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Where we ‘shop’

August 6, 2011

We’ve mentioned our shopping and gathering expeditions in past posts, but it seemed useful to document our go-to places in one post.

Places that sell stuff, but are not widely advertised:

Junque’- No website, this is a pretty underground operation of Regan’s collection of salvaged architectural items. This is where we got the library doors, parts for our gate and a bunch of other bits and pieces. Located in the Lemp Brewery complex, there is little to see to identify the place. Traveling south on Broadway toward the large arch, look for an antique bicycle by an open door near the south end of the building. He puts the bike out when he’s open, usually most Saturday’s and some Sunday’s from about 10 am to 4 pm. We have to focus and stay on task when we go. There is so much to look at!

When you see this sign or an old bike out front, he’s open

Hoods–  They have several locations, each a little different, what they have changes, and they have what they have on the floor. Don’t expect to see the same thing twice, or you could be disappointed on the return trip. They carry plumbing fixtures, cabinets, an assortment of hardware and floor finishes. They also have an amusing collection of large concrete yard-art. Over the years, the stores have become more organized but still come prepare to hunt for what you want.

Cash’s Scrap Yard– This metals scrap yard, located down by the river, is the end of the line for all kinds of metal. It is where we got some miscellaneous bits of metal for our railing project. This is a good source for large chunks of rusty steel. A very ‘manly’ place, they were featured on the Dirtiest Jobs show.

Shapiro’s metals– This is where the pros go to get anything metal. It is a good place to find very specific shapes or materials. They will cut stuff for you and can be pretty helpful. Most homeowners probably don’t spend as much time hunting down specific metal shapes, but it is great to know where to go when you need it.

Places where people take stuff they don’t want anymore:

ReStore– Operated for the benefit of Habitat for Humanity, we’ve taken stuff there and we’ve bought some stuff there. It is focused on construction materials but they have some appliances. Some things are left over new materials, like drywall and tile. Some are used items pulled out of a house, like counter tops and plumbing fixtures. The trick is finding enough of any one material to work for your project, but the prices are good and the cause is terrific.

Goodwill– These thrift stores are all over the area and like Hoods, each has their own personality. The location on Forest Park Parkway seems to have the most furniture. That’s where our dining room table came from. The one on Olive in U. City has a lot of dishes and small appliances. We’ve found some terrific bar-ware there, too. We head to Goodwill when we’re conjuring a project that has an odd collection of parts. I went there recently to find some briefcases that I stripped for shoulder straps, velcro and d-rings for the bag I made for our beach umbrella.

Indoor antique malls– Unlike my home town, this area doesn’t have good flea markets, at least what we’ve found. Fortunately, though, there are many antique malls. These places are like indoor flea markets, which is a benefit in bad weather. I mostly troll them for furniture, but there is a huge variety of stuff to be found. My close by favorites are Treasure Aisles and, across the parking lot, the Big Bend Antique Gallery, and Warson Woods on Manchester.

BAB- We have found much of interest and use in the BAB. Some things we made into parts for other things. Some things we haven’t yet figured out how to use. The place is also giving us room to collect other people’s cast offs, which will be incorporated at some point.

Craigs list– We have used this site with mixed success, both on the giving and receiving end. It seems to be a magnet for folks without social graces. Our biggest complaint is when they say they’ll show up, then don’t. In the end, it is a great resource, but you’ll need patience.

Selkirks– Going to the twice annual Moderism Auction has been a highlight of our alternative shopping. We get to see some terrific art, furniture and fixtures that are usually behind ropes in museums, and you get to touch them. That can be good or bad. We watched a Corbu chaise lounge sell for thousands while a small child climbed all over it. We have acquired some terrific stuff at the auction and enjoyed the show. Although, I still don’t understand the huge interest in small glass figurines, to each their own.

Estate and yard sales-  I grew up with frequent yard sale detours. It is truly where the bargains are found. This is another ‘grab it when you see it’ kind of shopping, though, so pondering is not prudent. We’ve found some very useful things, like tools, but it often comes along with random stuff. At some point, we’ll throw our own sale to purge (hopefully!). A great 21st century source for locating sales is subscribing to services like EstateSales.Net.

Places where things get thrown away:

The alley- City dwellers have regular access to the magic alley system. Some rehabbers take advantage by dumping construction waste in the alley and for some reason, there always seems to be old tires laying around. If you keep your eyes open, though, you can grab good stuff. I found some metal shelving on one of Lucy’s walks. It was too big for me to drag home so I ran back to get my car, but I wasn’t fast enough this time. There are many eyes on the alleys.

Construction sites- It is amazing how much stuff gets thrown away on construction sites. We are fortunate to have the insider information of demolition projects in the area. Even with that information, we are not given much warning. If we want to salvage, we have to be ready to act quickly, but it is worthwhile to be flexible. We have a large collection of decorative limestone pieces that were in our garden. When we moved them to the BAB, the truck road very low, but it made it to the loading dock. We’re thinking of using most of it in our future roof garden, which means we’ll get to move them one more time. Who needs the gym?


To best ‘shop’ this way, we find it handy to always carry a tape measure. I have a tiny one that lives in my purse along with a small sketch book for notes, figuring and sketching. While we were actively building the apartment, I carried a small set of plans of the space to verify if the found item would fit where we wanted to put it. The challenge is that it can take a large investment of time before you find what you want. There were days where we felt like we were aimlessly wandering looking at a lot of junk. In all of these sources, when you finally see something potentially useful or interesting it is best to act quickly. You may end up not wanting it after all but you can always put it in the alley for the next creative shopper.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Deb Grossman permalink
    November 5, 2020 10:23 am

    Love your posts, creativity, energy and journey.

    Any ideas for door knobs? I’m looking to match some from my 1929 house

    • Sue permalink*
      November 5, 2020 11:00 am

      ReFab is a great source- very organized, admirable mission:
      Junque’- at the top of this post is also a great resource. great value, cash only, usually open on Sa & Su

  2. Sue permalink
    August 6, 2011 11:06 pm

    I don’t know why I haven’t made it to that one yer- you’ll have to give me a tour!

  3. Nancy permalink
    August 6, 2011 10:36 pm

    SOUTH COUNTY ANTIQUE MALL on Tesson Ferry Road – just a couple of miles west of 270 – has hundreds of dealers and the prices are great!



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