The Balsick family originally Balcyk family, came from Czechloslovakia in the late 1800’s to Streator, Illinois. They settled there for some time while Great Grandpa and Grandma got married. Mike Balcyk and Regina Rayhawk became Mike and Regina Balsick. Regina came on a ship from her home country with her uncle at 8 years old with nothing more than a suitcase. Mike was 19 and Regina was 17 when they were wed. They heard of the prospect of good jobs in the steel mills and free land out west in Pueblo, CO. They hopped on the train and headed out West to find a place to call their own (the main reason for coming to America in the first place). They worked in Pueblo and went to the local land office and found some places to homestead just North of Calhan. The homestead agreement forced them to manage the ground properly, plant trees, and prove they could make a living on the land for 10 years before they would get the deed. So they would work in Pueblo at the steel mill and travel back to Calhan on the weekends to tend to their homestead. They received the Homestead Deed in 1891! Mike and Regina had Leona, Priscilla, James, Michael, and Raymond in their marriage.
(Zedo) Raymod James married Lorraine Louise Lemesany in 1950. They were married for 67 years before his death in 2017. Ray and Louise lived with Mike and Regina when they first started out and in turn Ray and Louise ran the ranch for them. This started a passion for Ray and Louise who ended up buying out Ray’s brothers Mike and James. They bore 5 children. Alan, Penny, Drew, Pam, and Adam.
Adam started on the ranch in 1982 and married Kristin Tukua in 1992. They are currently still on the ranch along with Garrett and Bailey run the day to day activities. Adam stopped farming in the late 1990’s, when he converted all of the wheat ground into hay fields and grass and sold the combines. He also converted the cattle from Herefords to an Angus crossbreeding program to keep up with the market.
Garrett started on the ranch in 2016. He married Bailey Pfortmiller in 2017 and they currently have both off farm jobs, side hustles, and are partners with Dad and Mom for day to day activities on the ranch. In 2019 Josie Louise was born and has been a huge blessing as the 6th generation living on the ranch!
Along with ranching and banking, antiques keep us busy. I have had a passion for antiques and wheelin’ N dealin’ since I was a young boy. I can remember as a youngster where I was constantly surrounded with antiques. We would take most of our family vacations to the International Windmillers Trade Fair with Baba and Zedo. We went all over the country to look for, buy, and sell windmills! This was always a fun time in my life and I hope to be able to continue that tradition with my family! These shows were the start of my collecting hobby. I collected little toy windmills and would always find one at the trade fairs! I also remember all of the auctions Zedo, Dad, and I would go to, finding windmills and windmill parts. While we were waiting on the windmills, I was always trying to bid on some cool antique trinket selling in the miscellaneous part of the sale. I can always remember my dad telling me to go talk to the winning bidder about the item I wanted, if the pile of stuff went too high. I bought a lot of cool antiques this way!
I also remember as a young kid going to garage sales and gun shows with Grandma and Grandpa Tukua. I can remember a few instances, where I found something at a garage sale, but when I was forced to use my own money, I would generally leave the item behind because I didn’t want to spend my money. Grandpa told me the story the other day that I found a toy I really wanted, and the people told me it cost 5 cents and I went and put it back because I thought it cost too much! This is not how you get a good collection in case you were wondering, I have changed a lot since then.
Grandpa was always encouraging me to wheel and deal on stuff, so I have never paid full price for anything. This combined with my strong business education from my parents of a rabbit business they helped me start. This showed me that being an entrepreneur was in my blood and all it took to keep it going was a strong work ethic and discipline. I remember in the summers on Monday’s my Baba and I would go to the sale and buy and sell rabbits. I generally wouldn’t give much more than a quarter for rabbits and sell them for 50 cents or so. Well this wasn’t enough profit to justify keeping them, so Mom and Dad encouraged me to call the local pet store, and I ended up selling rabbits to Pet City for a few years at 8 dollars each instead of 50 cents! That taught me, whatever you do, it is about how you market your product!
