Selling an old life for new and used in Whitehorse

This week, Michael Bonnefoy bought furniture, antiques and a stolen chainsaw. The co-owner of Whitehorse's newest secondhand store had just paid cash for the saw when the phone rang.

This week, Michael Bonnefoy bought furniture, antiques and a stolen chainsaw.

The co-owner of Whitehorse’s newest secondhand store had just paid cash for the saw when the phone rang.

It was his old boss at Needful Things, calling to warn him about a guy trying to hock a hot chainsaw.

“He called us right after we bought it,” said Bonnefoy.

Needful Things keeps a list of more than 100 people it won’t buy from, and now, it’s going to share that list with the new guys at Mikes’ New and Used Emporium.

Bonnefoy took the job at Needful Things for “extra beer money,” when he was still working as a contractor.

Now his tools are for sale, lining rows of shelves in his new store.

“I’m all in,” he said.

The split from his former employer was amicable.

Needful Things “was turning away tonnes of stuff every day,” said Bonnefoy.

“So I knew there was room for two of us.”

When the Adult Warehouse shut down, Bonnefoy teamed up with his former brother-in-law, Mike Travill and Mikes’ New And Used took off.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bonnefoy was appraising some horseshoe candlesticks welded together into cowboys wielding branding irons.

Next to them was a blown flask encased in leather printed with an old world map.

“I Googled that,” said Bonnefoy.

“They’re going for $300.”

He knows he’s unlikely to get that price in Whitehorse.

So he’s thinking of putting his store online.

Challenge Community Vocational Alternatives, a non-profit that assists Yukoners with disabilities, might help Bonnefoy and Travill set up the online store.

Challenge is also making a billboard to advertise the new store on Fourth Avenue.

It should be ready soon, said Bonnefoy.

The store’s only been open a couple of weeks, but its shelves are already full of china, bronze moose, sports equipment, tools, new and used parkas, spotting scopes, pellet guns and instruments.

The room has retro couches, a 1970s Shinko organ with a whirring fan that helps sound the notes, dryers, stoves, bikes and a foosball table.

“I buy anything that will turn a profit,” said Bonnefoy.

But he doesn’t seek out treasures at the local Salvation Army Thrift Store, or the free stores.

“That would be a conflict,” he said.

However, if someone finds something at the free store and comes to sells it to Bonnefoy, he’s not adverse to making a deal.

“If someone can get some cash from something they found at the free store, I don’t care where it comes from,” he said.

Recently, his store bought a whole estate.

“Now we have to sort through it and find out what we bought,” said Travill.

He finds this hard.

“I get so engrossed in the stuff and want to keep it,” he said.

“And all the books, I want to read through them.”

Bonnefoy has buyer experience and Travill had the funds.

“I’m just learning,” said Travill.

The hot chainsaw was a valuable lesson.

Bonnefoy contacted the saw’s owner, after the call from Needful Things, and told him he could buy it back for what Bonnefoy paid for it, or they could go through the RCMP and insurance.

The saw’s owner opted for the first option, “because he needs the saw now and if he went through the RCMP it would take months.” (Turns out, the saw’s owner also knew the guy who stole it.)

Bonnefoy would like to see an online list of serial numbers for stolen items, something they have in the US.

But for now, the list he’s sharing with Needful Things will have to do.

Mikes’ New and Used Emporium also pawns items.

But mostly it buys goods outright.

“We are getting lots of calls from people before they put ads in the newspaper, because they’d rather sell to us, rather than have people traipsing through their house,” said Bonnefoy.

The Mikes also deal in DVDs.

“It’s a must; it’s steady traffic,” he said.

And if anyone wants some Elvis bellybutton jewelry, they have that too.

Mikes’ New and Used Emporium is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com

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