When Bruce McKenzie went to an antique auction more than 20 years ago he had no idea it would lead to a successful business, which has thrived in Northville Township for the last 16 years.
“I got into the antique business by breaking my knee skiing,” McKenzie said. “I was home and I had nothing to do and I saw an auction in the paper. I said to my girlfriend, Linda, who’s now my wife, why don’t we go to this auction? It looks like it might be fun. We went and I came home with a car full of stuff. After that, we just went to auctions for about three years. All we did was go on the weekends and buy stuff.”
Each antique he purchased was intriguing in its own way. He quickly found himself immersed in his new found hobby.
“I bought so much stuff. The auctioneers thought I was a dealer,” McKenzie said.
After setting up a spot in an antique mall that he later realized was poorly ran, the idea to open his own place came to mind.
“I said to my girlfriend, Linda, we can do this a lot better than this,” McKenzie said. “It wasn’t until we got married before I could talk her into doing it.”
Bruce’s wife Linda began looking for a place in her spare time, and eventually came across the perfect location for them. Sixteen years later, the Knightsbridge Antique Mall is home to two hundred dealers on twenty-six thousand square feet.
Over the years, Bruce has purchased items from many different customers – people in Northville and far beyond.
“People send their friends to me. I get relatives, daughters. It’s amazing how after 16 years, I’ve bought things from parents and now I’m buying things from their children,” McKenzie said.
He added, “I love what I do.”
Community groups also hire Bruce to come out to speak about antiques, answer questions and also appraise two items for each attendee. Regardless if there are only 20 people in the audience, or 150, he stays until everyone has had a chance to speak with him about their treasures. All the money he collects for these events goes to the American Cancer Society.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends to cancer,” McKenzie said. “My father died of cancer too, so that’s why I have a soft spot for the charity.”
Bruce enjoys giving back to the community. He uses his experience with identifying items of value- to find pieces he's sure will make a bigger profit for charity when they sell in his store.
“I go out when they’re having a rummage sale and I’ll go in [a few days before] and I’ll pick out things that I think I can sell for a lot more than they’ve got them marked” McKenzie said. “When I sell them, I give them 100% of what I sell it for. I do it for about ten churches and help the American Cancer Society, selling things through donations. I also do it for a program near my home called Community Sharing, who helps people that are down on their luck.”