BX Pub wins game of throne

The BX Pub was next in line for the throne.

The local bar and grill is now the proud owner of the city's most famous chair and they have made it available to the public. Instead of warring and scheming to be ensconced upon some palatial iron cathedra, there is now an ornate wooden one that sits as the primary seat of any party at the pub.

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"It looks great in here, with all the wooden interiors," said Larry Johnson, who bought the wooden throne about 18 years ago from an antique fair at the Coast Inn of the North. It was a replica of a regal chair attributed to Sir Stamford Raffles, an early 19th century British colonial leader known for his pursuit of natural sciences and vehement anti-slavery views. The throne features an ornate, tall back and lions fronting both arm rests.

Johnson put it up for sale in the Prince George Citizen classifieds in 20013 for a one-time fee on an indefinite schedule.

A dozen years later, it finally sold.

"I'm going to be a little bit sad," he said.

"There's an empty space in my house, now. It was a conversation piece, just sitting there looking good."

Many called him to make offers, but he had one price in mind and never wavered.

"I'd usually get two or three calls a year, but just in the last two weeks I had four calls. I always said I was firm on the price and if it didn't sell, I'd get buried in it. But when the BX people called, they didn't dicker with me at all. It was an easy deal to make."

It never would have happened were it not for all those years in The Citizen classifieds, said BX Pub proprietors Julie and Justin Mousseau.

"We've talked about this throne with friends and family and customers, and we have a good sense of humour," said Justin, who said it was about a year of regular conversations about buying the opulent chair.

"One day we were talking about it and Julie basically just said 'enough's enough, we should buy this thing and get it here, so it can be our birthday throne.'"

They hefted the big chair into their main floorspace and before they'd even posted their news on social media, customers were recognizing it from the paper and wanting to sit in it themselves.

"It was famous. People recognized it right away," Justin said.

"The picture in the classifieds didn't even really do it justice, it really is a beautiful throne, and I'm glad we got it and thought to do a (public service announcement) about it. I think it's good for Prince George to know what happened to it and where they can come and finally see it in person. I think if it just disappeared from the paper it would drive people crazy. People really needed to know about this thing."

Prince George Citizen classifieds supervisor Derek Springall said "the first call I got on Monday morning was someone asking me if the rumours were true, that someone had finally bought the wooden throne."

It was within the paper's rights to cease running the ad, under the terms of advertising, but Springall said there was no reason to stop and the chair had become a public touchstone.

"We actually put a 'sold' sign on the ad, we're going to run that a few times just to give people a chance to get used to the idea it'll be gone," Springall said.

"People have made it a talking point over the years, and I guarantee it wouldn't have sold had it been advertised on social media. Our classifieds turned it into an inanimate celebrity.

"The classifieds in the local paper gave it a legitimacy and a special kind of buzz. I've gotten so many phone calls over the years, people just wanting to ask about it."

Johnson agreed that it was the local classified ads that did the trick, since it was a particularly niche item that did not have a widespread market.

The Mousseaus also said it was the constant presence of the chair in the daily classifieds that nudged them towards this purchase and it is already paying off.

They had a party booked the same day they got the chair into their special event room and people were lined up for selfies on the throne.

"We have a lot of milestone events, people book our place for parties and now we will have a booking process for the throne so we don't end up double-booking it," said Justin.

"We don't want to disappoint people. We've already heard from our customers that this is a popular feature."

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