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    Carver Junk Company — Doing Good

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    3rd Annual Puppy Kissing Booth!

    Puppy Kissing Booth 2017 | Carver Junk Company Minneapolis | MN Pit Bull Rescue Three years ago, we started a new tradition. A puppy kissing booth for Valentine's Day! It's the absolute best Valentine's Day date, with friends, family, kids, or your sweetheart. [Can you imagine a first date taking you to a puppy kissing booth? <3 It's the thing movies are made of...] There's no way to pretend it has anything to do with furniture or home decor. We do it because we love dogs, and it's such a fun way for us to give back to a group that means so much to us. This post explains a bit more about how we got involved with Minnesota Pit Bull Rescue. But what you really need to know is that there are some AH.DOR.ABLE pit bull puppies coming to our Minneapolis store this Sunday [Feb 12th] and you can kiss and snuggle them. Yes, we're really charging a dollar for puppy kisses, and we find most people even donate more once they snuggle these sweet pups. MN Pit Bull Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so your donation is even deductible! Can't make it to the event? MN Pit Bull Rescue has an Amazon Wish List of items including food, toys, treats, and supplies that help keep this organization running, and the dogs well-cared-for. Please consider a donation, or sharing this information with your dog-loving friends. Here are some of the dogs that will be at the Carver Junk Company Minneapolis store giving kisses: Minnesota Pit Bull Rescue Puppy Kissing Booth at Carver Junk Company | Rescue Fundraiser | Puppy Breath Minnesota Pit Bull Rescue Puppy Kissing Booth at Carver Junk Company | Rescue Fundraiser | Puppy Breath Minnesota Pit Bull Rescue Puppy Kissing Booth at Carver Junk Company | Rescue Fundraiser | Puppy Breath Minnesota Pit Bull Rescue Puppy Kissing Booth at Carver Junk Company | Rescue Fundraiser | Puppy Breath Minnesota Pit Bull Rescue Puppy Kissing Booth at Carver Junk Company | Rescue Fundraiser | Puppy Breath    

    Giving Back, for the Kids [and $10 gift cards for you!]

    I've written the title of this post, and erased it, a dozen times. What it really should say is "No words."  There are no words that can cover the pain, strength, and stress that a family dealing with childhood cancer is going through. It's my greatest fear in life. Truly. And there are children of friends, in our community, who live this reality. And so, we're giving back. We'd love for you to join us, so we're giving a $10 CJC gift card to each of you that gives to St. Jude. Read on... Every year, the Carver Lions hold a fun event in January called the Soggy Bottom Open. I like to think of it as small town beer golf, for a Cause. "Golf" is a loose term - bring your baseball bat, broom, shovel - whatever you want to hit a tennis ball through the soggy January snow. Stop by the multiple bars in Carver before or after, and ultimately, support a great cause. This year, Carver Junk Company chose to sponsor Team Abigator in the SBO. We sponsored a hole (via donation) which supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. We'd love for you to join us in donating, and we're so passionate about this cause, we're adding a bit of incentive: 1. Donate  $50 here. Select "tickets" and then "Donation to Team Abigator/St Jude." [You do not need to purchase tickets to donate] 2. Bring your receipt to either CJC store in February (on your phone is fine). 3. We'll give you a $10 gift card. Team Abigator has a goal of reaching $3000 in donations, and they are halfway there at $1500. Thank you for supporting such an amazing cause with us.   Abby's Story Abby Lindall just turned 13. She lives in Carver, not far from our store. Her Dad is a part of the Carver Fire Department, and despite the craziness of their lives, both of her parents are incredibly involved in our community. Abby stopped growing when she was 8. At age 10, her parents exhausted every option to determine why Abby wasn't growing, and just days after an MRI in December 2013, Abby was having surgery to biopsy a brain tumor. Abby and Cookie | St Jude's Fundraiser | Childhood CancerAbby Craniotomy | St. Jude Fundraiser | Childhood Cancer               A recent Facebook post from Abby's dad, Nate: "We have not ever received a bill for any of the treatment that Abby has received from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Our journey started because Abby was not growing. She would make several trips to the growth chart, only to have that look of disappointment, because she hadn't grown in two years. After discovering the reasoning for her growth deficiency, Abby has now grown 14 inches in height." Abby's tumor is inoperable. The side effects from her tumor, radiation and medications have caused lasting issues with body temperature control, migraines, adrenal insufficiency, kidney issues, and have drastically reduced her short term memory. Abby takes 12 prescriptions per day, and will for the rest of her life. She goes to the hospital every six months to have the size of her tumor checked. Through all of it, her parents have said, all Abby wants is to be a normal teenager. She plays soccer, goes to school, and stays so strong through everything. In bringing awareness to St. Jude's and childhood cancer, Abby has gotten to meet some pretty cool people. But her Dad says "Abby doesn't want to be in pictures and meeting famous people, she just would like to have a normal life." Abby has chosen to give back to St. Jude as a part of the Life Study program. She will return back for continued monitoring of her tumor, once per year, for the rest of her life. Through ALL of Abby's time at St. Jude, including a 4-month stay at the beginning of her diagnosis, her family has NEVER received a single bill. St. Jude employs 250 doctors, from 32 different countries, to become St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Fellow Doctors, on a one year rotation basis. They are sharing all of their methods and treatments with the doctors and staff at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The treatment plans are made available, via the worldwide web, for any doctor to use for the patients (at no cost to the hospital or physician). Tomorrow is the Carver Lions Soggy Bottom Open. Donations support St. Jude directly, and we can't imagine a better charity to support in a month where our store's focus was KIDS.  Thank you for joining us in this effort. For supporting children across our communities. For helping us to ensure that if any of our own children ever need the services of a place like St. Jude, that they will be available.  Donate here, and please share.  

