff?

I have a 10x10 booth (adding sides this summer for inclement weather), some
shelving, and a tall director's chair. I currently try to balance things or
handle them from around and under the chair. Inconvenient (and probably

I have seen ads for podium type things. What works? Do you put it in your
canopy, behind it or what?


Candice Roeder
Enjoying first signs of spring in Michigan on sat 22 mar 97

Hi Candace,
I have a bookshelf which I sit behind on my director's chair. The book shelf
is about 4 feet high, which gives customers a surface to write checks on. I
keep my charge card machine on one of the lower shelves. I set up a
packing/bags/wrapping paper area next to me by doing the following: I have 4
of those plastic stacking storage crates with me that carry stuff I need for
the show. I set these up stacked 2 on top of 2 with the openings facing
sideways towards my chair. I put a board between the lower 2 and upper 2
which forms a shelf and makes a space between the crates. I also put a board
on top of them. I drape a cloth over the whole thing. Bags and paper get
stored in the crates and the whole thing is tall enough that I can pack pots
into bags on top of it with out getting out of my chair. Not very
sophisticated but it works. To save car space, I put packing paper, bags and
display cloths into the bookcase during transport.
Take Care
Jennifer in Vermont
Thistle Hill Pottery
Montpelier, VT

Jean Lehman on sat 22 mar 97

>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>I would be interested in knowing how those of you who are experienced in
>"taking your show on the road" handle the "sales desk" ...

We built a folding podium-style desk that is a convenient height for
writing checks. We unfold the base and put the desktop part on -- attaching
it with latches located underneath it. The desktop has a locking cash
drawer and space next to it for stuff. The drawer is wide enough to put a
smallish cash box insert inside, with a bit of space left for scissors,
tape calculator etc. The unit is wide enough to fit a roll of newsprint
which hangs on a dowel-type roller that fits into holes on the sides.
There is a shelf about 8 inches from the bottom that fits into slots in the
side panels which not only gives storage space for bags etc. but stabilizes
the unit. We put this in front of my tall director's chair and it has
worked very well for us. It is big enough that when there is a flurry of
sales, one of us can handle the wrapping while one handles the money stuff
although it is a bit crowded. The newsprint rolls are free from a small
newspaper near here. The desk really does hold all the office junk and
there is room for business cards, info about other shows, mailing list, and
a small bouquet of flowers on top of the desk while not taking too much
booth space. Hope this makes sense -- but I KNOW what I mean... If you
want more specific dimensions, I can measure it.


Jean Lehman, in Lancaster, PA
j_lehman@acad.FandM.EDU (that's an _underscore_ not a hyphen)

Eleanora Eden on sun 23 mar 97

Hi Candace and all,

I compromise the entrance space to my booth with a 3' long x 1' wide desk
thing that I can sit or stand behind, that has a shelf below the desk top
for my cash box and selling stuff and space under for a bin of bags, roll
of newsprint, file box of various info stuff, coats and lunch. If I made
it again maybe I'd make it a bit narrower, but not much.

Hope that helps.


Eleanora Eden 802 869-2003
Paradise Hill
Bellows Falls, VT 05101

[the address is temporary. My mailbox at still works -- do not change address books]

Sue Pellegrini on wed 26 mar 97

I bought a sheet of 1/2" plywood and made a bookcase out of it, bottom, two
shelves and the top. I had a sheet of masonite with a baked on finish, so I
cut it out for the front, painted it and lettered it with my sign I use on my
cards and the drawing I use. Computer generated everything and copied it
onto the board with carbon paper and painted with acrylics...I'm not an
expert on this sort of thing, but it looks nice. Stained the wood. My son
is going to make a cover out of 1/2' plywood that will store under the top
such that you can pull it out and it will flop down to cover the upper shelf
opening and lock just above the first shelf. I don't have a problem with it,
but a friend who sits my booth a lot is very uncomfortable with getting up to
help someone, leaving the money exposed on the shelf. The bookcase does make
a much more professional presentation in the booth. Further, I bring a
roasting pan and cooler full of ice to hot weather shows so I can put the pan
on the botton shelf, fill it with ice water and put my feet in it without
anyone seeing it.

I get my bags at BJ's wholesale club....$16 for a box of 1000. I have an "L"
shaped cup hook in the side of the bookcase about two inches down in the
middle on which I put a stack of bags. I makes it really easy to get at
them. They come off one at a time, so I don't have to fuss. I also get
large rolls of bubble pack from Staples office supply because I have some
work with applied flowers.

I had gone from 4' stanchions on my booth to 5' ones and I thought it looked
better. I set up in a smaller space (8x10) this past weekend, so to
eliminate the bottom 30" shelf, we took one 5' high set and two 4'. The
height difference in the shelves really was pleasing and appeared much more
approachable, so I am going to keep it that way.

I have also found that a mug "tree" in front of the booth works well. I sell
quite a few more mugs when they are displayed this way and a friend started
doing it last summer with great success. Mine is a 2" x 12" x 12' board, cut
in half and hinged, with holes drilled for dowels. It holds 44 mugs and I
can hang a lot of other stuff from it if I need to.

I've used a put-together canopy for the past couple of years and I thought it
sufficed quite nicely. I have been looking at everyone's tents for two years
now and this week I am buying a Craft Hut canopy with all the bells and
whistles including a sign for the front, but excluding the skylight on the
top. I was in one last year and it was unbearably hot because of the sun
streaming in. Main reason for the new canope is so that I can zipper the
sides and leave.

I think whether you put out a lot of pots or a little is a question for
debate. I put out a lot and a friend puts out a little and we both sell
about the same. But I do know, and I have said it often, that craftsmanship
is what will sell your pots.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Pelly in Rochester, NY where the weather is finally breaking.