Many of the things Reynoldsburg resident Dave Howard has collected for most of his life now make up the inventory of the Old Trading Post, a business he started in 2008 in a former auto parts store on East Main Street.

Many of the things Reynoldsburg resident Dave Howard has collected for most of his life now make up the inventory of the Old Trading Post, a business he started in 2008 in a former auto parts store on East Main Street.

"I've collected a little bit of everything over the years," he said. "We never threw anything away, but now I'm kind of giving up collecting and selling it."

The former NAPA auto parts store at 6523 E. Main St. sits on a 6.75-acre property that he inherited after his parents died. Running a shop is just the latest career move for Howard, who retired from Abbott Laboratories after 20 years as an industrial maintenance mechanic.

After graduating from Reynoldsburg High School in 1966, he attended the Columbus College of Art and Design, then worked for North American Aviation in Columbus.

"I worked on airplanes there until they laid me off, then I worked for Futon Corporation, the company that made the NASA spacesuit that went to the moon," he said.

He has also taught fencing at Denison University and produces paintings of Civil War-era ships that he sells at the Old Trading Post.

Howard, 63, grew up living in the house in the ravine behind his shop where he resides with his wife, Rebecca.

The vintage memorabilia available at the shop is diverse, and includes old kitchenware, appliances, furniture, a very early 20th-century record player, a vintage '50s-era Stromberg Carlson television, vintage magazines and old sheet music. He also has a large collection of vintage toys, most of which are no longer produced. They range from old model electric trains and model cars to fire trucks, model airplanes and figurines from the 1960s and 1970s.

He also owns a bicycle with wooden wheel wells that is about 100 years old called a "Dayton," which is similar to a brand manufactured by the Wright Brothers.

The gem of his collection is a "Champion" electric horse, the kind children would pay a nickel to ride outside grocery stores in the mid-1960s.

Howard said he appreciates skillwork - the kind that allows him to offer bicycle repairs and to modify the engine in a 1976 British TVR sports car so it gets better mileage.

"The thing only got about 23 miles per gallon, and it's top speed would probably set a new land-speed record, but now it can get about 41 miles per gallon," he said.

"People in Pakistan can do stuff and work with their hands well. This country has lost that. There's not even any tool-and-dye makers left; this is why this country is gone," Howard said. "I think about moving if I could speak Chinese, I'd move to China, because if you're skilled, they respect it."

For now, he said will continue operating the Old Trading Post in Reynoldsburg until he can no longer keep it open.

"At some point, you say, 'Gosh, I can't afford this any more. I'm out of here.' I'll sell out and move," he said.