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    Shop Small: Who do you support, when you shop small?

    Shopping Small. It's a movement these days. Back to our roots, supporting our neighbors, and buying locally-handmade items. It's heartwarming, feel-good, and economical. But who exactly are you supporting, when you shop small? When you shop small with Carver Junk Company, you're supporting Chad & Brandy, Allison, Aimee, Caitlin, Carol, Brian, Colette, Lee, Gabe, Erica, Jennifer, Lauryn, Aaric, Cheryl, Rob, Kirsten, Kristin, Naomi, Heidi, Katie, Stacy, Darcy, Dave, and dozens of other local makers. When you shop small with Carver Junk Company, you're supporting our dreams and goals. You're supporting our story.

    The CJC Story

    We often tell people we started this business on a whim. Which is sort of true, but not entirely. Here's how it happened:

    I {Brandy} have always been a DIY-er, in the sense that I like to try new things. I rarely get very deep into a craft or hobby - instead my hobby is really learning a little about a lot of different things. In my mind, that always lent itself to a future business selling locally handmade arts & crafts. I could create new things seasonally, and I could support others that did the same, by selling their items. It got added to the bucket list {a real-life, actual list, from which I check things off} for retirement.

    When Chad & I met, he worked in sewer & water construction, which meant long days, and sometimes weeks on the road. I worked {and still do} in a corporate setting. In 2012, we were buying our first home together, and he somehow convinced me to move to Carver, where he grew up. I wanted to live in a neighborhood, where we could walk to shops & restaurants. We looked at 50 houses in South Minneapolis, and 1 house in Carver.

    We put in the offer on our new house; a 1,000 sq ft home with a huge yard. A house within walking distance of restaurants {ok...bars} and all these great little "occasional" stores in downtown Carver. As we walked through the stores, a month before we were set to close on our house, I kept thinking to myself "this is exactly what I want to do someday."  We bought an antique warehouse cart, refinished it in the driveway of our old townhouse, for the living room at our new house. All the while, thinking to myself "We could do this." Never saying it out loud.

    [caption id="attachment_2376" align="aligncenter" width="720"]391494_10151025909247029_1212824734_n The coffee table that started it all.[/caption] The night before we closed on our house, we did our final inspection, and headed into downtown Carver to celebrate with a drink. We passed by one of those little stores, and noticed it was vacant, with a For Lease sign in the window. Without saying a word, I dialed the number. Chad turned to me at the same time, and said "call them." Without ever having talked about opening a business together, this felt like a sign. The next day, we closed on our house at Noon, and signed the lease to our new store at 1:00. [caption id="attachment_2375" align="aligncenter" width="343"]531201_10150991763152029_1451028056_n Our new house and our new store. All within one hour.[/caption] We jumped right in. It was 300 sq-ft, and open one weekend a month. Maybe it would be enough extra money for Chad to quit his 60-80 hr/week job that took him away from home so often. Maybe the extra few hundred dollars a month would be enough for him to stay home with future babies {because we weren't having kids with him gone that often}. Now that we lived in Carver, my salary went a bit further, and this seemed like it might be just enough to let us start planning our family. [caption id="attachment_2374" align="aligncenter" width="720"]417478_10150993056516822_1011948035_n Our new landlord took our photo after signing the lease![/caption] We worked a lot of hours that first year. We moved from our 300 sq-ft space to an 800 sq-ft space in a basement down the street. We brought in vendors to help us fill space, and we grew our Facebook following to over 10,000. We moved again the following year, to a 900 sq-ft space with no stairs. We had a baby. We opened a second store last year, and have nearly 40,000 fans on social media. We launched a website, brought in many more local vendors, and Chad runs this business full-time. We've been able to hire another full-time employee, and some part-time folks. [caption id="attachment_2377" align="aligncenter" width="720"]The first Carver Junk Company location, the night before Grand Opening. The first Carver Junk Company location, the night before Grand Opening.[/caption] We could only have imagined what Carver Junk Company would become when we signed that lease, on a whim. And it's become what it is today because of a lot of hard work, and a community that supports shopping small.

    When you shop small, you help us take our daughter to the community center for swimming lessons. You allow us to spend our money at other local businesses - like the restaurant down the street. You enable us to give back, to support local charities and civic groups. You allow us to give the girl scout from Chaska another place to sell her cookies. You allow us to give the dog rescue from Hopkins a place to hold fundraisers. You enable us to bring in more and more makers from our local community, so they too can realize their dreams.

    We hope to share more stories from our makers, from now until Nov 28th. Small Business Saturday is the biggest day of the year for small business. Carver Junk Company will be stocked full, at both stores, with handmade & vintage gifts, decor, and furniture. RSVP to our Small Business Saturday event here. 

    And, from the bottoms of our hearts - THANK YOU. Thank you for enabling our dreams, and supporting our families.

