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Benton antique store turns junk into treasure

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Couple opens a picker’s paradise

A Benton couple has made a business turning one man’s junk into another man’s treasure.

Charles and Denise Duke opened the Junk in my Trunk Vintage Shop about a month ago as a picker’s paradise. The key to success, they say, is finding beauty in all things.

From old doors and window frames to vintage pieces from the 1950s, Denise said their shop is giving new life to people’s old junk.

Denise Duke
Denise Duke

“We find value in other people’s trash,” Denise said. “We pick it, repair it, add a little paint and give everything a little TLC.”

Their shop, located just off 5th street in Benton, is housed with their first business, Bless You Christian Gifts. Though their small town gift store was successful, Denise said they were looking for something a little more.

“We had never owned our own retail shop until this. We wanted something that would carry a wider variety of things to bring more people in,” she said.

That’s when they started picking through estate sales. They would find furniture pieces to use as displays, but people, at times, were asking to purchase the piece before they could even get it in the building.

“We realized that’s what people are looking for,” she said. “A vintage piece with a shabby chic look is the trend these days.”

The shop is filled with items that are old and new. There’s even new stuff that looks old and old stuff that looks new.

Items are categorized and placed into different themed rooms, including a travel room, one with all things Americana, a room for children and things for the kitchen. One of the most unique items at the shop is a vintage novelty ice cream scoop from the 1930s. The square ice cream sandwich dipper, which scoop was used to fill a sandwich shaped pocket, was one they found at an estate sale in Bossier.

Denise said finding such a treasure was a thrill because it’s something she’s never seen before. It also serves as a reminder of what her ancestors must have used during the Great Depression era.

“That was a lifestyle of its own,” she explained. “They valued living the simple life with the idea that less is more. I wish we had that back today, but we can all, in a way, relive the past with these finds.”

The Dukes encourage customers to scour through the picking pile of furniture and utilize the project room to get creative with their finds. Things like 1950s television consoles, she said, are something customers turn into dog beds thanks to ideas found on the Internet and Pinterest, an online tool that helps people organize Do It Yourself projects through public boards.

“Something like chalk paint can turn a piece of furniture into something very beautiful,” Denise said. “It’s very simple to do and there are step by step instructions on Pinterest.”

Since opening last month, Denise said people are coming by the store in droves and from outside of the state too. They’ve had people in Texas, Arkansas and California interested in their finds.

“There has been a lot of foot traffic in the store and positive response online,” she said. “People who come in say they love what they see and can’t wait to come back and see what we have next.”

Denise said they want their vintage shop to be a friendly, loving environment where people can come in, look around and stay a while.

“There’s a real sense of peace when you walk in the door,” she said. “God has really blessed us with the ability to do this and we are only here by his grace.”

The Junk in my Trunk Vintage Shop is located at 118 5th Street in Benton. Store hours are currently10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and by appointment, made by calling Denise at (318) 519-5050.

For more information or to see what’s happening at the shop, visit their Facebook at www.facebook.com/junkinmytrunkvintage