Christoph Miller builds things; Nancy Miller attends to detail. Together they fuel a passion embodied in the Heartland’s premiere antiques show – Kansas City Antiques Expo running August 1 & 2 at the KCI Expo Center.
Built on Christoph’ years of product knowledge honed by collecting and exhibiting at shows himself, Kansas City Antiques Expo is on a growing curve of popularity, bolstered by Nancy’s impeccable customer service and focused marketing savvy.
Make no mistake, this is not your grandparents’ antique show. With high-end jewelry, watches, traditional antiques, premiere lamps, chrome and car-related items, the offerings, from Classicism, Art Nouveau and Art Deco to Modernism, attract collectors of all ages and interests.
Christoph began building his affinity for collecting and by association his collection, of fine glass when he was a teenager. At the knee of his mother, he wasn’t bashful about visiting antique shows where he started assembling an array of antique salt dips, investing his allowance on the 25-cent keepsakes. The collection, like his grasp of the antique business, grew. By the time he was out of college, he was buying and selling antiques on a regular basis.
His collections grew, but his business interests followed a different blueprint.
Driving trucks to help pay for his collecting habit, Miller says he “morphed” into the construction industry, eventually starting and managing his own company...which he sold. And to prove his early business success was no fluke, he did it again. Ultimately, predictably, he refocused on the world of antiques. Even while constructing homes, he was building his collections.
It was during his second metamorphosis out of the construction industry back to the collecting game that he met Nancy. She was a Human Resources professional, with a printing and graphic design pedigree. Boasting 10 years of corporate pragmatism, cubicle politics, and a taste for antiquing herself, she had an itch for change. “We met in July 2008,” she says, “and got married on September 9, 2009.”
“It was a Tuesday,” Christoph adds. They both remember the date -- the wedding had to be scheduled around travel plans so the pair could attend an antiques show in Indianapolis. “We were introduced by friends,” he remembers. “She was easy to talk to, organized, smart and not afraid to get her hands dirty,” he says. Such was a perfect foundation for someone stepping into a husband’s journey that ventured to and from 30 antique shows a year, nationwide.
“I left the corporate world, its security, its benefits and income,” she says. “We declared: We’re going to make this work. We supported each other.”
To this day, that unconditional support makes the business grow. “We’re not afraid to divide and conquer. I work the front of the house – the tickets, security, customer service, and he helps with the expo’s construction and the ongoing relationships with the dealers. Dealers he’s known for years,” Nancy says.
Both are quick to extol the importance the dealers play in the Kansas City Antiques Expo’ success. “Christoph understands the business from their side of the table; his reputation and business sense attracts national and international dealers that not only trade in the finest quality items, but they themselves draw a far-reaching audience with their reputations and offerings.”
That’s not to say the Millers rely solely on the dealers to market their shows (the Lee’s Summit, MO, based business has expanded with expos in Indianapolis and allow that they may look at another location in the distant future). To be sure, the promotional side of traditional expos offers an opportunity for growth and sophistication – in Kansas City and myriad other antiques shows around the country. “There are a couple (of shows) that does a really good job on the promotional side of the business. We are looking at them and adding our own vision. The promotions of our shows are an area where we are investing resources and placing focused efforts,” Christoph says.
Both Millers cite intentions to advance the use of social media, the internet and other information platforms as strategies they will bring to Kansas City, building on its already stellar reputation.
It’s high tech meets high touch as the soul of the business still rests in one-on-one relationships; the ability to hold actual antiques and to have them authenticated on the spot. “There’s still too much to be said for placing, cradling a piece in your hand,” Christoph says. “At its core, Kansas City Antiques Expo offers that with so much more.”
Originally launched at the Downtown Kansas City airport in the 1970s, the show migrated to the Overland Park Trade Center where it was produced for decades, until a move in 2013 to its new home at the KCI Expo Center (near the Kansas City airport) was necessary.
“It wasn’t our intention to uproot the show from its prior home, but scheduling conflicts forced us out; we already see this move as a huge step forward,” Christoph says. “It’s clean, well-maintained and plenty big for our expected growth,” Nancy adds. The access to transportation, free and ample parking, coupled with affordable hotel rooms are favorably impacting the show’s intended experience – one built on quality and service.
Quality and service: two things the Millers know more than just a little about.
The Kansas City Antiques Expo (formerly the Overland Park Antique Show) is located at the
KCI Expo Center, 11750 NW Ambassador, KC, MO.
Aug. 1 & 2. Show Hours: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
This show offers quality merchandise including art glass, silver, porcelain, furniture, jewelry and much more. Experts in nearly all aspects of antiques and collectibles will be on hand to discuss their items.
MEDIA WELCOME TO ATTEND THE SHOW. CALL Alex Greenwood at 913.907.4426 for details.