By Kinsey Gustafson
If you pull up to a Kountry Junkin’ show you’ll see lines of people, flannel shirts, and plenty of junk ready to be picked. Kountry Junkin’ started out as a semiannual sale in Rapid City and has grown over the past few years into a brick and mortar store front and a perfectly imperfect way of life.
When Amy Gustafson, the founder of Kountry Junkin’, was asked what her specialty is she thought about it and replied, “It’s making people happy. Honest to god, that’s what it is.”
Her plan to make people happy started in Spokane, Washington when she was inspired by the Farm Chicks Show. She wanted to bring that same feeling to Rapid City that she felt when visiting the vintage market.
“I went back to nursing school for the second time and once I was finished with that lofty goal I decided it was the perfect time to bring Kountry Junkin’ alive,” said Gustafson. “So I searched for the perfect place to have my show because I needed a place that fit within the feel of Kountry Junkin’. I needed a unique building that had a country vibe to it and that was also convenient.”
That “country vibe” she’s talking about includes vintage items ranging from old barn doors pulled from farmsteads around South Dakota to hand poured soy candles (Cornbread and Honey is the customer favorite).
The next step was to get the vendors, so she put out a call for people who sold vintage items and “unique, rusty, funky junk.” Anything repurposed, shabby chic, and vintage was welcome.
Kountry Junkin’ was launched in May 2013 at the Central States Fairgrounds in the Soule Building. A vintage blue truck sat outside with handmade pennants and a group of 20 vendors were waiting inside with unique, vintage, and handmade items ready to be sold.
Fast forward to May 2014 and the vendor number more than doubled as word spread about Kountry Junkin’.
Vendors come from all over the Midwest to sell their items. You can find handmade jewelry, vintage washed flannels (a Kountry Junkin’ staple), and items from the past that have been brought back to life.
“That’s really what I love to do with Kountry Junkin’. I appreciate the old things that people might otherwise throw away in a dump,” said Gustafson. “Through Kountry Junkin’ I have been able to go picking for vintage items on old farmsteads and get to really appreciate and bring back something from a simpler era.”
The brick and mortar store was opened right behind Armadillos Ice Cream Shop on 2nd street. After a year of being open 3-5 days a week, Gustafson decided to change the hours and make the space into a monthly sale. The concept is the same as the Kountry Junkin’ show – to bring great junk to people, but without the additional vendors.
Kountry Junkin’ is gearing up for the 3rd semiannual sale at the Central States Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 30th from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Customers can expect vendors who go above and beyond with their displays and the greatest “junk” around. They can also expect to be giving back to the community – a tradition since the first show.
Read the full article in the May issue of 605 Magazine or here.