Time and tide waits for no one. But at Sampsons Antique Co on Beach Grove Road you can experience a bit of both, perusing the timeless antiques just steps from the tides of Boundary Bay.
Robert and Brittany Sampson moved to Sunny Tsawwassen from Victoria in 2013, looking to start a new business. The two grew up on the island but had decided they wanted to move to Beach Grove, a quiet and quaint community that has grown from a cottage destination for Vancouverites into a year-round home for families and local business owners.
"We just wanted a change," recalls Robert. "There are better opportunities over here in the Lower Mainland. We wanted to have a business that has potential to grow."
They were walking their dog one day and came upon a "for rent" sign in the window of the Beach Grove Cafe. The opportunity spawned an idea for the two, who had always wanted to run their own antique business. And given the fact they lived nearby, there was no way they could beat the commute.
Robert and Brittany grew up living around antiques, so they had some knowledge of the industry going in. Combined with their love of travel, they have spent the better part of the last five years expanding and improving their inventory, while finding new connections to antiques and collectibles.
"It's always a hunt to try to find quality items and interesting pieces that people want to buy," says Robert, adding they get new stock in every week. "It's challenging but it's a lot of fun."
The couple started with basic furniture items but have since focused more on estate jewellery and collectibles, selling everything from traditional antiques to mid-century modern pieces that can be functional, decorative or purely fine art.
Robert says an antique is generally defined as something being between 85 and 100 years or older, although in recent years there has been more interest in Art Deco pieces from the Roaring Twenties and Dirty Thirties.
A graduate of the Gemological Institute of America, Robert uses a gemological microscope to help authenticate and confirm the authenticity of incoming diamonds and gemstones and can determine the clarity grades. That attention to detail helps in appraising his other antiques.
"There are certain things you look for in terms of determining age and where the item was originally from. We look at the hardware on the piece, what kind of screws were used, the overall design of the piece, the age of the wood, and many other things can factor into what we determine as the value."
As an antique store in Tsawwassen the Sampsons have a unique business, but making it even nicer is their proximity to the Beach Grove Cafe. Although both businesses are away from the uptown shops and spas where most of the foot traffic in Tsawwassen is located, the beach and golf course bring plenty of passersby to Beach Grove.
"It's a good combination. We really love having the cafe next door because a lot of the time people will come in for a coffee and see us. Maybe they've never seen us before and they'll come in and check it out. And vice versa. People will come here looking for antiques and go next door for a coffee."
You can easily find Sampsons Antique Co by travelling east on 12 th Avenue and turning left on Beach Grove Road before the bend leading into Boundary Bay Regional Park.