By Leah Ryan, Mesabi Daily News
What started as friends selling junk together, turned into Junk Quest North which was held at the Miners Memorial Building in Virginia last fall, and has morphed again into a small, travel business.
Yvette Lange and Beth Anderson were acquaintances and friends on Facebook. Anderson, who has a knack for construction, creation, and everything power tool was a vendor at junk markets.
A junk market is not the common craft show. It is a place for people to buy and sell vintage and antique pieces, rusty barn digs, shabby chic, up-cycled and recycled items. In the style made popular by HGTV and DIY Network. Interesting and creative hunts are had at junk markets.
Deciding she was getting lonely on the junk brick road, Anderson put a call out for a fellow vendor on Facebook.
"I posted to see if someone wanted to start working with me," Anderson told the Mesabi Daily News, "and Yvette immediately commented, 'Pick me. Pick me!'" Like her soon-to-be business partner, Lange also had the DIY creative bug.
During a recent interview the team met in Anderson's garage workshop. While Anderson expertly cut wood, Lange stood back. A dresser pushed against a sidewall caught her eye. Creative scraps balanced on top as Lange dusted off the mixture of dust and sawdust.
"What were you going to do with this piece?" Lange asked. Anderson explained her vision and how she had found it at a garage sale or thrift store. She pointed out some gunk that needed to be sanded off the top. "Would you sell it to me? I wouldn't sell it but use it in my house," explained Lange. The two smiled and made the deal. They continued to discuss how to recycle the dresser.
This is the hunt and find, followed by creativity the pair enjoys. Although they attended several area junk markets together, the closest was in Duluth. Together, they decided to bring the joy of junk to the Iron Range through Junk Quest North.
Junk Quest North was a two-day indoor junk market that was held at the Miners Memorial Building in Virginia. The Miners provided a large, central location for vendors and visitors alike. Vendors were able to drive in and set up their booths before the event and it was well attended by area residences.
With the success of last fall's Junk Quest North, the team has begun to plan for another this spring, April 27 and 28. Again, it will take place at Miners.
April seems a long time from now and the Masters of Junk see cabin fever in their future. Therefore, they have decided to branch out and have started Fill the Bus Tours to add a little excitement to their long winter nights. This bus touring company will offer planned getaways to Minnesota locations with a variety of entertainment options.
Their motto, a famous quotation by Confucius, is "Wherever you go, go with all your heart." Anderson and Lange have put their hearts into planning this first tour and encourage those interested to join them for the adventure.
Their first tour, Antique'n and Junkin to Buffalo Nickel, will highlight their passion for junk. The two-day, one-night experience will depart on March 17 and return on March 18. The bus will depart from various locations across the Iron Range to the final destination of Buffalo, Minn. Here the group will visit the famous Buffalo Nickel Antique Market.
Unlike other getaways, the adventure is in the journey. Periodically the bus will stop at antique, resale and gift shops along the way.
"You don't have to plan or organize this trip," said Anderson. "We do it all — you just have to get on the bus," Lange added, "Life is short! Come with us and we will do all the work."
Along with their excitement for the new venture, they also agree on why they are doing this undertaking.
"The heart of what we are doing is for other people," said Lange.
After a full day of travel adventure, the attendees will fill up their bellies before laying down their heads. The tour includes a trip to an Escape Room, dinner and one night stay at a hotel. The tour will continue with breakfast, more junk hunting the next day and lunch before returning home.
Lange talked about how, although she loves junking, there aren't many things she needs. As a family, they now invest in experiences as gifts.
"I don't remember what I got for Christmas 10 years ago, but I can tell you every trip we took our kids on for the last 20 years. Experiences are an investment in people and relationships — this is something I have never regretted." After remembering a few flat tires she added, "OK, sometimes you get a few bonuses along the way."
Admittedly, this first tour is focused on hunting for antiques, junk and DIY inspiration. Anderson and Lange have begun to plan their next Fill the Bus Tour. At some point in August, they will host a three-day, two-night tour to Lanesboro, Minn. This area is famous for being part of Amish Country. Landesboro is a quiet and peaceful community has more than just unique shops, theatre and art galleries. Being so close to nature, there is also a variety of outdoor activities tour participants can experience.
The list of ideas for possible future tours continues to grow. "There are so many cool things to do," said Anderson, "and all in Minnesota."
The group size of the Antique'n and Junkin to Buffalo Nickel is limited to 30 people. The following prices are per person. For four to a room, it is $203. For three to a room, it is $212. For two to a room, it is $230. For a private room, it is $285. All reservations require a $75 deposit.