Veteran Kiwi actor calls a wrap on his decades old antiques store

Amy Baker/Stuff

Veteran Kiwi actor Bruce Allpress' antiques store in Albany will soon be shutting its doors for good.

There's crystal, dinner plates, Trump caps and everything in between. Aucklanders are flocking from far and wide for their last look at an North Auckland antiques store, run by veteran Kiwi actor Bruce Allpress.

It's the end of an era, or rather, the "end of an ear" in playspeak, for the shop that's been a fixture on Albany Hill for the past 35 years.

Allpress, 87, who once shared the big screen alongside Billy T. James in Came A Hot Friday, ran the shop in conjunction to his acting career. He's now selling everything - or almost everything - in preparation for a move to a slightly quieter lifestyle.

When asked if he was nostalgic about his antiques store, Bruce Allpress laughed and said he "couldn't wait" to wrap ...
Amy Baker

When asked if he was nostalgic about his antiques store, Bruce Allpress laughed and said he "couldn't wait" to wrap things up.

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He purchased the house on Albany Hill in the early 1980s, keen to get away from the rukus of Ponsonby life.

The space which is now the shop, was added a couple of years later - initially destined as an area to hold acting workshops, or a glass blowing studio, or as a temporary home for any one of his five children should they ever need it.

Thousands of items are marked down in the sale.
Amy Baker

Thousands of items are marked down in the sale.

Then, fate intervened when a mortgage payment was due.

"I looked around and I thought, 'I've got all these paintings', and I painted this crude sign saying, 'Antiques, paintings, bric-a-brac', and put it outside," Allpress said. 

"People came inside, they thrust money at me, and I thought, 'Hang about'.

Allpress' sense of humour is evident in his caps - designed before the most recent US election.
Amy Baker

Allpress' sense of humour is evident in his caps - designed before the most recent US election.

"And like Topsy, it grewed [sic]."

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Frequenting auctions and garage sales, Allpress' business soon thrived, with the flexibility allowing him to take time off for an acting job whenever he needed. 

During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the actor found work on television series and film alike, such as 70s soap opera Close to Home and the lead role of a maverick musterer and rural jack-of-all-trades in Jocko.

Daughter Anna Allpress said it was amazing to see who had "come out of the woodwork" for their last shop.
Amy Baker

Daughter Anna Allpress said it was amazing to see who had "come out of the woodwork" for their last shop.

He appeared in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in 2002 as Aldor, a man of Rohan. He also ran a textile business, Roxz.

Daughter Anna Allpress said it had been touching to see how many customers, including a couple from Thailand, had come "out of the woodwork" to say goodbye.

"A lot of people are coming up to see Dad or to buy their last bit. It's been really heart-warming."

The shop, which has been on Albany Hill for 35 years, will be closing on May 6.
Amy Baker

The shop, which has been on Albany Hill for 35 years, will be closing on May 6.

As her parents separated when she and her siblings were young, the shop also provided a connection to their father. 

"It's always been dad's place, but it was always a place we knew we could come."

Meanwhile, Allpress said he might be expected to feel nostalgic about closing the shop, but "couldn't wait" for everything to wrap up. 

"It's end of an era, or as I had to say in a play, 'It's the end of an ear.'"

Albany Hill Cottage Antiques can be found at 310 Dairy Flat Highway, Albany. It will be open until May 6. 

 - North Harbour News

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