If the saying “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” holds true, then there are treasures upon treasures to be had at milepost 203-133 Hwy 101 at Sappho. That is the location of The Junkyard Dogs Trading Post where the proprietor Gary “Biff” Lesure has amassed treasures from floor to ceiling. Anyone who stops to treasure hunt also will be treated to the world according to Biff. For my sister and I, a trip to Biff’s on Mother’s Day is a family tradition.
Biff began his dreams of owning a junk store when he was around the age of six. He recalls his love for digging up old bottles and other items from the old dump at the Sappho logging camp. But before his dream could come true he would have to go to school and then he began his employment at a local shingle mill.
One day he quit the shingle mill and told his Dad “I am opening an antique store.” With $300 and a bunch of old bottles, he started a small business on Burnt Mountain Road. Then in 1997, he started his big operation at its current location. When asked where does he get all this stuff? He replied, “ it comes from all over.” There are items from every state and many foreign countries, it is really quite amazing. Biff has also “remodeled” over the years making even more space for more stuff.
Of course, Biff has his regular customers but many treasure hunters are simply driving by when they spot his famous half-price sale sign along the highway. When asked when his half-price sales are he said “Whenever I feel like it.” I have actually been in the store when Biff has proclaimed with a yell, “it’s half-price for anybody from Forks day.”
When I asked another customer who was searching for her own treasure if she was a regular she said she was. She said she had been coming to Biff’s for years and usually brought her kids and let them pick out things for themselves. She commented that she especially enjoyed Biff’s bantering about his current status with the ladies. That is where the world according to Biff part comes in. Along with shopping customers receive some interesting views on many topics.
A few things to remember if going shopping at Biff’s:
There is no heat, well there is a wood stove, but it is a big building, dress warmly if it is cold outside.
Allow enough time, you really should go through three times, once looking up, once at eye level and once looking down. Although you still will not see it all.
Bring a flashlight if you really want to see everything. Although one time I think I saw a mouse.
Biff’s is a true treasure-hunting adventure. Nice antique stores are fun too but when you find something good at Biff’s you really have a feeling of accomplishment.
On the last Mother’s Day trip, my sister found a large green bottle and three oil cans. On a past shopping adventure, I bought a rotary dial telephone for my niece because she had not seen one before and a mint-vintage Betty Crocker cookbook from 1950.
As we made our purchases that day, Biff set two pieces of firewood, headed for the wood stove, on the counter and said “I want people to have a good time in my shop.” Then he added, “For me, it’s not about making money, it’s about having fun and doing what you like.”
So while we all continue to look for treasure, maybe it is Biff who has really found it?
Christi Baron, Editor