For our holiday notional field trip we are going to visit Junkee at 960 South Virginia, the heart of Midtown Reno. David Fenimore, who is my Best Reno Friend, wasn’t in town to take us around, but he recommended Junkee. Good recommendation!
Midtown Reno is a fusion of existing funky and emerging hip.
If you remember my odes to the funkiness of San Pablo Avenue, you will guess that I am very happy with the funk of South Virginia.
And here comes the hip!
There is a sad post script to this photo. Heather Lee Dixon, owner of Happy Happy Joy Joy, closed the store earlier this year after her husband Kenny Dixon died in motorcycle accident. She said she “no longer has the drive or the wherewithal to continue operating this business without his presence.”
This is the block where Junkee has lived since May 1, 2008.
Until 1972, the building was where Les and Stanley and Curtis Farr ran the Shoshone Soda Works, bottling Coca-Cola. The progression to Coca Cola began in the 1920s with Diamond Springs Water, then Daudell Soda Water and Ginger Ale, and then to Eagle Punch and Bluebird Soda. The Shoshone Soda Works won the exclusive western Nevada franchise for bottling Coca-Cola in 1929. After the Coca-Cola operation moved to Vassar Street in 1972, the building became the home of Resco Restaurant Equipment & Supply Company.
And then on May 1, 2008 came Jessica Schneider and Junkee.
Schneider had been an interior designer and, like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg, had dressed store windows for almost 20 years when the depression of 2008 caused the bottom of that business to fall out. She wanted a recession-proof business, and came up with used clothing.
She also had a vision for Midtown. It has evolved, with her pushing, into a Cool Place – more than 75 murals, sidewalk sales, parades, concerts, and food walks. The mission for the Midtown District is to develop a sense of community and positive identity. Good mission!
Used clothing is the core of Junkee.
Heather Puckett is the buyer – cash or trade, no consignment. She was born and raised in Reno. She has worked for Junkee for five years. She’s all about vintage clothing and rock ‘n roll – vinyl. She DJ’s under the name Twiggy Stardust.
Her go-to’s are The Runaways and The Stooges. The careful observer will see that her skirt is made with Charles Manson fabric.
Puckett explains that Reno is a costume-party town. On Midtown event nights Junkee hosts a fashion show in their parking lot. Puckett is a star – police woman, Cinderella, cowgirl, pinup, Elton John, etc. Plus Reno is the last port of call before Burning Man and those who travel from far away and so travel light can stop at Junkee and buy clothing and accessories fitting for Burning Man.
She is enthusiastic about working at Junkee and enthusiastic about Jessica Schneider as a boss.
She pointed to the installations that Schneider made in the store – creative to da max. Schneider took all Junkee employees to Disneyland a couple years ago. Team building!
Junkee has added two departments to the core used clothing business – they rent space to dealers in handmade goods and antiques, emphasis on kitsch.
A walk through Junkee is a trip. Plane and simple. A trip.
An oil pump. Needs TLC.
I don’t know this could work in living quarters, but it is WAY OUT THERE COOL. A rather large Hodge Podge Lodge would be required.
The Mad Hatter really rocks. Why didn’t I buy??????
What a completely cool table, no?
Paper folding meets bound books. Stuns!
Why didn’t I buy her? Two bucks. Stupid.
Check these out – click on the photos to go full screen. A filament lamp. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of time that went into this.
Troll dolls were originally created in 1959 by Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam.
Dam could not afford to buy a Christmas gift for his daughter Lila so he carved the doll from his imagination. Other children in the town of Gjøl saw the troll and wanted one. Dam’s company Dam Things began producing the dolls in plastic under the name Good Luck Trolls. They became one of the United States’ biggest toy fads from the autumn of 1963 to 1965. I remember it well. My sister Jeanne bought in big time. I made her a great Christmas present in 1964, a papier-mâché hillside troll house.
This is a depiction of Vanessa Lutz, a poor, illiterate, though not ignorant, teenage girl living near Los Angeles.
Light bulbs and switches!
I would like that ship. Please.
Jessica Schneider – who has an absolutely incredible eye for quirk – has two businesses adjacent to Junkee.
One is Simple Ice Cream, opened in 2016. The premise is one we know – choose a cookie, choose a flavor of ice cream, pay $4 and you get an ice cream sandwich.
Or – pick a donut instead of a cookie – the World Famous Donut Ice Cream Sandwich. Is this a good idea? Let’s ask Nancy Reagan.
The other other business is Visionary. You make vision boards. Schneider says: “I’ve always used a vision board. For me, it really reminds me of what I want most. I put my vision boards right where I can see them every day. And, when I look at it every day, my visions come true. It’s not magic, or religious, it a daily reminder of your dreams.”
You identify your dreams. You find clippings and words and make a collage – vision boarding.
I took the draft post to show my friend, who for the record has been making what he calls “mental metaphysical hallucinatory vision boards” for years.
He has started a project and was happy to have added a chapter. He is compiling a list with illustrations of what the younger generation today lacks. Example: the chance to play outside without adult supervision, to wander and explore. Example: the basic facts of grammar.
Latest example – manners. When someone says “No problem” instead of “thank you” he loses it. He had just finished off the good manners chapter when I came in.
He browsed through the Junkee photos. “It’s a stone-cold miracle that you didn’t buy half the store. Cool stuff.”
What about the post as a whole?
I would have loved to have seen your reactions firsthand to this Temple of Quirk. Having raised a child, I think I could have stayed strong and resisted for the most part your “buy me this I want that” refrain. You would have definitely left with that ship, however. “No problem.”