Preteens find their place in Surrey’s ‘picking’ scene

SURREY – You know you’re a "picker" when…


You arrive at 7 a.m. for an 8 a.m. garage sale and skulk about on the sidewalk like some freaky stalker dude.


You trade your car for a pickup truck and season tickets to the local flea market.


You wear tats and/or cowboy hats and/or anything else that distinguishes you from the common horde, and then star in a TV series with the word "picker" in it.


Or you’re a seemingly normal 12-year-old girl living in Rosemary Heights.


It is here, in this generally conservative South Surrey neighbourhood, that young Lyric Kennedy goes about her daily routine.


A routine that, for the most part, wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. School, pre-teen dances, hanging out at the mall, a fascination with Katy Perry. And, because Facebook is apparently now so passé, Instagram.


Those kids and their Instagram.


But deep within Lyric’s soul – an "old soul" says her mom – lurks something far more unusual, far more…obsessive.


It is the desire to find, buy and obtain hidden treasures and (hopefully) re-sell those treasures for a profit. This is the essence of "picking," and Lyric’s got it bad.


At her home this Monday afternoon, Lyric sits with best buddy and picking co-conspirator Alyssa Martin, combing through some of their recent finds.


A musical jewelry box, a gargantuan old suitcase, an iron tray with a brick inside that, I’m told, was once used to warm cold feet. Over there are some miniature liquor bottles, right next to a metal milk jug and a decorative mirror.


Lyric is the arguably the more hardcore of the two. When asked if she thinks she’ll always be a picker, she responds with an immediate "Yes." Alyssa, conversely, isn’t so sure.


The 11-year-old makes no bones about it – she thinks she may have to put it behind her one day when she’s schooling to be an interior designer. Pretty heady talk for a girl still in elementary school.


Together, they’ve left few stones unturned in their quest for prime pickings. Garage sales, flea markets, pawn shops, recycling bins and, yes, even the dreaded "g" word.


And for good reason, explains the gregarious Lyric. "One day my friends and I were hanging out and they were like ‘Why are you going in the garbage?’ But I found this one painting and I went back home and wondered, ‘Who is this person?’ I looked on the Internet and we contacted him and said we have one of your paintings. He contacted us back and told me this is an original painting and it’s worth $1000."


Granted, heavy-duty scores like that are rare. Sometimes the search for buried treasure – which takes place every weekend for this dedicated duo – is futile. But even then, the day is usually salvaged.


"When we go to garage sales, we look in the free bin – if they have a free bin – and see if they have metal scraps or stuff like that that we can stick on our jewelry or other pieces, then we take it."


This weekend, Alyssa and Lyric will bring their finds and their creations with them when they operate their very own booth at the Cloverdale Agriplex’s Vintage and Revamped Furniture Market. It’s a big step forward for these two young entrepreneurs in a game dominated by much older veterans.


Doesn’t hurt that they both have such supportive parents. Though they don’t outright fund their kids’ hobby – preferring instead to let them fully experience both the ups and the downs of business – they do provide transportation and suggestions and a whole bunch of other perks.


This weekend, for example, the Agriplex booth promises to be fully decked out with mom-created signs and flags and assorted paraphernalia. And a donation tin for Sources Food Bank, too.


Time will tell if the pair will one day rule the picking roost, but right now it’s very much a labour of love. Lyric, who gravitated to it at the ridiculous age of four, and Alyssa, brought up in a home where picking was in before it was fashionable, adore what they do and seemingly live for the concept of vintage.


And in a throwaway world dominated by the mistaken need for the latest and the newest, that’s kinda nice, don’t you think?

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey bus driver tests positive for COVID-19

Routes he drove have not been disclosed

Surrey mayor denies property tax deferral motion

Councillor’s notice of motion for Surrey property taxes to be deferred until Dec. 2 out of order

Team refunds OK’d for cancelled Surrey Mayor’s Cup soccer tournament

The decision follows the amalgamation of the Central City Breakers club with Surrey Football Club

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read