Taking over an established fair brand is not for the faint-hearted. For an acquisition to be a success, loyal exhibitors need reassurance with a strong ‘business as usual’ message.

In acquiring Emmott Promotions last year, Grandma’s Attic Fairs has done all this and gone one step further.

“We’re keeping the Emmott Promotions name, as it’s a good brand dating from 1970, and why change it,” says Chris Brown, who runs Grandma’s Attic with his partner and fellow dealer, Geoff Fagan. “So, for the moment at least, we’ll run it as a separate brand to Grandma’s Attic.”

Brown was talking to ATG at the second Emmott Promotions event of 2020 under new ownership, at Midhurst’s The Grange Leisure Centre on Sunday, February 2.

More than 650 people attended, browsing and buying from nearly 60 stalls selling antiques and collectables from antiquity through to Mid-century modern. Jewellery, ceramics, objets d’art, postcards and coins were well represented.

And if Brown had any questions about his latest acquisition, former owner Lesley Kelley was present, selling coins and postcards in one corner. “It could have been awkward but in reality, it was great to have her there,” Brown says.

Kelley ran her fairs in Chichester and Midhurst as “a tight ship,” Brown continues, and was happy to pass the business to organisers who would run it “in the same manner she did”.

Marketing boost

Still, the new owners have begun to put their stamp on the fair, such as boosting the event’s local and trade advertising to increase footfall.

“The fair is busier now than it has been for a long time,” says regular exhibitor Graham Moore, of Moore Antiquities.

“Chris and Geoff have put a lot of effort into this, including being selective on which dealers they include.”

Grandma’s Attic, which Brown and Fagan purchased three years ago, now runs 29 fairs across four counties, having cut events in Dorchester, Romsey and Lymington. Might another acquisition be on the cards?

Brown shakes his head. “At this stage I’m happy with what we’ve got,” he says. “Taking over an established fair is hard work. The good news is that loyal Emmott Promotions stallholders are now booking for Grandma’s Attic events.

“The next fair here in Midhurst in April is full already, which is exactly where we want to be.”