A Chemainus business well-known to the community and beyond through the efforts of Liz Fincham and Jeff Knadle has changed hands.
Magpies Antiques and Gifts has been purchased by Cath Scanlan of The Blue Orchard, another business owner within The Public Market in Chemainus, as of the end of April, with opening day on May 3. Husband Steve has his own enterprise, but is very much a part of the business that now occupies five booths of space within the market.
Some elements of Magpies will remain, Scanlan said. That includes such things as cards, food, handbags, jewelry, vintage china and vintage furniture.
“People who still want the Magpies experience can come and will still have it,” Scanlan added. “I’m going to make it mine, take what’s been built up over the years, put my stamp on it and take it forward.”
Fincham and Knadle had Magpies for eight years, starting at its previous location on Willow Street after they met at the antique mall where Fincham was the manager at the time.
Opening Magpies coincided with taking over British All-Sorts from the previous owner.
“That’s how we got into the candy,” said Fincham. “We decided to go big or go home. We started to bring lots more selection in and it’s really taken off. That’s why it was important we got British people to take it over. I kind of put some feelers out about six months ago.”
Scanlan provided the answer from practically right on the doorstep of Magpies to make it an easier transition.
“I was wanting to retire again,” said Fincham. “When I took over Willow, it was too much for me. When Cath said she was interested, I said ‘that’s the one.’”
The English connection can be found throughout many products that have been big sellers and popular at Magpies.
“We have exclusive cards from England,” noted Fincham. “They’re a big success. They just sell themselves.”
One lady from New Zealand buys $300 worth of cards every year.
“You get people from all over the place who buy a stack of cards,” added Fincham.
Her son bought the Willow Antique Mall building in December of 2020 and gifted the antique store to her. That created a bit of a dilemma that led to Magpies being available.
“It is a lot when you’ve got two very busy businesses,” Fincham conceded. “It’s been hard for us to give it up.”
Scanlan opened the Blue Orchard that features home decor, furniture artistry and custom designs in June 2020. “We weren’t in retail before,” she noted.
Being in the vicinity of Magpies, “we thought we really would like that business when Liz retires and she never does,” Scanlan laughed.
“We feel ideally placed. We know British foods. I wanted to expand in another direction. It was a gift really. How could I say ‘no’?”
Fincham had plans to retire and then COVID hit. “I want to get smaller, but this is a great opportunity for me to maybe get smaller and retire in a few years.”
Knadle ran the Willow Antique Mall for 19 years. Fincham managed it for five years after Knadle turned the business over to Bill Jameson.
”Jeff and I have both been running both locations since my son bought me the business,” added Fincham.
They will continue to work at Willow Antique Mall on a casual basis. They’ve hired Anya Brewer as their manager.
Antiques from Magpies were packed up and taken over to the mall.
Scanlan will be leaving that aspect of the business to Fincham and Knadle. “There’ll be vintage items, but I’m not going into antiques,” she reiterated.
“I really want her to succeed,” said Fincham. “I can’t see any reason she wouldn’t.”