When you have lived in the same town in for almost 70 years, change can sneak up on you. Maybe one day you are stopped at a red light and notice a group of fir trees are gone or maybe the old faded red barn has been demolished.
People who have been away for a few years notice the changes as soon as they return but for those of us that have never left we have accepted the development as a way of life.
That’s why I like to visit places that are familiar to me, grounding myself and making sure my roots are still attached. I have a route that I like to travel and one of the stops is Ken Napier’s Antique store in beautiful downtown Milner.
Ken is celebrating 50 years in business at that location on Saturday, Oct. 13 and he is having an open house to welcome back all his regular customers and show off his collectible antiques to new visitors.
Ken developed an interest in second hand stores when he was 14.
“I used to ride my bike from Milner to Cloverdale on Saturdays to help out in a second hand store. I was always interested in how the business worked. My Mother and I used to go to museums and I learned to appreciate the history of old things.”
Ken started his business in a barn on his Dad’s poultry farm on 64 Avenue in Milner just after graduation. As the business grew he needed more space.
“I built a bolt-together building on Dad’s farm that I eventually took apart and sold later. My Dad told me that if I was serious about having my own business that I should own my own place. He told me never to pay a landlord a dime, so I built this building myself and added on to it over the years as the need arose.”
When you stop by, don’t just squeeze through the crowded main building, be bold and climb up into the double decker bus or peek into the trailers out back. Go outside and on the south side of the building, pull back the blackberry vines and see what is nested in there waiting to decorate your yard, or your man cave.
Lift up an old car fender and see what Ken set down there a few years back. You might just be able to make out the numbers on the weathered and faded price tag. Surely on his 50th anniversary he’ll give you a deal.
It may look like most of items have been in the store for years but Ken assures me that the only thing that has been there for the entire 50 years is him. Ken has passed the age when most people look forward to retirement but he plans to continue working in the business he loves.
Things move pretty fast these days, so stop by 6743 216 St. Time moves a bit slower there.
At least that’s what McGregor says.