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They converted large old drawers into dog beds. They made lamps out of cowboy boots.
They took old headboards and reimagined them into garden benches. For months, they scout yard sales and snoop around estate sales for bargains. Then, when the event happens, shoppers eagerly line up.
Finders Keepers: Findings for Home and Garden has a unique marketing approach that is unusual. It works. One might not think that opening four days at a time, twice or three times a year, makes a successful business plan. Janet Newman, Tracy Pace and Wendy Beville, self styled Doctors of Junkology, have made it work, to the delight of bargain hunters and their fans.
"We operate on furniture. We do cosmetic surgery. We do facelifts," Newman said. "You're in good hands."
The three women, who boast that they really do wear white lab coats when they work, held their first sale a year ago in the corner shop in South Park Plaza on Greenville Highway across from White Street.
The shop's irregularly spaced sales events of unconventional "repurposed" furniture and home accessories seem to have created a buzz among Hendersonville's tuned in shopping set, and the first day opening draws a big crowd. A woman who works across the street counted 50 women — nearly all the shoppers are women — waiting to get in when this season's four-day event started Wednesday afternoon.
The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today for the last day of the sale. After that it will be shuttered and the women will go about collecting, buying and "operating" to turn the finds into something that sells. What's junk to most people is, well, junk to them too. But they repurpose junk into something that's fun or useful.
"What we try to do is buy stuff really inexpensively," said Beville, who retired from a marketing job in southwest Florida. "We don't charge for our labor. We get women from Charleston, we've had them from Gainesville, Fla., from Anderson, S.C."
The junkologists revel in the social atmosphere, as if a FaceBook page had come to life in the shop.
"It's a big girlfriends' clubhouse," Newman said with a laugh.