    Handmade in MN, at Carver Junk Company

    Our motto around here is recycle, repurpose, relove™. And most of our store reflects that in how we refinish old, vintage furniture, or repurpose existing items into new, one-of-a-kind decor for your home. But in addition to all of that, we are passionate about keeping it local. The other half of what Carver Junk Company™ offers is an awesome outlet for local artists and crafters, and a place for you to purchase handmade goods that come from folks right here in our Minnesota communities. Here is a small sampling of our handmade-in-MN offerings: [caption id="214" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Beautiful, scentual {get it?} and great gift ideas, these all-natural soy candles are some of our favorite new items. How cool is that wood wick?[/caption] [caption id="217" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. One of our most clever handmade items: Garden Markers - stick the re-purposed forks in the ground when you plant your seeds, so you know what's growing where. Made with organic-friendly treated clay, these can be left outside spring through fall to help you keep your garden organized![/caption] [caption id="218" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Stick frames combine handmade and repurposed into beautiful wall decor for your home.[/caption] [caption id="219" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Check out these vintage books, turned into photo frames {right alongside some handmade pumpkin decor, and handmade soy candles in yummy scents like orange chili pepper}![/caption] [caption id="220" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Yep, we are proud of our state. And judging by how quickly we sell out of these kids' undies - so are all of you. Also offered in dumptruck, rocketship, and a variety of other screenprinted (by hand) designs![/caption] [caption id="221" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Are you sensing a theme? These MN burlap prints were super-sellers as Christmas gifts last year, for those homesick MN transplants around the country. Custom orders welcome![/caption] [caption id="222" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. We even offer handmade food items. These ones are really local, made right here in Carver on a family farm. Our personal fav is the Jalapeno Strawberry jam, served over a block of cream cheese, with some crackers for dipping {our families are addicted....}[/caption] [caption id="223" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. The screenprints for these towels are all hand-drawn, then turned into prints done right here in MN. Whiskey, Rum and Gin recipes on the bar towels. Pork, Chicken, and Beef cuts & preparation tips on the kitchen towels. How-to kitchen basics for those who spend less time in the kitchen![/caption] [caption id="225" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Not all of our handmade items are pint-sized. These custom harvest/farm tables have been a huge hit over the last few months. Also handmade right here in Carver, customized to your dimensions, colors, and finishes - at about one-third of the Pottery Barn price.[/caption] [caption id="227" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. You read that right. For your significant other, we have these in man-woman, woman-woman, and man-man silhouettes on the cards. Because really, any duo can be the fucking best. Earmuffs, kids, earmuffs.[/caption] [caption id="228" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. MN-canvas pillows have sold out at each of the last two sales. Affordable, giftable, and perfect for any decor.[/caption] [caption id="229" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. We convinced the screenprinter/artist behind these child-sized cardigans that we needed some in adult size too. Now, to convince her that we need the MN-undies in adult size. Would you order them??[/caption] [caption id="231" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Steampunk-inspired jewelry is new for us - made with old watch parts, new findings, and tons of style.[/caption] [caption id="232" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Adult versions of greeting cards have our customers in fits of laughter. Might want to keep the kids away from the front counter if they can read, because they're ALL inappropriate.[/caption] [caption id="233" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Another repurpose-meets-sweet-decor addition: wine bottle candles. Evolution happens to be our favorite wine, so this one was a no-brainer for us. And the variety of scents keeps us happy, no matter the bottle design![/caption] [caption id="234" align="aligncenter" width="470"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. WOWZA. We knew the second we saw these limited-edition screenprints that they'd be an instant hit. We couldn't have predicted selling out of them - but that's just what happened. Multiple times. Only 100 of these 18x24 prints are ever made before the screens are destroyed. Thankfully, the artist keeps making more new designs with the Twin Cities in mind![/caption] [caption id="235" align="aligncenter" width="470"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. WOWZA. We knew the second we saw these limited-edition screenprints that they'd be an instant hit. We couldn't have predicted selling out of them - but that's just what happened. Multiple times. Only 100 of these 18x24 prints are ever made before the screens are destroyed. Thankfully, the artist keeps making more new designs with the Twin Cities in mind![/caption] [caption id="236" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Where's your heart? We take custom orders for map locations within the Continental US - check out our Shop Online page![/caption] [caption id="237" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Dozens of these {real - yes, please water them} mini succulent gardens went to new homes last weekend. Planted in repurposed vessels, these scream SPRING! {but apparently not loudly enough for Mother Nature, judging by the snow this week....}[/caption] [caption id="238" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Where do all the gameboards with missing pieces go? We like to think it's gameboard heaven - which might just mean they get repurposed into awesome home decor in the shape of MN.[/caption] [caption id="239" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Book letters are all the rage. But don't worry, Nicole Curtis {rehab addict} these books were not pulled from library shelves with the intention of ruining them for all future generations. They've been salvaged from sure death and repurposed into letters that will be reused again and again. Because everyone needs one of the crazy-affordable beauties in a family initial for an end table, wall hanging, or mantle![/caption] [caption id="240" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. And adorable pouch purses round us out, hand-sewn with fabric {MN, people....we can't get enough} and ready for pencil storage, change purses, etc, etc, etc.[/caption] And all of these amazing handmade items have us sure they are the reason we were voted the Best Place to Buy Unique Gifts in 2014, by Southwest Metro Magazine! If you'd like to custom-order any of these items, just shoot us a note at info@carverjunkcompany.com, and we'll get you the details! Handmade in MN | Available at Carver Junk Company |Recycle. Repurpose. Relove. Our favorite part? Finding, working with, and seeing these artists grow - we LOVE seeing our dealers pop up at other stores after gaining exposure at CJC, and we're even flattered when we see other stores start carrying similar products shortly after we introduce them {if it means more support for local artists, we'll welcome the imitation}. What other handmade in MN items would you like to see us carry? Do you make things, or have a friend that does, and feel they'd be a great fit for our store? Plop a link to awesome handmade-inMN stuff in the comments below - or visit our "Contact Us - Become a Dealer at CJC" section above! We'd love to hear from you!