What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Junk Ranch Fall 2015 Show

The Junk Ranch opens for early shopping at 1:00 on Friday and goes to 7:00 that night.  Gates open again at 9:00 am until 5:00 on Friday.  That is fourteen hours of shopping time.  On Wednesday I gathered everything up and loaded the car plus made a load for the truck for the next day.  Thursday, we loaded up the truck, drove to TJR, unloaded both vehicles, set up the tent, the display areas and put the appropriate merchandise on the appropriate areas, shortened the tent, clamped down the walls and left for the night.  I was back out there at 8:00 am making it shopper ready.  At 7:00, we move everything inside the tent, drop the tent and clamp the walls and got home about 8:00.  Back to TJR at 7:45 to get ready for the 9:00 crowd.  Sold all day, then packed it all back up for the trip home. Sunday we unloaded and put everything back in the correct shed, garage or room.  So, those fourteen hours of shopping for the customers amount to a five day work time to get ready and be done. 


And that does not even count all the making, shopping, washing, cleaning, packaging, sign making, display making and on and on and on.......  Having said all that.... I love selling at The Junk Ranch. Everyone is happy.  The atmosphere is fun.  People come to shop and, boy,  DO they shop.  OH, how they shop!

Vignette I set up out of the breeze on Day One.  I had two very rude snarky offers on the tree.  I passed.  Rudeness is very rare out there and low ball offers are few and far between.  So, it was odd that I got two of them.  

Day two we moved it out by the fence where everyone lines up.  Sold both the snowmen and one Santa.  About two hours in, a lady walked up and handed me her card - "I want that tree".  Paid the full asking price without hesitation and was THRILLED.  You might remember I got this tree for free at a yard sale where the older man insisted it was old and no good.  He gave it to me and upon inspection at home, it was perfect.  I sold it for $249.00.

I never do well with the Halloween stuff  but I always take some.  I sold the Teddy Bear blowmold, turkey platter, one of my halloween crows, some paper straw packets, the wooden house, the doilies and the orange pottery from this picture (that I can remember).

A lot of this sold, but I still had plenty left to go to the booths.  The chrome and bakelite perculator sold to a lady that wanted to set it out at Christmastime.  That was exactly my thoughts on it too.  She also bought my last fake sparkling fire.  She impulse bought over $100.00 in my booth.  ((hugs))

Sold the BIBGO set to a lady that was having a vintage game theme Christmas for her Grandkids.  I had $125 on it, lowered it to $100 for her - but she wanted to pay $85.00.  I was firm.  She found some of my peephole telescopes and said if I threw in five of them, she would pay the $100.00. DONE.  I paid a nickle each for the peepholes.  Happiness all around!

My Dominio Pendants went practically un-noticed on Friday  I only sold one.  And, the lady that bought that one asked if I had any that said anything about "whore" on them.  Uh, I sell Squeak toys and Santa's and deer figurines.  Why would I have THAT?  On Saturday I think I sold about 30 of them.  I didn't sell a single vintage Christmas Graphic one though.  I'm not complaining about what I didn't' sell - I just like to make note of it her for future reference. I mean, it's not like there is one thing in that entire field that anyone NEEDS.  So, whatever we sell is just pure luck.  And to be able to sell many, many things is fantastic.

At my booth in the same town, I had put JR signs in my booth with a note saying, "Mention this at my booth at TJR and you will get a free gift."  Now, really, the odds of anyone going to my store and into my booth and seeing that note PLUS going to the Junk Ranch and finding my tent and remembering that sign was pretty low.  But the very first three women in the tent on opening day, came running for their free gift!  They told me that they had bought things in my booth, plus they bought things there, so it was a win-win.  Their gift was a JUNK QUEEN key ring.  They were the only people the whole time to mention it. but it was sort of fun.  ***I did nearly a months worth of sales at the booth during The Junk Ranch.  So, YAY!

The Scrabble words - one of my staples - they sold but not crazy like in the Spring.  I think I had too many of them in there and people didn't dig as much.  I still sold a lot of them. though.  I didn't sell a single milk cap magnet. But, I think they got lost in there.  

Sold some of all the ephemera.  Lots came home, but it goes to the booth.  

I didn't sell a single pinwheel either.  The flashcards sold, but not as many as in the Spring.  But, here's my take on that - there's more "stuff" to buy this time of year. Heck, I was even competing with myself having all that vintage Christmas.  In the Spring, shoppers are more into smalls and light airy things.  Fall is about Halloween and Christmas - decorations and gifts. 

