Storage Hunter Jesse targets Blackpool's hidden treasures
He's normally on screen pulling a fast one over his rivals and gloating unceremoniously when he lands a bargain on TV hit Storage Hunters.
But Californian ‘resale king’ Jesse McClure is now starring in his own TV show – and he was delighted to film the first episode in Blackpool.
British Treasure, American Gold highlights the hidden gems in the resort’s charity shops
Growing up in Canyon County, California, Jesse was fascinated by the resale trade and worked for his family’s antique mall.
And now, Fylde coast viewers can see the him picking up goods in their neighbourhood for a few pounds – and selling them for top dollar back home.
His new series sees him travelling the length and breadth of the UK in search of antiques and collectibles to send back to his family’s antiques mall in Los Angeles.
But Blackpool proved the star attraction for Jesse in tonight’s episode – and it’s a place he holds dear to his heart.
“I’ve been to Blackpool many times before, sometimes on stag dos and going silly – typical tourist stuff,” he said. “It is one of those special kind of places you always remember.
“We filmed a big part of the show in Blackpool, driving around various charity shops.
“I know a guy who owns a hotel here and it’s always an experience.
“I had a good idea what to expect of the town.
“It’s one of those places that when you go with your mates, it’s awesome. Coral Island, Blackpool Tower, the Pleasure Beach, they’re all great.
“Rather than making fun and criticising, people should recognise that it’s a great place to have a good time.”
However, Jesse headed for different pastures with his new show – including the RSPCA’s charity shop in Talbot Road, Higgitt’s Las Vegas Arcade in Dale Street, and Age UK, Shelter and Barnado’s shops in the resort.
So did he find any gold?
“It’s one of those things, antiques. Basically, comparatively with the UK it’s a subjective issue,” said the larger than life 29-year-old. “For us in America it’s anything over 100 years old; in the UK we’re looking at things 300, 400 or 500 years old.
“All the time I’m thinking about what my American buyers are going to like, especially those things that might be overlooked by Blackpool’s shoppers.
“This show is real from start to finish. You see me buying stuff here in the UK and then it being sold on in my antique shop in California.
“Let’s look at a real life example. Over here, I’m buying Beatles vinyl for three, four or five pounds, but I’m selling it for 30, 40 or 50 dollars back home.
“The amount of profit is tremendous but it’s that valuable to someone from America to get a first pressing. It’s not something we see over in the States so it’s worth paying that to add to a collection.
“I have no competition, no one else is doing this, so there’s a lot of money to be made.
“In Blackpool, I bought a Hornby train set. In the US it’s the make Lionel.
“I picked it up at the RSPCA’s charity shop and sold it, not weeks ago, for 195 dollars.
“It’s a matter of finding those special things.
“Charity shops get looked down on but I find some great things in them.”
Zac Wellings, manager of the Shelter charity shop in Talbot Road, said Jesse’s visit was one to remember.
He added: “All of our volunteers were very excited. He and his crew came in and had a look around.
“He was interested in some very old items, but sadly didn’t buy anything from us in the end.
“But he is right about charity shops – people do, and can be, very lucky.
“You just don’t know. You might pick up some brass and get home and it’s gold. It is surprising what people donate.”
And Christopher Higgitt, the owner of Higgitt’s Las Vegas Arcade in Dale Street, also played host to Jesse.
He said: “He was having a gamble on some of our machines, and asking how much some of our Victorian 2p machines and 2p pushers were.
“He had a good look at all of our old retro machines, but we were a little too expensive – he has to ship them home.”
Jess shot to fame in TV show Storage Hunters, which pits rival buyers against each other for repossessed storage lockers and goods.
The show is the most-viewed on channel Dave, regularly topping one million viewers.
It proved so successful, it spawned a UK version which Jesse also appeared in - alongside some of the loudest characters yet seen on British television.
“They asked me to do a couple of episodes of Storage Hunters in the UK when it launched over here,” said Jesse. “They asked me to do some more, but I had to politely decline.
“It’s a show I’ve been involved with for going on seven years, but I wanted to offer something new to the UK viewer.
“I wanted to be able to show that you can make a profit from these items and having fun along the way, so you see me buying it here, and it being sold in America. A lot of the other shows like this just show valuations - with my show you see the sale going through.
“It’s not just antiques. It’s an antiques road trip and MTV’s Jackass show merged together.
“It’s real. It’s stuff I’m spending my own money on.
“I’ve been over here for two years doing events and appearances, not just to earn a quick buck, but to also develop this show that I really wanted to do.”
British Treasure, American Gold is on TV channel Quest – Sky 144, Virgin 172, Freeview and YouView 37 – every Wednesday at 8pm.