A collector of over 30 years, Barry Flett, owner of Fedora Antiques and Collectibles in Oak Lake, figures there’s room in the town for several retro, refit, or recycled goods stores.
There is already one other antique shop just down the street. EnL’s Come & See Collectables and Antiques opened in September of 2017. Flett says that Oak Lake, located just off Highway One, could become a destination – “Outings for the Weekend” - or something along those lines.
From solid one-of a kind furniture pieces, to collectibles, and steampunk art, the store has you rubbernecking from the moment you step in the door. “We have collectors who come in, who collect a variety of things. People doing decorating, and because I carry architectural stuff, there’s people restoring their homes and doing furniture, up-cycling and that sort of things,” says Flett.
Steampunk art reflects Flett’s creative bent. He says hours of work – maybe 20 or 30 hours – goes into some of his creations. “That’s accumulated work, because I have to let the epoxy dry and then go back to it… I’m working on it over months.” You may find Flett’s steampunk online, on Etsy, for example.
Flett says he’s learned a lot about collecting and the antique sales business over the years. “You never learn everything; you’re constantly learning in this business.” He researches values and provenance (background on an item proving its origin) of collector items. “If you had a spoon and could prove that Queen Victoria used that in the morning for her porridge, that goes from a $10 spoon to a $100,000 spoon. So that history is important for some pieces.”
There’s lots of ‘dull moments’ he says of behind the scenes work that must be done to showcase the many items he collects. They may come to him at a bargain, but it's the sweat equity that makes them treasures
“There’s lots of work to do. You’ve got to wash and clean…. Not everything comes in pristine and ready for the shelf.”
Flett hopes rumours of a third such shop opening will materialize. “It would be great if there were three, four, five shops in Oak Lake. That makes it a destination for sure.”
He says, “With Dirty Word Customz (custom vehicles shop) it could mesh well with all of that. That’s what I hope happens in the next few years.”