The vintage Cake decorations - I sold some - enough to pay for what I spent on ALL of them.  The rack and all will go to my booth.  I bought the rack one day and found the cake decorations the next day, but it was like kismet the way the fit on there.  

Old tins and an old Santa.  

Did I mention I bought ten crates to use this time?  I found them on Craigslist and drove three towns over to get them.  My dad, the former produce salesman about crapped his drawers when he discovered that I paid cold hard cash for those crates.  He threw away thousands of those in his lifetime.  The crates are fantastic for this purpose.  I packed the merchandise in them, stacked them in the car, then used them for display.  I also learned that I can turn then different ways and hang things on them.  THEY ARE AWESOME.  Plus, we bought a million zip ties and The Bean zip tied everything together so it was solid as a rock.  I set them up in the center of the table so I could display on both sides.  LOVE THE CRATES!

I loved being able to use the back sides of the crates to hang things and be able to put things inside them on the other side.  

Wagon load of kneehuggers.  My girl Oliveoyl sent me a batch of kneehuggers as a RAOK so I sorted through my collection and culled a bunch.  They are popular and I sold nearly all of them.  I had one offer on the wagon, but I decided to mark it NFS, it's a good display item.  

I sold almost all of my boxed ornaments.  I had one box priced high and it didn't sell.  But it was a dozen stenciled vintage Shiny Brites that are worth $10-12 each.  I had $60 on it - would have taken $50.  I sold one like it last year for $55.00.  So there is a market for them there.  

My new old bassinet full of vintage Christmas goodie bags was popular.  I sold a bunch of them. None of the ones in the stockings sold.  That was my BIG IDEA this year and the really good stuff was IN those stockings.  Strange.  I think they will sell in the booth though.

Back side of the Christmas table.  I set my booth up so people go up the backside, go in, turn around to see the other side and then go back around to the back of that side.  I get them four times!  A lot of booths set up so you just walk past.  Or worse yet - the vendor sits in the booth in the way.  It makes me uncomfortable to shop in there - very claustrophobic and odd feeling.  Lara, The Bean and I have a table behind our tents where we sit (mostly stand), take money and wrap up their purchases.  I think people like it that we aren't in there in their business.  We always let them know we are there if they need us though.  I really don't think I have ever had anything get stolen or broken.  

Every time I see an old chalkware nativity figure, I pick it up.  I finally found them all and got them in one place to sell.  I wasn't sure they would sell - but I sold nearly all of them.  One lady actually put together a complete set, which I didn't even know I had! I sold them for $2.00 each and sold at least forty of them.  

This year the gates opened at 1:00, but the ticket booth opened at 11:00 which meant the line started forming about 10:00.  It's sort of nerve wracking having an audience while you are working.  But I would actually forget they were there and be surprised at how long the line was each time I looked up. Be sure to go to Lara's blog about those big signs by the fence and the MAD RUSH to buy them.  Cha-ching!

Speaking of Lara - look at her cute, cute things.  Her booth is just fun stuff everywhere.  That giant Santa - OH MY.  I do love him.  I would hate to do the Junk ranch without Lara as my neighbor.  Our things compliment each other so most people think we are one big booth.  They go in hers and then into mine and walk up to pay at one time.  We both had very brisk sales this time.

Lara had a line going the first ten minutes after the gate.  I didn't make a sale for about thirty minutes and I was contemplating boxing it all up and leaving.

But, then the people came.  Yay!

In the middle of the afternoon I saw post on Facebook that a helicopter would be flying by to film the event.  A few seconds later it came over the horizon and it was low and loud.

I didn't even have to zoom in for this shot - can you see him filming out the window?

Saturday morning started out cool and foggy.  It was really the first fall like day we had this year and people were anxious to get out.  The crowds were thick.  It was the perfect day.  

Both of our booths were pretty well packed all day long.  Friday shoppers seem to come for certain things like furniture and such.  The Saturday shoppers seem to be more impulse shoppers and families out picking up things.  I like the Saturday crowds best.  :)

If you look at this photo closely, there are three lines - one for the ticket booth, then one line for the north gate and one for the south gate.  Well, when the gates opened, the lines were going every direction and it was literally like a sea of people with waves.  I almost got motion sick watching it move! 

This was new this year - a great idea!  Nearly ever state and many countries were represented.  

I don't get to walk around much at all, so I love seeing what walks past me.  This giant life size Santa took my breath away!  I had actually seen it on set up day when I was driving out.  It was $75 which was a steal.  I was happy to see it go to a good home and I was happy to see it out of commission since I had $60 on my smaller ones!  :)  

This little girl spotted that little recliner and ran right too it.  She sat in it and held that dog for the longest time.  I ended up sending Benji home with her.  The recliner sold not long after that.  

