Do you remember all that stuff you used to find in grandma’s basement? A lot of those treasures are at The Pier Street Trading Post, a local antique store.
You wouldn’t think youths would be interested in old records or a Coca-Cola bottle from 1940. And yet, as an adolescent I can attest there’s historic, cultural and personal value to be gained through these items, and the teen-friendly places that sell them.
“It’s all about comfort,” says Bill Longtin, owner of The Trading Post.
The store is lined wall-to-wall with antique knickknacks inside what used to be Campbell River’s shipyard. It has become a hotspot for students between grades 8-12 with around 100 plus in and out each week.
“ [Youth] see what their parents saw in vintage items. Maybe they grew up with what their parents had, or their grandpa had. It’s something that’s familiar – it’s comforting. It’s family to them,” Longtin said.
He also made it clear our generation is socially conscious.
“They’re recycling when they’re here. They feel comfortable because none of this stuff hits the dump.”
The main appeal for most youth is the huge collection of records upstairs managed by Larry Mudge. I asked Mudge what it is that makes adolescents so romantic about vinyl. He knew right away – it’s about physicality.
“It’s like a smoking habit,” he said. “You pay money for [downloading a song] and it’s abstract. There’s nothing to show for it. You come here and for two bucks, you’ve got something to collect. Some records have wonderful pictures on them. And that’s only part of it.
“The other part is picking it up, putting it on, and feeling like you’re an active part of the music.”
Mudge went on to tell me about sound compression in digital files, sound wars on the radio, and collection habits. His point is, we go through phases, “Things live on.”
For youth, that may just be the appeal of the Trading Post. It’s neat to find nostalgia in something you’ve never owned, but heard about or seen in movies; or hear vinyl for the first time and finally listen to the music. It’s not just the stuff; it’s the environment too. It’s hard to find a store so full of memories, and cultural historians ready to give you a hands on lesson.
At The Trading Post youth are always welcome to dig.