It's our birthday and we'll junk if we want to.....
That's right my vintage loving friends, FIVE YEARS and we're going to celebrate with a big ole junking party. We're planning on some fun facebook giveaways and there will be opportunities to win prizes during the event. So, put on your party hats and come join us on June 8th & 9th.
Until that time, we want to take a trip down memory lane! How many of you remember our first location? If you said, "The Viney Grove Community Building"...... ding ding ding, you are right! We had over 40 vendors at our first event, only one food truck and two bands that we had lined up to play. Looking back now, this seems so manageable, a snap, a breeze, a cakewalk..... but yeah, it actually took us days to mark off all of the booth spaces. So much planning, but the learning curve was huge. We were completely caught off guard when the shoppers began to arrive. We learned quickly that in an open field, (especially when good junk is involved) folks will park anywhere. So, we had to scramble to find people to help make parking rows and to keep people from blocking each other in. And by finding "people", I mean myself, my husband and Julie had to do it. It was a good problem to have, but since we also underestimated the need for people to collect admission, to empty trash cans, to keep the bathroom stocked and to run the junk booth that we decided to have, it got a wee bit crazy!!!
But we made it! Two days of slinging vintage finds and we were hooked. The vendors were amazing, and the shoppers absolutely loved the merchandise that they offered.
"Life Is A Collection Of Moments"
Photos from our 1st event.
One thing we heard over and over again was, "We didn't know that we would need a truck." So when you see our signature reminder to "bring your truck", we're just thinking of you!
I think the #1 question that we get asked is, "How did you come up with the idea?" Well, the answer isn't simple, but I will try to simplify. The idea came years ago. For me, it came from loving antiques, going to auctions since I was 18, having various flea market booths, visiting shows like Round Top and Canton, being a vendor at some local antique shows, marrying the son of antique dealers, going to estate sales, yard sales, having yard sales (like big ones that included tent and table rentals)..... you know, just your average eat - breathe - and go junking scenario! It was more or less the same for Julie. She has a house full of vintage pieces, she's been buying for years and she loves the thrill of the hunt as much anybody. Partnering up was seamless!
Oh yeah, that simple answer? Truthfully, it didn't really feel like an idea but more of an embracing of what we'd been doing all along. It was born from years of being around vintage and knowing how much fun it could be. There was a desire to share that atmosphere and the merchandise with a community that we love. I guess it just felt like it was our turn the host the party! Make sense?
It was now just a matter of details. Details like getting a facebook page (eeeeek, I didn't even have a facebook page), what to name the show, how to find vendors, and on and on. So much to do! So much to learn!
And then things started to click and vendors started reaching out! It was so uplifting to know that the vision was coming to life and that people were willing to take a chance on us. Our original list of vendor leads came from personal friends, contacts that had been made at auctions and friends of friends. It was a great list and several of these original vendors still come out to every event to sell their goods. We even have original vendors who come out to shop or volunteer to work at each event. Grateful Grateful Grateful.
"Vendors Become Our Chosen Family"
This crew has never missed a show!
Remember that learning curve I mentioned earlier? Well, having adequate parking and a larger venue to grow was at the top of that list. We made the decision to keep our event homegrown and to keep focusing on our vision of vintage with touches of handmade throughout. So, the hunt for the perfect property was on! Thankfully, it didn't take long. A new bypass was opening up around historic downtown Prairie Grove (population 4380), and right off of it was a 35 acre piece of property that was for sale. A quick tour of the grounds, and we knew that this was the place. Of course it took a little imagination to see what the barn and farmhouse could be. All of that finger crossing, scrubbing, painting and shoveling was worth it!
"Home Is Where The Barn Is"
My Oh My! How the barn has changed!
The old barn is photographed by our shoppers more than anything else, and everyone loves to walk through it and enjoy the craftsmanship. We've even incorporated the barn into every one of our shirt designs. It has truly become the heart of our event!
Fun fact about the barn: The roof was only completed days before our first event at the new location? Rain had delayed the progress and softened the ground, and with the opening day approaching there was no time to wait. The Sky Track was brought in to finish (remember that soft ground), and there may have been a few ruts left behind.
I never saw the ruts, but the conversation about them went something like this:
Julie: Don't come out here.
Me: What? Why?
Julie: The Sky Track got buried right in front of the barn.
Me: How bad is it?
Julie: I'm standing in a hole and it's up to my waist.
So when you see that thick grass in front of the barn, you now know that sheets of sod and some serious hustling by Julie's husband saved the day.
The Junk Ranch continued to grow in attendance, therefore we expanded our outdoor vendor space, we added "Ranch Hands", a Ranch Hand Headquarters, car parkers, a ticket booth, a T-shirt trailer and shuttles to pick up shoppers. Our vendor count grew to over 100 and we filled 250 booths. We also expanded our food court area to accommodate a dozen food trucks and our music lineup now includes several bands.
The results have given us two fun filled days of vintage shopping that we get to share with you in the Spring and in the Fall. More importantly, your support has allowed a couple of daydreamers to have a venue to support other small business owners. We look forward to the future and to making more memories at the ranch!
Special recognition to our family and friends for their willingness to go the extra mile..... and many times at The Junk Ranch, that's literal. You guys have played the part of ticket takers, car parkers, ranch hands, shuttle drivers, electrician, tow truck driver, heavy lifters, shirt salesmen, banker, gate watchers, repairman and so much more. Whatever your job - big or small - we see you, we thank you!