Even though I never left my corner much, I still managed to bring home some goodies.  Lara told me to shop her booth before the gates opened, so I did.  You don't have to pull my arm.  

The ten pins, anagrams, flash cards, tart pans and feedsack scraps are all from her.  Another junker friend had sent the vintage candy tins to me through Lara.  My one and only purchase was the very old Pinocchio puppet for one dollar.  I am SUCH a big spender.  :)

So, another Junk Ranch in the books.  The event is growing by leaps and bounds customer wise. That little town should be VERY proud of the work that Amy and Julie have done to make this such a huge success in the short time since it's inception.  I am a proud original vendor and hope to always be a part of The Junk Ranch!

And now, my blog reading friends, you don't have to hear me talk about The Junk Ranch for EIGHT MONTHS!  Well, maybe seven.  Or six.  I will have to get busy by then! 

PS - Don't forget to read Lara's blog!


  1. It looks like a lot of fun (and work). Wish it were closer to me to visit. I do have a question....
    in the picture with the nativy pieces there's a red deer. Can you tell me anything about it? I found one just like it recently and I don't know anything about it. Thanks!

    1. It is a KAMAR Reindeer. There are some on ebay you can look at to learn more. He didn't sell -but he is cute!

  2. Wow! I wish I wasn't way up here in northern Minnesota......you have just the kind of stuff that I like, although I already have a bunch. You set up a beautiful display and i think all your hard work shows. I have a beautiful chrome and Bakelite percolator too, but I never thought of making a Christmas display with that. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing all the great pictures.

  3. Ugh, Shara. I'm exhausted after reading this post! So much good junk at your booth! How in the heck do you find the time and energy to pull all this amazingness together? Someday I will hit up TJR. Someday...


  4. I'm sure you will be recovering for a long time after this splendid event. I've been having fun zooming in on all of your pictures. So many wonderful treasures. Those crates really did a great job displaying all your wares. Job WELL done!

  5. Looks like it was a lot of fun!! I would love to shop your booth. I saw so many goodies.

  6. Having been a craft show vendor myself, I can attest to the hours upon hours spent in preparation. Then it all seems to be over in a flash. You always give such a great narrative, we feel like we were actually there with you. Thanks for the shout out, made my heart smile. Hugs

  7. I see my state (Nebraska) is represented on the Junk Ranch map, but I'm going to plan a road trip down south next year! This just looks so fun. Maybe next year you'll have "blog reader prizes." :-)

    1. I have had three blog readers come visit me at The Junk ranch and they ALWAYS get a gift! Sooooo....come on down!

  8. So glad it was a big success! Everything looks great as usual!

  9. I had to take a nap after reading all that! Wow! I am so glad it went well for you, but I never had any doubts. I told you that you needed some "Naughty Girl" stuff. Maybe Lara can start a line of "whore" prints with vintage lettering and steamy pulp graphics. It's funny how things sell in cycles, but you have a lot of ways to get mileage out of the leftovers. I'm happy that you had another good experience. I've found that for every person who wants to be a butthead about a price, there's someone coming right behind them that will pay what you want without question. It's happened a couple of times this week to me.

  10. Loved reading this post and congratulations on the sales. I'm so glad all your hard work paid off!!

  11. What a fun post. You did such a great job with your recap, your pictures and all your fabulous wares. I really wish I could have come. Glad you sold so much, especially those awesome high dollar sales! You deserve a big ol' break, but I know you won't take one. Spring JR is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! ha!

  12. I thought those Christmas stockings with goodies in them were genius! But what do I know. I'm so jealous that you get to do that type of show! That's my dream, but I think it's going to stay a dream for a while. I'll have to live through you and Lara :)

  13. Oh my! Your booth looked wonderful and it sounds like JR was a whopping success. Great price on the aluminum tree!

  14. I love reading your posts filled with detail and lots of photos! You are a marketing genius. Everything looks so good and it makes me want to take that 9 hour trip!

  15. I LOVE reading all about what sold and what didn't. So fascinating to me!

  16. Great job! Thanks for taking the time to take pictures and provide such great details about your experience. I savored every word! This post was better than any book about selling because you lived it - no theories, no "this is what could sell" - you actually DID it! You're enthusiasm about vintage is contagious and you've inspired me to appreciate things I might have overlooked before (the Blythe doll etc.). I can't help but feel that you're my sistah from another mistah!

    1. That is just the nicest thing to say to me! I am still earning what sells where and when. I think it is an ever changing thing, but I try to stay with it. I do love my vintage and I can spot it a mile away! Thanks again you are sweet!


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