Edmonton antique shop finds new life through young owner

You could call the new owner of an Edmonton antique shop an “old soul.” Mykel Lewsaw, 22, is now at the helm of the Rocky Mountain Antique Mall.

“A lot of people think I’m an employee,” Lewsaw laughed. “I know I’m young and one of the younger people in the business, but I think it should be for everybody.

“Everybody is looking for something.”

Staff said Lewsaw is clearly passionate about his work. He frequently pulls 15-hour days. When he’s not in the store, he travels around Western Canada to hunt for hidden gems.

“It’s not easy finding antiques. You have to be on your game. I put on 4,000 clicks a month trying to find stuff. It’s what I have to do to get new stock.”

Lewsaw typically travels between Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. He hopes to go to the United States to find new items after COVID-19.

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He started collecting antiques at 15 years old, when he found old tins on the family farm. He sold his wares online, while studying accounting for the past four years.

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He said the world of antiques has captured his heart, because of the love and time put into them.

“There was so much care put into [making] items back then. It’s built to last, it’s quality and it can be enjoyed,” Lewsaw said.

“I really like advertising signs. There was so much artwork put into signs back then.”

Mykel Lewsaw inside the Rocky Mountain Antique Mall in Edmonton, Alta.
Mykel Lewsaw inside the Rocky Mountain Antique Mall in Edmonton, Alta. Global News

When his favourite store in Alberta went up for sale — Lewsaw decided to take a risk.

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“This opportunity… it’s kind of once in a lifetime. I either take it or I don’t,” he said.

“I always had a passion for antiques. They say, ‘Do what you love,’ and this is what I love.”

Lewsaw said his savings from previous antique sales put him in a position to purchase the store.

“I saw the ad on Kijiji and I figured I would ask some questions. So I talked to the previous owners and it was something I was really interested in.”

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Edmonton antique business ready to call it quits after 3 burglaries in 6 months – Nov 17, 2020

He officially became the owner on Nov. 1. Former owner Arnie Loehr said the store was on the brink of closing.

“It was Nov. 1 that we were closing. That was because of our lease and with COVID-19 and the economic conditions… it was just the time to do it,” he said.

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He believes Lewsaw will welcome in a new base of customers.

“Over the years, when I see a young person buying something really old… I was really happy,” Loehr said. “I love seeing multiple generations come together.”

“We’ve changed the look of the space, we are also advertising on social media to get the word out,” Lewsaw said.

He hopes more people in Edmonton will stop by to enjoy the past.

“I think it should be for everybody. We have young people coming in the doors every day, all different types of people,” Lewsaw said.

The antique store is located at 7025 Gateway Blvd NW in the Old Strathcona area.

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