The Gleaner
Arts & LifeBusiness

Howick café offers customers a space to visit and find antique treasure

The term “honey hole” has a few very different meanings, but for “pickers,” or antique dealers, it can mean a location or place that contains items of value. It is also the name of a small antique shop and café nestled in the sleepy town of Howick. For the owner, David Bergevin, the store is his dream realized. He has been a collector for 15 years, ever since he started to buy at flea markets and sell online. Early on, Bergevin realized that he missed contact with people: “I always wanted to have a little store. I didn’t like selling online. I prefer [dealing with] people. … You can show them stuff; it’s better than reading messages.”

David Bergevin was born and raised in Howick. His parents have lived 40 years in the town. He attended school there and then went to college in Montreal, but he soon returned to his hometown. When COVID hit, the stars seemed to align. His cousin owned a 1500-square-foot building on the main street in Howick, and Bergevin recalls that his cousin said to him, “If you want to do something here, it’s the time right now.” Bergevin started to renovate the space, pouring his love of history and antiques into the building.

With the help of friends, he worked for almost two years to complete the renovation. From the floor to the roof the building was stripped down, leaving only the seven block walls and the windows. “All the rest is new, but ‘old-new’,” he explains. The ceiling is a patchwork of collected ornate ceiling panels. Bricks from the old Domtar factory in Beauharnois cover one wall; Bergevin sliced them in half to cover the wall behind the cash. A wall that appears to be shiplap is actually covered with the planks of an old fence.

 

The blackboard menu announces coffee and ice cream sandwiches PHOTOS Yvonne Lewis Langlois

 

During the renovations, Bergevin continued working – but his job of 15 years began to take its toll on his health, and he decided to walk away from it, leaving his career and his pension. He made the decision to devote himself fully to his passion: antiques.

Over the years Bergevin had filled a 1500-square-foot garage with various items: he had been collecting for years and buying sellable items with his future store in mind. He also educated himself on antiques: reading books, joining different antique groups, and attending shows, but he feels that “picking” is just something you “know.” He says, “It’s a gut feeling… If I like it, I’m pretty sure someone else will like it.” He keeps his prices reasonable, because “I want people to have something cool that doesn’t cost too much.”

Out and about

This summer Bergevin has been far and wide, travelling around different antique shows and flea markets, adding to his own collection, and bringing back new inventory for the store. “Every day I come [to the store] I want to bring something new,” he says. His Facebook page announces the week’s finds on Thursdays, and people can message him to reserve things that catch their eye.

He regularly attends the flea market in Lachute, where he meets up with other vendors to do some deals before the public arrives. “I sleep in my van, and they knock at five o’clock in the morning.” This has been a tradition at Lachute for almost 70 years; it is a well-known place for “pickers” to meet up. Bergevin has made many friends there and has learned a lot from the other vendors. “I like meeting people who collect cool things. You learn stuff there all the time.”

Bergevin also attends local auctioneer Randall Finnegan’s auctions, and he gets many visits from people who are selling heirlooms. “This job is not ‘work’. It’s a different lifestyle,” he states.

The store

The Honey Hole has a rustic charm and is nostalgic for Howick residents as it showcases many familiar Howick articles. The bar from the demolished village tavern, The Lantern, has found a new home there, as have the pews from a Howick church. Some countertops are made from The Lantern’s floor. A collection of Chateauguay Valley Antique Association Magazines dates from 1975: “People can come here and read. That’s why I wanted coffee here… I wanted to have a little place where people can come and meet, and have a coffee, and talk.”

 

I want this to work But I have no dream to make this big says Bergevin Various antiques are on display PHOTOS Yvonne Lewis Langlois

 

As the summer heat rolled in, the Honey Hole expanded to offer ice cream sandwiches from Walkers in Sainte-Martine and Chateauguay. The first day, Bergevin ordered 100 for the weekend and by Friday’s end he had sold 80. They have proved to be a popular addition.

David Bergevin has found his niche in Honey Hole. He says, “Selling is fun, but the greatest thing is the find!” – spoken like a true “picker”!

The shop is open from noon until 5 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For updates on new inventory, visit the Facebook page at Honey Hole, or Instagram at honey_hole.

Latest stories

Skating and scales in Hemmingford!

The Gleaner

This & That in Town February 7, 2024

The Gleaner

From The Gleaner Archives February 7, 2024

The Gleaner

Leave a comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
LinkedIn
Instagram
WhatsApp