Memories For The Picking

Memories For The Picking

‘Rusty barn stuff’ in demand at Junk Ranch

When Amy Daniels and Julie Speed first started Northwest Arkansas’ largest open-air flea market, The Junk Ranch, they hoped to provide the area’s vintage-loving shoppers with a wide variety of merchandise to choose from, without having to travel to far-flung locales like Canton, Texas.

Just look at them now.

In five short years, the pair’s event now draws people from all over the United States and features 250 booths jam-packed with vintage and antique merchandise, not to mention live music and food. The event routinely boasts attendance numbers in the thousands and gives a shot in the arm to the local economy of Prairie Grove.

“We have met shoppers from as far away as New York and California at our most recent events,” says Daniels of the growth. “We think this is due to word spreading about the quality of our vendors and is a positive reflection of the show’s reputation.”

Several Junk Ranch vendors spoke with What’s Up! about what they have planned for the June 8-9 event.

Shara Stacks is the face behind the Northwest Arkansas-based Monkeybox, and she has participated in every Junk Ranch since the first. She says that most of the fun of The Junk Ranch comes from sharing her delight in her unique finds with her customers.

“There’s a joy in seeing people pick things up, saying, ‘Grandma had this’ or ‘I had this’ or ‘I remember this from when I was a kid.’ Their faces light up when they see things. Sometimes, they don’t even buy it, but they have such fun memories. It makes me happy.”

Stacks’ booth includes lots of “smalls” — in the parlance of vintage and antique dealers, items smaller than a breadbox or so. She’s known for her vintage Christmas at the fall show, but for the June event, one of the items she’s most excited about showing to her shoppers is a vintage suitcase with retractable legs.

“You would have taken it in the trunk of your car back in the 1960s and pulled it out to use it for a picnic or something,” she says. “It’s really unusual.”

Cassie Keen of Ozark Mountain Reclaim participated in the first Junk Ranch with her mother, Diane Murrayof Primitive and Proper. They started out sharing a booth, but business at the event has been so good, they’re each taking on a booth of their own this time.

“When we first started, it was kind of just me and my mom,” she says. “Now, my dad and my husband both take off work to help. It’s kind of become a family affair — that’s one way it’s changed us.”

Keen says her booth features “rusty barn stuff” and much more.

“The music is great, the food is great — it’s just bigger and better every time, but it still keeps that down home family fun,” says veteran Junk Ranch vendor Cassie Keen.

“We make a few things to bring, like tables, and my dad does a lot of industrial-type things — we really like to upcycle things,” she says. “And we have a lot of great old merchandise from the old Gypsy Camp [for Girls] in Siloam Springs.”

Murray says she favors “barn finds” too.

“I, myself, love primitives — things my granny had to make,” she says. “It was not, necessarily, quality to [her], but to me, it’s precious.”

The June show will mark Old Cottonwood’s Leah Darling’s first year at The Junk Ranch.

“Finding great stuff is such a joy,” she says. “Seeing a customer find ‘The Piece’ ranks up there, too. We are humbled (and possibly just as excited as the customer is) when something we put time, effort and love into is what they want and need.”

Darling says she scours Midwest farms and rural areas for her treasures, and her husband Brent makes one-of-a-kind furniture from old farm and industrial items, like the side tables made of water pumps the couple is bringing. Other items include a “minty green, chippy painted harvest table,” and a seed separator table.

“We always have a few windmills,” she adds. “Another favorite piece is an old, metal farmers market vegetable display piece — or that’s what we think it is, anyway! Brent made some wooden shelves for it. It’s a great size for inside your home, on your porch or maybe by your garden.”


The Junk Ranch

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 8; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 9

WHERE — 11195 Centerpoint Church Road in Prairie Grove

COST — $5-$10


Categories: Galleries