    Shop for a Cause on Small Business Saturday

      Carver Junk Company is donating 10% of sales from Gift Guide Items to Sponsor a Family MN on November 26th Small Business Saturday! Small Business Saturday is coming up this weekend! As a Small Business, we are so thankful that this has become a "thing." This year, we decided to share the love we receive this day, and donate a portion of our sales on November 26th to Sponsor A Family MN. Sponsor A Family MN Sponsor A Family MN is a non-denominational nonprofit organization that matches families in need with Sponsors who anonymously shop for them for the holidays.  All "in need" families are pre-approved by qualified case managers, and truly need your help. Last year we sponsored a particular family that was homeless and whose children had never had a new pair of shoes. I cried a lot when I heard their story, and realized the things we take for granted. We sponsored each family member with a gift card to Famous Footwear, so they could choose their own new shoes. The thank you letter we received made the entire season for our team. This year, we're contributing to the Emergency Fund for SAFMN, which they have told us is critical to the program and provides for unmatched or late-added families. We'll provide grocery store gift cards that can be utilized for a variety of needs for these families. How can you participate? This year, we created a Holiday Gift Guide filled with locally handmade gift ideas. In purchasing these items in particular, you're supporting local families that create our beautiful inventory. In turn, we're donating 10% of all sales from the Gift Guide items on November 26th to Sponsor A Family MN. Shop at either Carver Junk Company location on Small Business Saturday, and 10% of the sales from our Holiday Gift Guide items will be donated to Sponsor a Family MN.  We've created "events" on Facebook for each store. RSVP to see photos of some of the items we'll have in stock this Saturday! Gifts, decor, furniture and more.

    Minneapolis Location                       Carver Location

     #shopsmall badge for Carver Junk Company Small Business Saturday

    CJC@HOME: Our best & worst days.

    Here's the good. The bad. The best. In that order. Because that's how this event went down. CJC@HOME was last weekend, and Friday & Saturday of the event were amazing. It's just what it sounds like. CJC at a HOME. {we wish this was our own home...but we just borrow it from Lennar for a week.} It's so much easier, and more fun, to imagine our refinished furniture in your home, when you can see it in an actual home instead of our stores.

