LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - When some people think of antiquing today, it may still involve driving to small towns and estate sales and logging a lot of miles on your vehicle.
However, a growing number of Lufkin businesses are using social media to drive business to their websites and social media pages, saving money and building a far-reaching customer base in the process.
When A Furniture Fetish moved from the West Loop to downtown Lufkin in 2013, owner Andrew Harbuck had to come up with a way to channel traffic to the new location on 121 West Shepherd Ave.
Harbuck said he bought advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. But producing the ad for consignment and one-on-of-a-kind pieces was difficult.
“If I pay traditional media...once I pay for that to be produced,” Harbuck said about the time involved in creating a traditional media ad. “I'll have to use that [particular piece of furniture for the ad] but it may be sold by the time the ad is produced.”
His main problem was that inventory at his store changes constantly. So, in 2011, A Furniture Fetish began to engage its sellers and customers more on Facebook. It now updates its Facebook page with new inventory every Thursday at 11 a.m. The likes soared.
“At the 25,000 like,” Harbuck said as he reviewed their page on the front office computer. “If you just look at the population of Lufkin being around 35,000, all these people aren't in Lufkin.”
Carol Ann Foster, of Lufkin, is a regular shopper who checks the company's Facebook and website.
“I happen to like it,” Foster said. “I'm an old lady, and it's new to me. But my daughter seems to find things quicker than me,” she said with a laugh.
Heritage Antique is also on the social media bandwagon. Bonny Hicks works at Heritage part-time, but she and her husband David also run Hicks Antiques & Estate Sales using alternative media.
“We have an email list of about 1,500 people,” Hicks said about their family business' marketing plan, which includes Facebook ads.
”Facebook has been wonderful,” she said excitedly. “I'll buy ads on there when we're having an estate sale. It travels to everywhere.”
Hicks is one of several vendors or booth renters at Heritage Antiques. Some vendors cross-list items on Ebay.
Both businesses say their Facebook pages have drawn customers from as far away as Louisiana.
All the stores downtown cross-promote downtown businesses, including Heritage Antique's Vintage Flea Market set for Saturday, April 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.