British Columbia

'Picker's paradise' map of second hand shops in East Kootenay a hit

Pawn shop owner Cub Lea was struck by how many businesses like his were selling antiques and other goods in the Cranbrook and Kimberley areas. To help those stores attract travelling treasure hunters, he made a map of all those stores.

18 pawn shops, second-hand stores and thrift shops in the Cranbrook and Kimberley areas featured on map

Downtown Cranbrook in East Kootenay. The number of secondhand stores in the area prompted the owner of one such store to create a map that has become a local hit. (Google Maps)

A "treasure map" made by a pawn shop in Cranbrook, B.C., is becoming quite a hit in the East Kootenay area.

Cub Lea, owner of the Great Canadian Garage Sale in Cranbrook, has created a map of what he calls "picker's paradise:" the 18 pawn shops, second-hand stores and thrift shops in the Cranbrook and Kimberley areas.

"I've lived across Canada, and I've never seen an area with so many second-hand, thrift and antique stores," Lea told Radio West host Audrey McKinnon.

"We get an awful lot of pass-through traffic in Cranbrook. A lot of truckers, seniors travelling with trailers, that sort of thing. How do we get them to pull over?

"It was a hit right off the top. I was really surprised."

Cub Lea's "Picker's Paradise" map has proven to be a hit in East Kootenay. (Cub Lea)

Lea says places like gas stations and motels are always answering questions about where to find antiques, and those places are exactly where his map is being distributed.

He says antiquing is a popular activity in East Kootenay, but sometimes not for ideal reasons.

"We're largely a bedroom community for the oil patch, and that's taken one hell of a hit lately. So there's a lot of people with a lot less money to spend," he said.

"A lot of us just have a lot less disposable income. We can't buy new as often as we'd like to."

Lea says he will keep printing his maps as long as shoppers keep picking them up.

With files from CBC Radio One's Radio West

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: 'Picker's paradise' map of East Kootenay second hand shops a hit