    This home, to be exact. And a shout out to J Fuerst Real Estate Photography. The sod wasn't yet installed for our event, and they rocked the photo editing {and photo-taking...all photos on this post are by them}.

    cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com

    Our team brought in all the inventory, and then Aimee from The Vintage Estate and Gabe from Cotton Seed Designs staged the hell out of it. {That's the actual text they sent me when they were done on Thursday.} And they were right - we promised Modern Fall Farmhouse for this event, and I'm in love with how it was executed. I debated just moving right into the living room & never leaving, but Chad thought it might not look good if I was sitting in my yoga pants on the couch eating ice cream when customers showed up... cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.comwhitewashed church pew | church window | handmade pillows and blankets | cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.comcjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com modern office | painted gray desk | vintage bookshelves | new construction office | cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com modern office | painted gray desk | vintage bookshelves | new construction office | cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com modern office | painted gray desk | blanket ladders repurposed | new construction office | cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com fall decor | fall dining table | fall centerpiece | farmhouse dining room | handmade table | trestle metal base x table | buffet |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com fall decor | fall dining table | fall centerpiece | farmhouse dining room | handmade table | trestle metal base x table | buffet |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com fall decor | fall dining table | fall centerpiece | farmhouse dining room | handmade table | trestle metal base x table | buffet |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com new construction living room | cozy by the fire sign | reupholstered sofa | handmade copper tripod lamp | handmade sofa pipe wood console table | fall decor | fall farmhouse | fall mantle | modern farmhouse |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com new construction living room | cozy by the fire sign | reupholstered sofa | handmade copper tripod lamp | handmade sofa pipe wood console table | fall decor | fall farmhouse | fall mantle | modern farmhouse |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com new construction living room | reupholstered sofa | handcrafted coffee table wood with casters | rustic industrial | modern farmhouse |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Vintage Modern | new construction living room | reupholstered sofa | handcrafted coffee table wood with casters | rustic industrial | modern farmhouse |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com new construction living room | reupholstered sofa | handcrafted coffee table wood with casters | rustic industrial | modern farmhouse |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com black painted clawfoot pedestal dining table | fall tabletop decor | fall centerpiece | round dining table black | modern wood stools | modern farmhouse |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com black painted clawfoot pedestal dining table | fall tabletop decor | fall centerpiece | round dining table black | modern wood stools | modern farmhouse |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com black painted clawfoot pedestal dining table | fall tabletop decor | fall centerpiece | round dining table black | modern wood stools | modern farmhouse |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com | white kitchen modern kitchen | white and black cabinets | harvest decor | fall decor | kitchen island | daily grind | handpainted sign | kitchen sign ideas |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com modern kitchen | white and black cabinets | harvest decor | fall decor | kitchen island | daily grind | handpainted sign | kitchen sign ideas |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com | copper accents modern kitchen | white and black cabinets | harvest decor | fall decor | kitchen island | daily grind | handpainted sign | kitchen sign ideas |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com vintage lockers | hairpin legs | wood pumpkin reclaimed wood | love coming home sign | mudroom entryway | vintage modern |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Fall Farmhouse | Drum Mirror | toilet ladder | please wait to be seated sign | copper accents | bathroom decor | farmhouse bathroom |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Fall Farmhouse | laundry room | laundry wood handpainted sign | center island |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Play room cubbies | kids craft table | kids play tent | swiss cross | loft | new construction | Ana White cubbies | blanket ladder |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Play room cubbies | kids craft table | kids play tent | swiss cross | loft | new construction | Ana White cubbies | blanket ladder |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com  loft | new construction | live edge end table | live edge coffee table | vintage reupholstered love seat | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com  loft | new construction | live edge end table | live edge coffee table | vintage reupholstered love seat | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com  loft | new construction | live edge end table | live edge coffee table | vintage reupholstered love seat | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Kids bedroom twin jenny lind beds| modern farmhouse | reverse dipped legs | cotton wreaths | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Kids bedroom twin jenny lind beds| modern farmhouse | reverse dipped legs | cotton wreaths | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Closets by Wild Ruffle  Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Bedroom | Mudcloth blanket | Stay Awhile handpainted sign | Handmade copper tripod lamp | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Yellow accents | grateful thankful blessed | Modern Bedroom | Mudcloth blanket | Stay Awhile handpainted sign | Handmade copper tripod lamp | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Be Our Guest Sign | Modern Guest Bedroom | Mudcloth blanket | Stay Awhile handpainted sign | Handmade copper tripod lamp | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Bedroom | Mudcloth blanket | Stay Awhile handpainted sign | Handmade copper tripod lamp | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Woodland Nursery | Orange accents | You are our greatest adventure | Arrow pillows | Premier Prints fabric | Handmade Quilts | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com 8609-ambergate-dr_067 Modern Woodland Nursery | Orange accents | You are our greatest adventure | Arrow pillows | Premier Prints fabric | Handmade Quilts | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Woodland Nursery | Orange accents | You are our greatest adventure | Arrow pillows | Premier Prints fabric | Handmade Quilts | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Woodland Nursery | Orange accents | You are our greatest adventure | Arrow pillows | Premier Prints fabric | Handmade Quilts | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Vintage Bedroom | Master Bedroom | New Construction Lennar | Antique Brass Bed | Vintage Dresser Nightstands | Vintage upholstered mudcloth bench | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Vintage Bedroom | Master Bedroom | New Construction Lennar | Antique Brass Bed | Vintage Dresser Nightstands | Vintage upholstered mudcloth bench | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Vintage Bedroom | Master Bedroom | New Construction Lennar | Antique Brass Bed | Vintage Dresser Nightstands | Vintage upholstered mudcloth bench | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Closets by Wild Ruffle Styled Bathroom Modern Vintage Bedroom | Master Bedroom | New Construction Lennar | Antique Brass Bed | Vintage Dresser Nightstands | Vintage upholstered mudcloth bench | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com Modern Vintage Bedroom | Master Bedroom | New Construction Lennar | Antique Brass Bed | Vintage Dresser Nightstands | Vintage upholstered mudcloth bench | Minnesota Furniture Store |cjc@home | Carver Junk Company's Staged Home Shopping Event | Victoria, MN | Home Staging | Modern Fall Farmhouse | Fixer Upper Style | carverjunkcompany.com J Fuerst took these photos Friday morning, and Friday night was the Early Bird event. We restocked & restaged Saturday morning & throughout the day Saturday, so while some of the furniture pieces were different depending on when you shopped, it was still really full throughout the event. If you saw our Facebook posts this past week, you probably know what happened next. To say "we were robbed" doesn't quite explain it. Even the Carver County Sheriff who originally responded said "wow, this is a big..." when he saw the house, and how much was missing...and then called in the crime lab guys, who worked on the house for a few hours gathering evidence. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten much in the way of leads yet. Fortunately, we have insurance. We pray that it'll be enough to cover the losses. But despite that, it's such a violating feeling. Someone we don't know thought they had a right to take our stuff. They spent 45 minutes destroying what we worked for 4 months to create. Worst day ever in our business, and we spent a little bit of time feeling bad for ourselves {and, let's be honest...a lot of time swearing.} We couldn't have a pity party for too long, because the second we started calling customers to let them know Sunday's event was cancelled, and posted on Facebook to catch the folks coming for at-the-door tickets, we got the most amazing response. We had gals who drove from St. Cloud to be there when we opened at 10 am. They didn't get the message that we'd cancelled, and had driven over an hour. And their response was to ask how they could help. Others showed up with donuts, and offers of coffee. It was a long day of moving everything out of the house, because it couldn't be secured, and there was no way we could re-open there. We literally got hundreds of messages from customers and people in our community, and every couple of hours, we took a break & read them. Our normal Carver store event is coming up October 20-23. Our team suggested that we take the goodwill, good thoughts, and graciousness we've received from our customers & neighbors, and return the favor. Literally, someone said, let's make some f'ing lemonade {because...when life hands you lemons}. We've still got quite a bit of furniture & decor left from the home; the a-holes didn't get everything, so the stores are full, and so are our trailers. We're doing a special event Wednesday night, October 19th from 5-8 pm. A "Lemonade Event" :)   We'll have a food truck or two, some lemonade drinks, and a store stocked full of the best selection we've had this year. From 5-6 pm, we're having a private event for the folks that had tickets to the Sunday portion of the CJC@HOME event, since we had to cancel on them. From 6-8 pm, we'd love to see everyone else! We just want to say a big thank you for the kind thoughts, good vibes, and offers of help & support. We have the best customers ever!  

