MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM — People looking for vintage items should visit The Antique Abbey in Mortlach, where they will find many objects that have been purchased and handed down over the decades and centuries.
Business owner Gloria Bakke opened the shop in July 2020 in the former United Church, located at 203 Rose Street adjacent to the road leading into the village.
The business sells large furniture pieces — like a solid walnut hall bench and solid walnut cabinet — and small items, such as copper water jugs, copper tankards, candelabra and glassware.
When the church was put up for auction, one sale stipulation was that the new owners had to do something with the building that would benefit the community while keeping the structure intact.
Bakke jumped to purchase the former church because she had just retired and was looking for something creative to do in her downtime. She was already interested in antiques, as she and her husband possessed several items, so they thought it would be great to open this type of business to everyone in the area.
The couple purchased the building, painted the outside, renovated the upstairs and began landscaping. Bakke’s husband purchased all the fir beams from the town’s former grain elevator after it was torn down and used them inside the church.
Meanwhile, they added planks to the walls and kept the original flooring because it had character.
Almost everyone who comes into the building loves the new renovations, feedback that Bakke says is nice to receive because of how well they have preserved the structure. She pointed out that the fir beams and posts are holding the walls together and protecting the building’s structural integrity.
Acquiring antiques occurred slowly over the years for Bakke. She was always interested in collecting furniture — not Ikea-branded — that was nice, good-quality and unique and was made with love instead of being mass-produced.
She has been finding more well-made items because she and her husband regularly travel, including to older regions of the United States. While they still collect items in Canada, they find interesting items south of the border.
Meanwhile, the business has evolved during the past three years. Bakke originally began buying furniture and repainting and refinishing items before she switched to acquiring older, better-quality pieces that are difficult to find around Moose Jaw.
Some of Bakke’s favourite pieces that she has collected include a hand-carved English hutch from the 1700s and a hand-made hunter’s cabinet from the 1800s. In store, some favourite items include another hunter’s cabinet and hall benches with mirrors.
The Antique Abbey is open in the spring and summer Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Winter visits are by appointment only.
Bakke can be reached at 306-381-4685 or through the shop’s Facebook page.