Looking around the Carver Junk Company is like meeting up with old friends—who have undergone dramatic makeovers.
Furniture from yesteryear is transformed with new color palettes and into unexpected uses. An egg incubator becomes a coffee table. Old sweaters are crafted into cozy mittens. Maps are given new life as accordion-folded Christmas tree décor. “The ultimate idea is we’re saving something from being tossed, and we’re making it new again,” co-owner Chad Dressen says.
“A lot of people don’t have the vision of what things can be,” co-owner Brandy Dressen adds.
The Dressens have applied that same vision to their Carver home. The couple decided to move to Carver, where Chad grew up, because they wanted to live in a community where they could walk to stores and restaurants and form real connections with their neighbors.
Their two-story home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms and the couple’s philosophy of ‘recycle, repurpose, relove’ is evident as modern and vintage styles create a simpatico décor.
A white leather sectional is complemented by an antique warehouse cart recycled into a coffee table. Barn wood is repurposed into an 8-foot long dining table, paired with contemporary seating.
Their 8-month-old daughter, Delainey, has a room featuring a vintage dresser cloaked in coral milk paint, aqua restored lockers. A mobile, made with bunting from the couple’s wedding, dances above the crib, a treasured example of “relove.”
Committing to a home design palette is pretty low risk. Banking on a design trend for a business can be tricky. “We know [painted furniture] is a trend, but we don’t expect the market for repurposed and reused items to go away,” Brandy says, adding that members of Generations X and Y are organically focused on recycling in ways that previous generations have not been. The Dressens come to their business from different angles. Chad, formerly in construction, now works full-time for the venture. Brandy tends to the vintage business part-time, and works full-time as an information technology manager with Target Corporation.
The couple opened the original store in September of 2012 with a bit of vision and a whole lot of happenstance. While on their way to celebrate their first home purchase, the couple spotted a “For Lease” sign in the window of an empty storefront on Broadway Street. Armed with little more than a dream, the next day, the couple closed on their house at noon and signed the building lease at 1 p.m.
Five weeks later, the 300-square-foot Carver Junk Company opened for its first one-weekend-a-month sale, which has turned out to be “destination shopping” for vintage hunters and gatherers. The store also features local, handmade goodies, including clothing, jewelry and artwork. Brandy notes that about 75 percent of their inventory is turned over with each sale. “We had no idea what it would turn into,” she says.
Chad explains there was an established market for occasional shops in the town, “so we knew we’d catch on,” he says.
More like catch fire—three months after opening, the store moved to the former Carver Café, which offered three times the space. Almost a year ago, the store moved to its current location, the original 1800s Carver fire station. And in December, the couple opened a second Carver Junk Company location in Minneapolis.
Carver Junk Company
108 4th St. E., Carver
The Carver store is open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and from noon-4 p.m. Sundays on the third weekend of the month.