Barns, cottages and sheds full of treasures are hiding throughout rural Ontario and the hosts of Backroad Bounty are itching to find them and pick through the treasures within.
The Cottage Life TV show, starring Marty Gebel and Peter “Bam-Bam” Bamford, has just been renewed for a second season. The men were already friends before they became the focus of the show that has them touring the countryside, meeting regular folks who have amassed collections of antiques and assorted old junk.
Although they’re not total opposites, they’re certainly not alike. With his bushy beard and ever-present hat, Bam-Bam is a collector of things “with history and style” who is just starting to part with some of his wares. He hunts for what he calls Bamtiques, also the name of his business and website. If a piece is too precious or fragile, he’ll take a pass.
“If I can’t throw it in the back of the van without it breaking, I’m not interested. I’m sure porcelain plates and cups are important to someone, but I don’t want them.”
Gebel, a self-described regular guy, has been in the antique picking and dealing business his whole life. He has had retail stores and sells on Etsy and elsewhere online under the name, Modern Hipster Antiques. He says they’re both prepared when they go out to pick.
“We have our wish lists. I like early medical items. I like mid-century furnishings and I like scientific things and old country home furniture and things like that. Just a real eclectic mix of everything.”
Like true pals, they’ll point out each others’ most-desired gems but when their tastes merge, Marty admits their competitive natures come out.
“We both go after certain types of toys, advertising and guy stuff.”
There’s no need for borderline hoarders to worry about organizing their junk and treasures before the Backroad Bounty crew arrives. Gebel says they thrive on the thrill of discovery regardless of how much effort it takes.
“We climb around like monkeys. We don’t care how dirty we get or how hot it is, it’s great.”
Antique dealers need not apply because that’s not what the show’s about. And anyone hoping to squeeze them for all they’re worth will be disappointed. They need wiggle room on an item’s cost so they can make a profit on their finds because, after all, this is how they make a living. As long as sellers are reasonable, they can usually shake hands on a deal. Sometimes, they’ll have their eyes on an item that the owner can’t let go of, no matter how long they’ve neglected or forgotten it. But Gebel says they have no worries about running out of items.
“The baby-boomers are retiring and their parents are passing on. So there’s two generations that are getting rid of a lot of stuff. And we’re prepared to take it off their hands.”
While production ramps up for season two, Cottage Life TV is rerunning season one’s shows and the station is on a free trial until May 16th. Bam-Bam says Backroad Bounty is now seen in half-a-dozen foreign lands.
“We’re getting friend requests and followers every day from Russia, Poland, Italy – the show airs in those countries and several others.”
Adds Gebel, “We’ve seen it narrated in another language but we haven’t seen anyone dub our voices yet. That would be just weird.”
If you’ve decided it’s finally time to rid yourself of the mish-mash of clap-trap and gems that you’ve amassed over the years, and it’s stored outside city limits, contact the show through the Backroad Bounty Facebook page or Cottage Life TV. But be prepared to sell because these guys are ready to buy.
published in the London Free Press