College was where I really learned how I wanted to live life and do what I loved. I am so grateful for my family’s support and teaching in my younger years. I was able to use the skills they had taught me to start a business and lifelong passion for business creation and antiques. While in college, I was not forced to work a part time job. But I chose to anyway the first couple of years. I built fence for a guy and clerked at a local livestock market. But I realized I didn’t want to be tied down, as I had many friends and social activities to attend. That is what turned me to my “Odd Jobs” Business. I saw an abundance of kids like me who didn’t want a job, but extra money was nice once in awhile. And I saw an aging population that needed help. So I joined the two and had a very good business going. I was able to help others, help keep money in my friend’s pockets, and pay for a few things myself. This turned into buying and selling antiques, because we would always ask if they had anything old for sale before we left. Sometimes we would make as much selling what they gave us as we would doing the work for them.
I created a few really vital relationships while in college that transitioned into what B/K Antiques LLC is today. Tom from Pawnee Rock and Ted Bussen! These individuals sold me a lot of antiques that I was able to start with a bang if you will. Tom taught me how to market antique store items and Ted taught me how to treat a family right, patience for what you really want, and how to buy in bulk. These collections are the cornerstone of what started our knowledge base and clientele. Meeting and maintaining relationships with these people are what got our business going, but truly the catalyst of B/K Antiques LLC was Bailey and her hard work ethic and willingness to help.
Bailey was raised in Northwestern Central Kansas. She has always been a farm girl with her family raising pigs, cattle, and various crops on their family farm in Natoma! When she was a young girl she moved around a lot until they finally settled into their home where her parents still live. She was not a collector, her family was very close but relied on other things for fun!
Bailey was smacked right into the middle of antiques from a crazy boyfriend at the time. We met at college at FHSU in Hays, KS. We both served in our local college ministry Encounter by cooking meals for about 100 athletes every Wednesday night. We also went on 2 mission trips to Haiti together in college. The second one really brought us close. One of our first few dates we had together, I took Bailey to a town called Morland to purchase some windmills from a guy who had found my online advertisements. She thought I was fully crazy when I jammed a windmill inside my compact car and we headed off to go eat at our favorite place Jiffy Burger in Smith Center, KS.
Since college, Bailey has been a major part of the decisions made at B/K Antiques LLC. She is always helping and promoting the brand. We work hard and she is very understanding and accepting of the amount of work it takes to run a successful antique resale business. Bailey has learned so much about antiques since we started going full force with our business. She has the other more refined taste for antiques which balances my crazy go for it attitude.
Bailey and I have very different backgrounds when it comes to antiques, but that helps us in such a way as to help every customer with almost every background. We work well together as a team and enjoy what we do very much. Some of our favorite parts of our business are the travel it allows us to have together when we are out picking. We have met some of the coolest people, both buyers and sellers. We have created some very good friends and a large network of people throughout the entire country who also have a passion for antiques! I talk daily with collectors dealing with some kind of antique related topic! We are truly blessed to be a part of such a great group.
Another one of the great pleasures that we are afforded in this, is finding the perfect home for pieces of history. For example, we were able to find an original cloth mining permit map for Cripple Creek from 1911. It was put into the El Paso County Library archives so anyone could use it for research and historical purposes. We also found an original set of membership books from the 1910’s to the 1960’s for the Order of the Red Men and were able to get them back to the museum for that particular organization. They were in a barn rotting away and now are in an archive where they can be preserved and utilized.
BIN Live (Buy It Now) Sales are a huge part of B/K Antiques LLC and ever since we have started hosting them, we have had a great time working together. It took awhile to create the system we have now. But ever since then we see it as kind of a date night where we get to be together for about 4 or 5 hours selling and packaging items! It is fun to be able to work together and enjoy each other’s company while still completing a task!
Not all we do is about buying and selling. We have both come to find that the relationships we have made with people and the time we are able to spend together is probably the best part of this business! We are forever grateful for all of the people we have met and done business with! If you have sold us stuff, some has stayed in our personal collection, as we are avid collectors of many things ourselves.
Bailey and I collect many things. We have a family windmill collection that Zedo started and Dad and I have continued. We also have a decent collection of Calhan History as we think it is important to preserve local history, no matter where you live. If you don’t pass the story on to the next generation, no one will. Bailey has an impressive collection of kitchen related signs and items, as well as repurposed lighting fixtures. Ever since our first major pick, we have collected License plates, Mainly Colorado and Kansas, but we kind of like the porcelain ones if they fit our budget. One of the hardest parts of our business is not getting attached to everything we get to deal with. But we believe that sharing those pieces is more fun and rewarding than keeping them in most cases. We have been able to find lots of pieces that people look for years to find and the joy those pieces bring others are what make this business so enjoyable.