More than 10,000 Things and Stuff in Bowser
Perched along the old Island highway, Bowser's hallmark antique store brims with things and stuff.
Which is why the store's name, Things and Stuff Furniture, is so fitting.
"It seemed natural," said owner Valerie Williams-Parkins, of the name.
She remembers how the name came about while chatting with friends at a party in Victoria.
"We were just talking and I said, 'I think I'm going to move up Island and just sell things and stuff.'" she said. "By the next morning it had been decided."
And on Jan. 7, the store celebrated its 6th year in business and Williams-Parkins couldn't be happier.
She estimates Things and Stuff has more than 10,000 items, old and new.
The business sells almost anything you can think of, and what it doesn't have in-store Williams-Parkins said she will track down for you.
She has customers write down items they want on what she calls a "wish list."
"If you're looking for something I'll find it," she said, noting she is always on the look-out for her client's wish list items.
The most obscure request she recalled was the Moods Readers Digest Record Collection.
"I remember thinking I'd never be able to find it," she said. "And on our next buying trip I came across the collection in an antique store in Hope. I bought it for $2 and I was floored."
Williams-Parkins has always considered herself "an eccentric collector," part of the reason she finds Things and Stuff instinctual.
"I'm the baby of eight children so just my place in family and life had me a collector," she said. "And even today my brothers and sisters all help feed the shop."
Additionally, Williams-Parkins purchases one estate-sale per year from a Qualicum Beach law firm, where she said, "we literally sell every single thing thats in the house from the fridge and stove to the jewellery box."
Most recently, she won a bid for the Executive House Hotel.
But her favorite part of the business is the clientele.
"Unique things and unique people go hand in hand," she said. "And the beauty of Bowser is that it's a real family community." And in an effort to give back to the community, Williams-Parkins donates half of the funds from her "scrap metal drop off bin" to a local charity.
"I always start off the hot lunch program at Bowser Elementary with a donation," she said, noting other recipients as the Legion, the Lighthouse Community Hall and Bow Horne Bay fire department.
Though Things and Stuff may look modest from the outside, the store itself has six rooms in the front building and five rooms in the furniture house out back. It also has an outdoor lot filled with old wood stoves, bikes and other outdoor retail. The interior is flushed with unique paintings, vintage chairs, more than 2,000 books, typewriters, clocks, clothes, kitchen supplies and fresh baked cookies among the many novelties.
Things and Stuff is located at 6881 Island Highway. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For inquires call 250-757-8815, e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by.