Allan Blackburn column

Allan Blackburn.
Allan Blackburn.
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Everything at GB Antiques Centre has its own unique story, and that includes our customers.

I meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world, and in fact my best customers visit us all the way from Taiwan.

Mr Lee lives in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, where he owns a shop called “The British Warehouse”.

His shop stocks everything from British furniture to small British trinkets, which are becoming increasingly more fashionable across the Far East in places like Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

Mr Lee makes the 12,000 mile round trip to Lancaster twice a year, bringing his wife and young son along for the journey.

It’s always such a pleasure to welcome him to GB Antiques, as he’s always so enthusiastic about our stock.

Where we have some customers who visit us looking for particular pieces or items from a certain period, Mr Lee is interested in everything.

On his last visit he bought a staggering 150 pieces of furniture and 5,000 smalls.

The first time Mr Lee visited us he spent £7,000, and his latest visit saw him ordering £27,000 worth of stock.

Our job now is to store it, wrap it, label it and ship it, which will be about two filled containers.

This foreign trade has trebled in the last two years.

Historically, foreign trade has always been from the USA, but more recently this has been turned on its head with more trade coming from Asia.

Mr Lee says that GB Antiques is his favourite place, and he comes back as regularly as he can.

It’s all about the low prices for him.

The variety at the centre means he can get everything from under one roof leaving him free to spend the rest of the time here, taking a break and relaxing with his family.

He is brilliant at figures and can easily do the maths to convert our prices into New Taiwan Dollars.

He knows exactly what he can sell it for back home, and for how much.

It’s fascinating to think what new homes our pieces can go on to: even the chair you’re sitting on now could one day be half way around the world.