- Associated Press - Sunday, April 26, 2015

GRANVILLE, N.D. (AP) - One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure, and for the Granville Junk Aholics, junk is definitely treasure.

About three years ago, six women from the Granville area channeled their more than 20 years of friendship into an organization that conducts sales events, sponsors booths at fundraising events, decorates for people’s special occasions and creates an excellent excuse to get together to talk about stuff - particularly stuff that comes off the scrap heap or rummage table.

Junk Aholic Kolette Kramer explained that some people are naturally attracted to cast-offs, and those with the condition tend to find each other.

“They are all very creative and also very modest,” Miriam Smette said of her fellow Junk Aholics. “So they won’t tell you how much ‘artist’ is in them.”

The marvel of junk collecting is how items no longer look like junk once inspired junkaholics get ahold of them. It takes a junkaholic to envision a chicken feeder as a table centerpiece, but once it comes together, everyone wants one.

“It’s fun to see your vision come to life,” Junk Aholic Melissa Kramer told the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1GeYiiL ). “Every piece is totally one of a kind.”

Each piece has a story. It’s not just about the creation but about where it came from and what it used to be, said Wanda Bachmeier, who was the friend-in-common connecting the women initially.

Bachmeier and Smette are from Granville while Kolette and Melissa Kramer and group member Karla Thompson are from Denbigh. Another member, Heidi Tank, is from Rugby.

Currently, the women are preparing for their spring Granville JunkLover sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 2. The event will take over the McGillicuddy and senior centers and spill down Main Street. Entry points will be set up on both the east and west ends of Main Street. A lunch vendor will be on hand to help accommodate the hungry. The first 200 visitors will receive free gift bags.

This is the third spring sale for the women, who held their first event in 2012 out of necessity.

“All of a sudden we couldn’t buy any more stuff because we didn’t have any room. So we had to have a sale,” Bachmeier said.

“So we could go shopping again,” Kolette Kramer added.

“That’s how it all started. People started asking if they could sell stuff, too,” Bachmeier said.

Now the event draws more than 20 vendors from North Dakota and neighboring states and looks like Wal-Mart on Black Friday when the doors open. People begin lining up an hour or two before.

Details about the upcoming sale and opportunities to win prizes in advance, including a choice parking spot, are available at Granville Junk Aholics on Facebook.

What people will find at a Junk Aholic sale is a lot of refurbished and repurposed former junk of all types. There also are pieces for sale that remain in their junk state, just waiting for a creative mind to take possession of them.

Everything displayed is homemade, redone and very likely vintage-themed. The spring sale and their fall sale in Towner are very different in the items available, with the spring sale tending more toward home and garden and the fall sale more oriented toward harvest and Christmas.

If a piece doesn’t sell, it won’t be back without a makeover, so visitors will always see new items, Melissa Kramer said.

“It’s not about bringing home a profit,” Thompson added. After event expenses, proceeds from the $2 admission goes to a charitable cause. This year’s proceeds are designated for the Granville Cemetery.

For the Junk Aholics, keeping the events in Granville and Towner is important, regardless of how big the sales get. They are proud of their communities and are eager to introduce visitors to the places that are home to them. The women include local businesses in their event planning so merchants also can prepare to accommodate the hundreds of visitors brought into town.

The women said their community has embraced their crazy collecting. Friends and neighbors have learned to call a Junk Aholic before tearing down a building or cleaning out a garage. They welcome Junk Aholics to set up at local fundraising events. Some have hired Junk Aholics to decorate for weddings, anniversaries and reunions.

Among them, the women of the Granville Junk Aholics have 23 children, all of whom have been involved in their mothers’ hobbies in some way. Several have inherited the gene.

No two junk lovers think alike, though.

“We all have different tastes and styles,” Bachmeier said. “It’s funny how we would all do something different with the same thing.”

Junk Aholic members consult with each other frequently to make the most of their different perspectives.

“We all have a different eye, and we trust each other for wisdom,” Smette said. “The fun part of it is, when you think about the busy lives, this is our way of getting together and doing something for ourselves. It’s therapeutic.”


Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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