By Denise DePaolo
Our personal space should feel personal. Our objects should last.
That growing attitude in home decorating is the impetus of two brand new Downtown Sioux Falls retailers. Unglued Market carries products made exclusively by regional artisans, and Urban Archaeology sells a highly curated selection of vintage merchandise.
“It’s no longer, ‘I want to buy the thing that everyone else has that’s made in China,” explained Ashley Morken, who owns Unglued with her husband, Justin. “It’s like ‘I want to buy something unique. If I’m going to buy it, it’s going to matter.’”
Urban Archaeology owner Dustin DeBoer’s obsession with “old junk” began at a young age, when he would ride around picking with his dad. When he met his wife, Rachel, she didn’t quite get the obsession.
“But a few years later, after being around me longer, I think I rubbed off on her,” said Dustin, smiling. “She caught the bug as well. Then we just started buying all kinds of stuff. Anything we thought was interesting or cool. Kind of that crazy old couple down the block that never goes out, but keeps piling up stuff on their front porch.”
“Except we were in our early twenties,” Rachel laughed.
The couple’s Northwest Iowa farmhouse and outbuildings slowly began filling with old wagon wheels, vintage clothing, out-of-print books, midcentury furniture, and much, much more. Over time, they realized that friends were interested in the things they were accumulating. Then last year, the couple decided Sioux Falls was the place to start a business, and they began looking for a storefront to sell their ever-growing collection.
“We got to know Sioux Falls through the music scene and we fell in love with this town and the people,” Rachel explained.
“This is a really supportive community of people who watch each other’s back,” said Dustin. “We saw how people weren’t afraid to participate up here. And to really get a business going good, you have to have a group of people who aren’t afraid to be seen walking into some strange business’s door.”
Since the DeBoers opened Urban Archaeology opened May 1, they have seen all kinds of people walk through the door – from senior citizens to high schoolers to rock stars of the picking world, like Mike Wolfe of The History Channel’s American Pickers.
“I think they’re appreciating the value,” Rachel said of their clientele. “They’re willing to spend the extra money on vintage items. And they can pass it on to their kids someday. It’s going to last that long.”
“Back in the day, when you bought an ice cube crusher, the company who made it would be embarrassed if it broke on you,” Dustin interjected. “And so three generations later, those things are still working. The companies now, they don’t expect to be in existence by the time this thing breaks and they don’t care.”
“We can tell you where each item in the store came from. Where we bought it. The estate, the name, and the story behind it. People love that. We love that,” said Rachel.
That enthusiasm for quality and individuality exudes from another storefront as well. Just a block south on Phillips Avenue, Unglued is a celebration of personal relationships. Ashley and Justin Morken and their staff can tell you about each artisan featured, and relish interactions with their customers.
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