BY ANDREA HAYES
Michelle Steward, owner of Junque Yard Antiques, has made these trends fun for all with her business. She sat down with SVM to talk about Junque Yard Antiques, her passion for repurposing, and what it all means to her.
How did Junque Yard Antiques get started? The Junque Yard was started from my garage. As the parent of six children, money was tight. So, dates became trips to the local flea market, thrift store, antique store or yard sales. I would find great pieces to decorate with and to redo. I would sell pieces to raise money for mission trips with my church, Phenix First Assembly.
I quickly took over the garage and my husband got me a booth for our anniversary, which very quickly turned into two booths. Boothing changed my life; I loved it, it’s therapeutic, it was a wonderful way to supplement my finances and lastly, it is the best hobby ever! I worked in corporate America, but had a heart for ministry and wanted desperately to be more available to do Kingdom work, so I asked God to open the door to owning my own business and He did and I stepped out on faith and started the Junque Yard.
Your slogan is “where old is the new “new”. Where did that idea come from? Our tag line is actually spiritually driven. As I would spend time in my little garage recreating pieces, God would speak to me and remind me this is how he does with people, or at least this is what he did with me—found me broken, a little messed up, scared, scratched, dented—and then his grace finds us and he makes old things new and beautiful. That’s what we do, find pieces, redo, recreate or repurpose them and make them new and beautiful.
You can tell from my pieces that I never fix the flaws. After you paint and wax them, they add beautiful character to a piece and remind you where the piece came from.
It’s the same with us, when God finds us, we have scars from our past that become beautiful reminders of where God has brought us from.
It also represents just paying life forward. It’s kind of our way of being “green”. Rescuing our wares and reselling them preserves the past and reminds us of simpler, sweeter times gone by.
What are the different types of vendors one can find at Junque Yard Antiques? We have over 130 vendors and our vendors are the most special in town! They are so creative and talented. You can find locally made soap, handcrafted furnishings, a vintage, boho, gypsy inspired clothing boutique, amazing jewelry, homemade nuts, local honey, handmade crafts, picture frames chalkboards, and beautiful, vintage inspired home décor.
Our vendors have a great mix of old and new, but even the new is unique. We have nostalgic paintings, prints, coffee cups, and postcards with wonderful pieces of Columbus’ past and present painted or printed on them, and we have a great booth that shows off one of our areas most talented photographers who showcases her form of “art”.
For the DIY, our vendors have an eye for pieces that would be stunning with a sweet coat of paint and some new “jewelry”. We are also the area’s exclusive CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint retailer. Anyone can come to TJY and pick up a unique gift or furnish their house or find just that outfit for that special cruise, wedding, graduation or night on the town. One of our favorite items is hand cut books into letters. I love to give these as gifts at wedding showers!
Vintage and repurposed items have been extremely popular the past few years. Do you think this trend will continue? Oh yes! I think in its own way, old has always been the new “new”. I can remember hearing as a little girl my mom and aunts saying “don’t throw that away, it will come back in style”. People as a whole are nostalgic, and everyone loves a treasure hunt.
I think as a whole, people are just realizing how boring cookie cutter décor is and how wonderful just the right element of vintage, be it industrial, architectural, primitive, shabby chic, etc. is sprinkled in your home, office, or life period. You can get more for less, and they just don’t make things the way they used to.
Everything looks so mass produced and manufactured, that it’s charming to add that perfect find to your home. It adds so much personality and character! Not to mention the fun and excitement of having scoured the isles and found “that piece” and hauling it home , even the story behind the purchase is as amazing and fun as buying!
Junque Yard Antiques features many great items. If you had to name your top three favorites, what would they be? Well, my top three things would have to be the FAMILY of vendors we have. TJY has such a great relationship with our vendors; it is a special friendship. Second, would have to be the amazing customers and “Junqees” that shop with us.
We have three levels of customers: first offender, repeat offender, and habitual violator. I love meeting new people and I love people who love “Junque”, without either of these (vendors and customers) there would be no Junque Yard. They make us the magical place that we are! And thirdly, my love is the “Junque”, all of it.
From the flea market find to the aged priceless antique, from the grain sack to the coffee bags, the chippy, the rusty, the iron, the primitive, the milk painted, chalk and clay painted, dry brushed, white washed, oh my goodness I could go on and on. I love it all and could not possibly pick my favorite. For more information, please call 706.580.7205. svm