Northland's Junk Hunt turns 10, kicks off Thursday at DECC
“We like all things rusty and chippy and peely paint," said event organizer Emily Broman.
DULUTH — This will be Gayle Healy’s first Junk Hunt as a shopper only. The retired owner of the Lakeside neighborhood's vintage home furnishing store Serendipity had been a Junk Hunt vendor since it sprung in the Northland. But things have changed for the Duluth woman.
“My mom and I did this together for the last 10 years, and my mom passed away this spring," Healy said. “Emotionally, it’s too difficult. Everybody at the Junk Hunt knew my mom. Now, I’m excited to just go and shop. I can support that way."
The three-day indoor market features more than 140 Minnesota-made and beyond vendors, including Moose Lake’s Junktique Chicks ; Superior’s Yes, Cheese ; Duluth’s Schaefer Design Co. ; and Minneapolis’ Villa Villa Vintage .
Expect repurposed and vintage goods, artisan-made jewelry, treats and much more.
For folks who want a first look, early-bird hours are 4-7 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $15 online and $17 at the door, which covers weekend-long admission and a complimentary tote. Friday-Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is $5 online and $7 at the door. Ages 12 and younger are free, and parking at the DECC is $10.
Healy was one of the handful of vendors during Duluth’s first Junk Hunt in 2012. When event organizers Emily and Jay Broman approached her about the event, she was over the moon.
Healy, who has frequented such shows as the Junk Bonanza in Shakopee, Minnesota, The Elephant's Trunk Flea Market in Connecticut and the Round Top Antiques Fair in Texas, was thrilled the Northland would get its own.
Healy’s drawn to the history of antique items, picking something up and wondering where it has been, she said. Her go-tos are vintage holiday goods, old German sleds, children’s rocking horses and blow molds.
“The pieces from the past were made so well and they lasted,” she said.
Serendipity, which operated for 16 years, started as a vintage store and slowly grew. Participating in the Junk Hunt gave her business a boost, so she encourages new businesses to become a vendor.
“It's a huge opportunity to get your name out there, it draws in thousands and thousands of people,” she said.
Becoming a vendor may be easier said than done.
The Junk Hunt sees artisans, collectors and visitors from the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota — and there’s currently a waitlist to show your pieces, Broman said.
In fact, Junk Hunt demand is why the Bromans increased the event to twice a year. In the past decade, it’s come a long way.
The first event had a half-dozen vendors and drew about 500 into The Encounter in downtown Duluth. "We told the vendors to spread out," Jay Broman recalled in a 2015 News Tribune story. By the second event, attendance had tripled.
In 2016, the Junk Hunt moved to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center’s Pioneer Hall, where it has been ever since, “hopefully, bringing some tourism dollars to Duluth,” Emily Broman said.
She said she likes the “quirkiness” of antiquing, and finding that one-of-a-kind piece that’s not available at a big-box department store.
Most of the furniture in their home is from the Junk Hunt — a kitchen table, a dining table, an old workbench now serving as a computer desk, orange lockers that are now shoe storage.
The Bromans themselves are business owners, who operate the Bridgeman’s restaurant.
They enlist the help of willing restaurant staff to serve as “junk hunks,” available to help haul big buys during the event, free of charge. You can spot them in bright-orange T-shirts, said Broman.
Part of Junk Hunt proceeds are donated to a nonprofit. Past recipients are Duluth Harbor Mission and Head of Lakes Youth for Christ foundation. This year, it’s Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank.
Asked about the Junk Hunt name, Broman said it harkens to that old saying, "One person’s junk is another person’s treasure."
“We like all things rusty and chippy and peely paint, all of that is appealing to most of us in the junk world," she said.
If you go
- What: Junk Hunt
- Where: Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, 350 Harbor Drive, in Pioneer Hall
- When: 4-7 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Saturday
- Cost: Thursday admission $15 online / $17 at the door, includes a free tote and weekend-long admission; Friday-Saturday single-day passes $5 online / $7 at the door; ages 12 and younger free; DECC parking $10.
- More info: duluthjunkhunt.com , email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 218-348-5333.