Apart from the precious antiques, Rolfe also has an arsenal of exciting stories he's collected over the years and he's yet to hang up his trading cap.
It may seem like any other antique shop around the corner, in a small town, run by a layman. But the story behind Rolfey's antique shop is as unique and awe-inspiring as the items he collects and sells. You see, this little shop was the result of a cancer patient's last wish.
When you're hit with the news of a life-threatening disease and told you have just a few months to live, it can make you question a few things. All the things you could have done and always wanted to do, the possibilities of which are cut short by a deadline that seems to be written in stone. It was no different for David Rolfe, who was first diagnosed with cancer over 23 years ago, the Mirror reported. And that's when he decided to turn a life-long dream into a reality.
Now 65 years old, Rolfe was first diagnosed with cancer in 1995 with Hodgkin lymphoma. The disease doesn't allow an individual to live for too long, let alone make long-term plans. The former DJ knew that he had very little time and decided to establish his life-long dream of opening an antique shop. Within two years, Rolfe set up his dream antique shop called Rolfey’s in Wellsway, Somerset.
What could come of spontaneously setting up your dream? For Rolfe who was loved by his community, it was a success over the past 22 years of setting up his shop. “I have always been interested in antiques, collecting things and ‘junk’ and I wanted to end my days in an antique shop," he told in an interview with Somerset Live. “I did not think I had much time left after contracting cancer. I have lived for about 20 years longer than I thought I would." However, every dream has a backstory.
Rolfe was tackling two problems at the same time, taking on one after the other. Despite battling his uncommon cancer which affected his lymphatic system, he also had to deal with the opposition of the neighborhood who were not fond of an antique shop opening up in their area.
Rolfe adds, “When we first opened in 1997, I received two letters from local residents who were not too happy about the antique shop opening. The letters said how this street was not the right street for my business and that it did not need a ‘junk shop’." This only fueled his determination further to make his dream reality.
Rolfe battled cancer over the years, going through painful treatments until he fought off the life-threatening disease completely. At the same time, he also managed the antique shop, gathering antiques from private collectors, individuals, and auctions. Over the years, his business not only picked up but has grown into a successful hit in his community.
Rolfe learned more about the secrets behind antiques and trading over the years, acquiring every bit of information that brought his antique shop success. His passion for all things antique has a sweet beginning that connects to his granny.
Rolfe's grandmother had a stall in at Birmingham market several years ago where he developed his passion for collecting items of value since he was a child. “We have owned antiques from kings, queens, and paupers too. It has been a remarkable 21 years and a bit years. I could never have imagined that we would grow into being what we have become.”
After the first diagnosis in 1995, the disease finally subsided two decades later, and Rolfe has never been happier. "You never know if it is completely gone, but leaving the hospital for my last bit of treatment around 20 years after I was diagnosed with it was a good and surreal feeling."
However, Rolfe's life-long dream slowly came to an end on January 26, 2019, when he planned to shut down the store permanently. Due to difficulties in the industry and rising overhead costs, Rolfe had to say goodbye to the masterpiece he created. "Antiques are unfortunately falling out of fashion. People sometimes donate their items to charity shops instead of us and TV shows have not helped us either," Rolfe said. "You need to constantly reinvent yourself and find eye-catching items to put in your shop window. The more outrageous the better. Bath used to be the prime location for antiques in the southwest, now it is a very tough industry indeed."
It was a great end to an era and he couldn't have done it without help from his great team of workers and their support. Even the people and the community played a huge role in his life, helping the store establish itself. "It has been a remarkable 21 years and a bit years. I could never have imagined that we would grow into being what we have become," he said.
Rolfe has an arsenal of exciting stories he's collected over the years and he's yet to hang up his trading cap. Rolfe's had a joyride over the years and is only grateful for everything that his life has given him up to date. "The job is the best job in the world. I absolutely love it. I will not stop, I enjoy it too much. This is not the end for me, I want to carry on," he shared.