New lease of life for second-hand shop
Saturday 16th March 2013, 10:00AM GMT.
WHEN you run Alderney’s second-hand shop, surprises come with the territory.
New owner Martin Smith, who formerly ran Alderney Marine, took over the Victoria Street shop last month and has been surrounded by goods ranging from the purely practical to the quaintly whimsical and even the downright bizarre ever since.
Current treasures nestling among the sofas, TVs, dressers and tables include a pair of home-made shoulder armour plates, a set of marker buoys – nautical objects seem to exert a strange appeal – and a bed pan.
At one point it looked like he would be including a set of pistols in that list.
‘I had a guy come in with what he thought were deactivated pistols,’ recalls Martin, pictured above. ‘Being an active member of the shooting club, I was interested to have a look at them and asked the States if I could handle them in a business capacity. But it turned out they weren’t deactivated and the seller had to traipse off to the States to get them registered.’
Martin took over the business looking for a new challenge after his long-term relationship ended at Christmas. He had heard that Ron Morton, the previous tenant, was shutting up shop.
‘That struck me as a shame. Firstly, because I bought stuff from the second-hand shop – there are things you just can’t get hold of on the island otherwise – and secondly, because it would mean so much more stuff, things that still had years more life in them, going to the Impot [the island’s waste-processing facility],’ he explained.
Martin is learning the different facets of the business on the job, but is relishing the variety it offers – not least in terms of the people who come through the doors.
‘I generally have new stuff in every couple of days, so there are always new products for people to browse. When people bring something in that is a little bit unusual, if I think I can offer it for sale at a bargain price then I will.’
He also juggles the job with being an on-call volunteer for Alderney’s St John Ambulance.
‘I’ve already had my pager go off when customers are in the shop and had to ask them to pull the door closed on their way out,’ he said. ‘Only in Alderney could you do that.’
Among his plans for the shop are Happy Wednesdays once a month, when selected items will be half price, and furniture auctions.
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