Over the weekend, the Maison Hamptons Antiques and Interiors Show took place on the grounds behind Elks Lodge on County Road 39 in Southampton. To the dismay of many, however, the event did not draw a large crowd.
Due to issues with advertising funds, an estimated 80 attendees passed through the event as of Friday afternoon, bringing about frustration to vendors who had arrived Wednesday evening to sell their art pieces and antique furniture into Saturday evening, when the show finished. Katie Santarem, the event’s on-site manager, also expressed irritation towards the lack of attendance at the event.
Ms. Santarem did not respond to requests for comment this week. Maison Hamptons organizer Randy Babin Hall could not be immediately reached.
For many vendors, it was their first time doing a show out in the Hamptons, and Maison Hamptons did not set a good precedent.
“Worst show I’ve ever done, without a doubt,” said David White, owner of White’s Nautical Antiques, based out of Maine.
Vendors said they were promised an event flourishing with other sellers, as well as gourmet food and lectures on horticulture, antiques and home finery. Instead, about two dozen vendors were present, no lectures took place, and food was not available except at the show’s opening gala Wednesday evening—two trays of meatballs, which one vendor joked was probably purchased at King Kullen.
Additionally, Maison Hamptons was supposed to go on until Sunday, but that last day was suddenly removed shortly before the event began, which vendors said was a breach in their contract.
“There’s been a total misrepresentation of the contract we signed,” said Harvey Wenz, a part-time Amagansett resident who manages an antiques business with his wife Joan. “This place is a disaster.”
But what upset vendors the most was that they would most likely lose a majority of the thousands of dollars they invested in the show. Some spent as much as $20,000 renting a space, purchasing new pieces, and transporting it all out here to the East End.
One of those vendors is Dale Barattini of DB Studios based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Barattini said that in preparation for the show, she purchased antique furniture pieces from a vendor on Shelter Island to sell in addition to her paintings. As of Friday, she didn’t sell anything, and at that point she was convinced she would be going home $5,000 short.
“It’s going to hurt a lot,” Ms. Barattini said. “I was hoping I was going to come home with an empty trailer.”
Another vendor from Maryland who specialized in reupholstering furniture said she put $14,000 into coming to Maison Hamptons, but she did not wish to give her name, should legal action come out of the event.
On Friday, Ms. Santarem said she tried to do her best in getting the word out about the show, even going as far as moving the live band to the side of the highway to attract customers, and putting up large signs. Ms. Santarem said she wanted to do everything in her power to make sure some vendors went home with money in their pockets. “This is their livelihood,” she said.