Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 04 May 2010 19:07
Marion Ogden, 63, known to friends as “Oggie,” and Dennis Maggard, 61, are in the same business of collecting old relics, but just on a smaller scale.
While Fritz and Wolfe travel from coast to coast, Ogden and Maggard limit their travels to Kansas and to a three- to five-state radius.
At many of their stops, though, Wolfe and Fritz can usually find a lot of things to buy.
That wasn’t the case in Marion, though.
“It’s tough to pick from a picker,” Ogden said. “They don’t do anything different than we do.”
Yet the “American Pickers” duo didn’t go home empty-handed.
“They bought a (cigarette) smoke stand and a wall-mounted telephone box for $75.”
The show, which airs on the History Channel, is about two men who meet with collectors, hoarders, amateur historians and others.
They hunt for stuff that might otherwise be gone forever, and they enjoyed the chance to meet two other pickers.
Ogden wasn’t sure exactly when Marion’s segment would air, but thought it might be in a couple of months.
A total of nine people from the show spent six hours at the old alfalfa mill, north on Walnut Street, where Ogden and Maggard store some of their antiques.
Other than a few people, the four pickers were able to enjoy each other’s company and tell stories about their travels.
Like their national counterparts, Ogden said he and Maggard buy in bulk or from individuals. They might buy one or two pieces. They go to auctions, garage sales, estate sales or even knock on doors to buy items.
After more than 17 years in the picking business, though, Ogden said it’s getting tougher to harvest items.
“You can only pick up so much stuff harvesting a field before you need to replant again. “Not much planting is going on (out there).”
And yet Ogden and Maggard continue to buy and sell every day.
“It is fun and we are both full of energy,” Ogden said.
Their motto is to “buy low and sell low,” and they enjoy meeting all kinds of people.
About 10 years ago, they opened the store on Main Street in Marion. The idea for Bearly Makin’ It, came about with the tearing down of Bear Alignment in Marion.
“A guy was going to throw away the sign that had a bear on top of the store.”
Later, he showed the sign to Maggard, who was excited about selling it. Ogden said he wasn’t going to sell the sign, but rather told his friend that someday they were going to open an antique business.
Everyone laughed at the time, but in 2000 they opened the store, and the bear has again found a home on top of the building.
During the remodeling phase of the old grocery store on Main Street, Ogden said he and Maggard started looking at architectural items. They now have about 300 doors, bunches of windows and screens, more than 100 porch posts, door knobs and more.
“I don’t take inventory,” he said. “We buy to sell.”
Although Ogden said he likes to stay organized, sometimes people will find things he forgot about. That’s one of the main reasons he and Maggard have many people working with them.
Those people include Mary Olson and Ruth Herbel, who take calls and sort through much of the inventory. Others go through items and help take care of the seven sites, depending on what a buyer might be looking for.
A retired teacher and basketball and volleyball coach, Ogden offered his advice on running a successful business.
“Successful coaches,” he said, “surround themselves with good, knowledgeable people.
“Successful businesses also surround themselves with good, knowledgeable and friendly people.”
In 1993, when he started he business, he asked Maggard if he would be interested in helping him.
“It was 50-50, and we began with one deal, then another and another, and it just expanded from there,” Ogden said.
Both men still have full-time jobs, too. Maggard works for the county, and Ogden works in Wichita selling equipment for his brother.
Although many of their customers are dealers or antique store owners, Ogden wants individuals to know they are welcome, too.
Bearly Makin’ It is one store that can boast it sells more merchandise with the doors closed rather than open.
“We are trying to set up a Web site so more people can find us,” Ogden said.
In the meantime, he can probably tell you if he has something someone is looking for and he’s always willing to negotiate.