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A new generation is shopping for ‘junk’

By Kim Palmer
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

People and things inevitably get older. But the people who appreciate older things appear to be getting younger.

And that’s creating a new generation of fans and buyers for “junkers,” people who express their creativity by transforming castoff stuff into useful or decorative objects.

“Our sweet spot is 25- to 35-year-olds – hipsters. They get it; they understand recycling,” said Annie Schilling, who creates “vegan taxidermy,” among other things, with Sara Garcia, her creative and business partner at Scout, a vintage boutique in Golden Valley, Minn.

At a recent Junk Bonanza, a juried junk roundup, more than 160 vendors from around the country came to Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.

“We’re seeing more and more young people in their 20s and 30s,” said Tom Weber of Burnsville, Minn., who makes garden art out of old silverware.

“Those are the people who are furnishing their homes,” added his wife, Brenda, who makes jewelry and home accessories out of salvaged items. Instead of shopping exclusively at chain stores, many of today’s young nesters are seeking unique vintage furniture and accessories. “Their moms introduced them” to vintage, she said. “Now, it’s a way for them to make their money go farther while creating an eclectic look.”

While most traditional fine antiques and collectibles have declined in popularity and value as aging baby boomers downsize and shed their belongings, repurposed “junk” is on the upswing.

“For the younger crowd,” Garcia said, “this is their version of antiques.”

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