Harford Magazine

The Painted Mill's monthly sales gather dozens of vendors

On a recent Saturday, antique lovers crowd into an old mill in Fallston. The lure: the monthly Painted Mill Vintage Tag Sale. Like the antiques and retro goods sold here, the Painted Mill is full of charm and character.
“I’m very picky about style,” says owner Jennifer Jennings-Janson. She likes to emphasize French country décor in the furnishings, even playing French music throughout the building. But with more than 40 vendors occupying the space, the range of goods for sale runs the gamut — and that’s what keeps loyal customers coming back.
“I love the variety here,” says shopper Joy Boltz. Boltz moved to Harford County about two years ago and comes to the Painted Mill every month looking for unique finds.
“I love teacups and china,” she says. “But I also have a cabinet in my dining room that I bought here.”
On this visit, Boltz is accompanied by her mother-in-law, Michelle Strauser, a first-time visitor.
“The creativity here is unbelievable,” says Strauser, adding that the size of the shop can seem overwhelming at first.
Jennings-Janson agrees. “We have three stories here. Our vendors are able to spread out,” she says.
The indoor location also means no weather worries.
“We like that we don’t have to set up at the last minute,” says Melissa Garcia, who owns the Shabby Button in Kingsville with her twin sister, Lisa Hovis.
While selections at their consignment shop are based on what customers bring to them, the sisters can show off specialty finds and create a theme at the Painted Mill. At the May tag sale, much of their merchandise had a nautical theme.
Inspired by Philadelphia’s Clover Market, Jennifer Jennings-Janson created her first vintage goods market in 2013 in a lot behind the old Bel Air Bakery.
“My first market, in June [of that year], had eight vendors,” she says. “The last one, in October, had 66.”
She didn’t want to lose momentum with winter coming, so she moved the market indoors to its current location on Fallston’s Main Street. Now the Painted Mill Vintage Tag Sale is so popular there’s a waiting list for vendors.
Jennings-Janson is undaunted by the market’s rapid expansion. She credits her father with inspiring her to be an entrepreneur.
“My dad taught me to not have fear,” she says. “It stops a lot of people from trying out new things, whether it’s starting a business or just redecorating your house. But I’m not afraid.”
The Painted Mill Vintage Tag Sale is held one weekend each month. Parking can be limited, so carpool if possible.