    Feeling Nostalgic...

    As I was driving to work {"real" work} this morning, it hit me that Carver Junk Company is coming up on our 4-year anniversary of opening our doors. And of course, that gave me all the feels....and now I can't stop thinking about all the things that have happened in these last four years. The challenges, the excitement, and what's coming next. I feel like I tell our "story" every year. How this was a maybe-when-I-retire bucket list item, an impulse "purchase," and intended to be a one-weekend-a-month gig for fun.  A hobby....and then we accidentally grew a pretty cool business. My literal first thought this morning, after I realized how close we are to 4 years, was about our vendors. We started out all alone, and very quickly realized we couldn't do it all - we got too busy, too fast and were both still working full time. So we brought in really, really talented people to supplement the store with their furniture...and then with their handmade goods. We have over 40 vendors now. But the coolest part?  We started with 6 original vendors. Of those 6, three are still with us. Two others have started their own {successful} stores, and the last one took a break to buy & restore an old farmhouse. My second thought, after realizing all of that was....I have known these people, and worked with them on a daily basis, for nearly as long as Chad and I have known each other. We have built this business together, our little core team of 10-12 people, and we've had a lot of fun doing it. Like any team that works together so closely, we have our challenges and days we get annoyed with one another. But we keep each other energized, excited, and challenge ourselves as a group to be better every day. The very toughest thing about the last 4 years has come up in the last 18 months. As the concept of this business catches on {we aren't claiming the invention of a refinished/handmade goods store}, more and more stores are popping up. Pinterest means that most ideas for refinishing & repurposing aren't original. We use it for inspiration, ourselves! But with so much more competition close to home, we've literally had neighbors copy {word for word} workshop ideas and details from our website. We've had stores across the metro re-create and sell exact replicas of original sign designs by our vendors. The market is flooded with furniture and paint companies, and it's harder and harder to reach our customers directly. But this isn't a cry for pity - it's a testament to the people behind CJC.  In every instance where we've felt copied, defeated, and wondered if this business was worth continuing, this team has pulled together to come up with the next big idea. We've challenged ourselves to improve our quality, to continue being the best in the market. We've brainstormed & introduced "style guides" behind the scenes to ensure we're bringing in the newest, freshest designs. We know they'll only be fresh for a few weeks, but we're finding the excitement in discovering & creating those new styles - and we're accepting the challenge from the market to continue being the leaders. We've partnered with tons of local businesses to support each other, and to make our events bigger & better for our customers. And THAT all happens behind the scenes, with our incredible team of vendors. We have a super-secret {not anymore, because I'm telling you} group setup on Facebook, where we chat amongst ourselves, plan and share information. Last year, after an especially tough week, we posted and asked the group to brainstorm some ideas for a new event. We ended up with HUNDREDS of ideas, comments, and played off one another, continued to build ideas. One person suggested opening our workshop & storage and holding a super-secret sale there. Another asked if we'd seen the show "Million Dollar Listing" and suggested we hold a high-end party. And then....someone suggested we combine those ideas. Let's bring our store into a house, have a party, and sell all the stuff. Hello, cjc@home!  And a week later, Lennar agreed to loan us a home to stage, a date scheduled, and we made it happen. The same thing happened when we asked for ideas for Valentine's Day. We have a small store. We don't like to get stuck with all the pink stuff after the holiday, so we wanted a different way to celebrate. We joked about bringing in a kissing booth, and making the guys on the team "staff" it. And then someone said - why not bring in puppies? Ta Da! Brilliant! We get to partner with MN Pit Bull Rescue and Secondhand Hounds, donate ALL the proceeds plus some to them, and everyone gets to kiss sweet puppies. We've already seen both of these ideas utilized by other stores. And you know what? Fine with us - let's bring more attention to dogs needing homes! Let's all partner more locally, with other businesses in our communities. And while that's happening, our vendor team will step up to the challenge, and find the next big thing. Because they're the best. Our vendors have made this last 4 years the absolute success it's been, and we're so proud to have them on the CJC team. Every time I'm feeling sad {because, let's face it - it sucks to have your hard work re-created by a competitor} I am going to come back to this post to remind myself of all the things we've done and will keep doing. And I'll turn to our team & remind them, too. We're in this for the long haul, Minnesota! Thanks for supporting us, and our dozens of families, for four amazing years.  B   Just for fun, here are some of my favorite items we found & sold in our first year: 622597_140061209467519_759411104_o (1) 614909_139743859499254_1305443690_o 51895_152877288185911_312759857_o 334085_145216058952034_19531026_o 334948_140753352731638_1822950905_o 280073_146413642165609_1619196264_o 615723_153648734775433_1017114349_o 54786_172386412901665_311298113_o 257123_147088588764781_8022132_o 478031_178853875588252_300649310_o 622640_170167183123588_2113055987_o