Multigenerational passion for antiquing leads to new business, Marysville Blast From The Past

Marysville resident Alex Martin has turned his childhood passion into a career with his new business, Marysville Blast From The Past.

Alex Martin (left) with his grandfather and daughter.
Running his antique store with items from years gone by, Martin takes other people’s junk and helps it become someone else’s newfound treasures, an interest he learned during his childhood from his grandfather, Ron Brown.

Martin fondly recalls his childhood, especially cherishing the memories of frequenting the local flea markets with his grandfather, who made a living buying and selling items that he found. Affectionately nicknamed “The Chicken Man,” Brown also sold chickens and the pair often visited bird and game shows together.

“We had a special relationship and spending time with him was one of the best parts about growing up,” Martin says.

Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, Martin began selling his own flea market finds at a young age, operating out of his garage and online sales at 7 years old. Later, he began renting space at antique shops and flea markets before eventually deciding to turn the interest passed down to him from his grandfather into a full-time business.

Located on Gratiot Boulevard, Marysville Blast From The Past opened in August and offers a collection of what Martin refers to as “man cave kind of stuff” including various collector’s items, vintage advertising signs and toys, coin collections, taxidermy, and much more.

“It doesn’t feel like a job,” he says. “I never know who will walk in the door of my store, or who I’m going to meet when I walk in a barn.”

Martin says he spends a lot of time in people’s barns and has even been known to stop and knock on doors asking if he can look through their unwanted items.

“I look for what I call the rusty gold,” he says, describing the discovery of old oil cans, milk cans, and advertising signs before fixing and cleaning them up to sell.

While his grandfather now plays guitar and performs at local flea and farmer’s markets, the love of collecting has now been passed down to his 6-year-old daughter.

“She is at the shop every weekend with me, and has the bug already,” he says.

Martin says he hopes she will look back and cherish this time spent with her father, just as he remembers those special days with his grandfather.
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Read more articles by Rita MacDonald.

Rita MacDonald is a U.S. Army veteran and a full-time registered nurse who claims that her Irish and Scottish heritage is the reason for her love of storytelling. She is the mother of two adult sons, “Gummy” to her three grandchildren, loves talking with anyone who will engage in a conversation, and “eats life with a shovel!” In addition to her work with The Keel, Rita is a contributor for the Thumbprint News, an author of three books, and writes a blog at