ARTS

End of an antique era

AFTER 14 years as a Denmark landmark, the town’s antique shop will close on April 30 because its owner has been whisked off her feet.

“I’ve met this wonderful man who lives four hours away and my next birthday I’ll be 70, so I think it’s time I had some time for me,” Jan Bowen confided on Monday.

“The shop was started by my son-in-law Troy and daughter Rosalie 14 years ago.

“Then I took it over and I’ve been running it for nine years.”

Denmark antique store
Fern Robinson, Jan Bowen and Janelle Shaw enjoy a well-earned cuppa. Photo: Chris Thomson

Ms Bowen said she had “loved” running Denmark Antiques, Books and Collectables at 5 Mount Shadforth Road, and “met some wonderful people”.

“The shop was started by my son-in-law Troy and daughter Rosalie 14 years ago.

“I’d just like to say ‘thank you’ to all the local people who’ve supported us, and people from Mount Barker, Albany and Walpole as well who’ve come in,” she said.

“And then there’s people that come down from Perth regularly and they’ve become good customers.”

Fern Robinson, who has worked at the shop for five years, said some customers had become quite emotional of late.

“I had a man in his 70s who actually teared up when he learned the shop was closing,” she said. 

“He said the shop is partly the reason he comes down every year with his wife to Denmark, to go through and see all the connection to the local area and its past.”

And Ms Robinson said celebrity visitors were not unheard of in Denmark’s den of antiquity.

“We had Bob Geldof in here the other day and he bought a really interesting item,” she revealed. 

“It was a hand-carved, wooden purse from Indonesia, and it was one of those things that many people would pick up and go: ‘What’s this thing?’. 

“But he just bought it.”

Selling the purse to Sir Bob was Ms Robinson’s colleague Janelle Shaw who has worked at the shop for about 12 months.

“He didn’t really talk much at all, to be honest,” Ms Shaw said.

“He looked around the shop a lot.

“He was very tall and slim, with wild hair.”

The purse had been on the shelf for a year, which Ms Bowen said was not unusual.

“We’ve had some things in here for years,” she added.

“And sometimes things will be on the counter, and they haven’t even been priced, and a customer will say: ‘I want it’.

“It’s a matter of being the right item for the right person.”

In the wind-down to April 30, there will be no sale at the shop.

“The value of the things here is very, very good,” Ms Bowen said.

“In Perth, the items would probably sell for two, three times more.”

Making herself scarce when The Voice of the South dropped by was Sparkles the shop cat, 9, who as a kitten was rescued from the bush not long after Ms Bowen took over the store.

“She’s coming with me,” Ms Bowen said.

“She gets a bit grumpy sometimes if she gets patted too much.

“Under the chin’s fine, on the back, mm-mm [cat-speak for ‘no’].”

Alas for Easter visitors, the shop’s Devonshire tea room, where until recently historic cups and saucers were employed to serve visitors, will be closing too. And Ms Bowen has served her last home-made scone in the distinctive mock Tudor shop.

After April 30, about 70 per cent of the shop’s stock will go back to its owners, on whose behalf Ms Bowen had displayed antiques. 

She said she would pack up the remaining 30 per cent, mainly books, and run a market stall once a month at her new home in the Bunbury area.

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