Recycling strategy: ‘Old’ things get a second life in new hands

April 2015 Posted in Business

By Melissa Wagoner

A blue Mason jar becomes a button holder or a candle holder. The paper from old books transforms into paper wreaths. Clothing once out of style is in again. What’s old is new as shoppers seek to reuse old things. Discovering treasures at antique and thrift shops is a way of recycling.

Blackbird Granary, Antiques & Collectibles, 190 S. Main, Mount Angel
Tammy Davis, an avid antique collector since childhood, kept driving by the old feed store in Mount Angel, envisioning an antique mall. The building – dating back at least to the 1920s – had been vacant 14 years. Then she heard talk of it being torn down. She took the leap, repurposing the building, fulfilling the dream and opening a shop in one fell swoop. It helped, too, that the 4,500-square-foot space for antique vendors was full before it opened

Books-N-Time, 210 N. Water, Silverton
When Chuck Tauer retired as a professor at Oklahoma State University, he wondered what a retired geneticist could do. His answer was to open a bookstore in Silverton. The Tauers chose Oregon because Chuck had once worked for the Forest Service, and Silverton specifically because of the excellent school system. Although the store carries new and used books, Tauer said that they sell mostly used books. Browsing the shelves reveals everything from childhood favorites to used copies of the latest thrillers.

Mount Angel ReStore, 225 Franklin St, Mount Angel
Like all Habitat for Humanity ReStores, this location sells reusable home improvement supplies, appliances and furniture. Proceeds support the North Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliate. The store plans a movie to a Woodburn location soon.

North Star Antiques, Silverton

North Star Antiques, Silverton

North Star Antiques, 209 N. Water, Silverton
Adele Phillips of North Star Antiques likes things with a some history. Phillips and her business partner Milla Nelson said North Star is a community of like-minded antique lovers. The shop is made up of many mini stores each stocked and merchandised by independent dealers.

For Phillips, the love of antiques came gradually. “You like something old and you find something old. Pretty soon everything in your house is old,” she said.

“I do see a trend in repurposing, that’s just all over the United States, especially with young girls. We have people who buy parts for things they’re making; prisms, old wooden crates, canning jars with zinc lids. They just look on Pinterest then find things here that they’re looking for,” Phillips said. “They want something unique for their homes.”

Phillips sees many items purchased as wedding decorations. There’s also been an upswing in the sale of tea cups and long gloves due to success of the television series Downton Abbey.

Redeemed and Restored, 204 N. Water, Silverton
Owner Kathy Kvenbo’s passion is restoring and repurposing furniture.

“This is not a money-making business. I love this. Although I do work my tail off,” Kvenbo said. “I started decorating my room when I was 5 years old. I’ve always been an artist.”

Kvenbo, who moved with her husband Greg and two children from California, came to Silverton 25 years ago.

“I came to visit my in-laws on the week of Homer Davenport and fell in love. I thought, I could retire here,” Kvenbo said.

She finally realized her dream, settling down and purchasing the former Mayberry’s Antiques. The husband and wife team restores items from purchases at auctions and yard sales.

“Doors, windows, broken windows, broken furniture; I’ll slap a coat of paint on it. I love to crackle and I love to shabby,” Kvenbo said. “I know how to restore furniture.”

Kvenbo said the average shopper comes in looking for items that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also useful.

“They don’t buy things to look at, they buy things to use,” Kvenbo said.

Silverton Senior Center Thrift Store, 207 High, Silverton

It all started with a really big garage sale. Three years ago the Silverton Senior Center decided to host a fundraiser in the garage of Dave Potter of Potter’s Auto Specialists. What began as one sale turned into the Silverton Senior Center Thrift Store, with the proceeds going toward the cost of running the center.

Cock understands the delight of a thrift store find, having been a thrift store shopper herself since childhood.

“Especially sewing items, I really had to lean toward thrift stores,” she said.

“There’s all kinds of things that people are on the hunt for, especially tourists,” Cock said. “We’ve actually sold suitcases to transport it back home.”

Somewhere in Time, 50111 Fiske, Silverton

Ed Webb, retired from the military and in 2013 got to work making his wife Robin’s dreams come true. Robin, a yard sale guru used to wow Ed with the amount of money she could bring in on a weekend in their front yard. So, when he saw the little red building beside the creek in Silverton, he jumped at the chance to give her a permanent storefront. Somewhere in Time was born.

“This is a passion for her. It’s a kind of dream,” Webb said. The Webbs have found furniture, which they often get from Robin’s father in Grants Pass, to be their biggest seller.

“A lot of it we paint and fix up. We take it and clean it up. My wife’s the mastermind behind it all. She never ceases to amaze me,” Webb said.

The Red Bench, Silverton

The Red Bench, Silverton

The Red Bench, 205 N. Water, Silverton

Donna Snyder is “all about recycling and reusing and not throwing stuff out.”

The owner of The Red Bench for the past 10 years, Snyder has been interested in antiques since she was a little girl.

“I would go garage sailing with my mom and my grandma. I saw how much further your money would go,” she said.

Snyder sells mostly furniture herself, but leases out spots within the store to other vendors. Snyder sees a big trend in the repurposing of old items in new ways.

“They reuse old pottery like Fiesta ware,” she said. “They’re buying the vintage mason jars. They use those for weddings.”

Snyder’s favorite idea, however, is the refinishing of old maple furniture.

“It’s a lot of physical work but any of that shabby chic finish is just hot right now,” she said.

Snyder is seeing a lot of customers coming into Silverton looking for antiques. The city has gained a following from Washington and Portland.

The Trunk, 214 S. Water, Silverton

Rebecca Axmaker is doing business a little differently at The Trunk. Selling gently worn men’s, women’s and children’s clothing size 6X and up, Axmaker does not take items on consignment but rather offers in-store credit.

“I assess the clothes and give them 30 percent credit on the floor for the stuff that I choose to sell,” Axmaker said.

The Trunk inhabits a small space, so Axmaker limits the number of items that can be donated at one time to 20,. She only takes items in season and tries to maintain a range of sizes.

“I don’t want to have the same size of everything in my store. I have all different sizes of shoppers. And it has to pass my cute meter,” she said. Her biggest sellers are jeans and shoes.

“There’s one lady who does repurposing of Harley Davidson attire and she came in and bought lace,” Axmaker said. “I’m a recycler. It’s fun to see people come back in wearing the clothes that they bought.”

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