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From trash to treasure: At Charlie’s, it’s all relative

June 05, 2018

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Humans love to collect things. Research suggests that this innate need goes back to when our ancestors gathered items as tools for survival.  Over time, this ever-present desire to collect has evolved into a hobby.  From photo albums to that dusty stack of newspapers in the closet, we hold onto objects of sentiment for pleasure.  Once we grow tired of these items (if that ever happens), we clean out our spaces, discard our collections and pass them onto the next set of hands that seek treasure.

There is a place in Statesboro dedicated to this old cycle of collecting and letting go.  It is called Charlie’s Funky Junk Shop, and the name is just as eclectic as the stuff inside.  Connect had the privilege of speaking with co-owners, Olivia and Patricia Carter, to learn more about the origins of this collector’s paradise.

“My father, Charlie, is who the store is named after.  He was a crane operator in New York City.  In 1967 he wanted to get out of the city rat race to have a more peaceful life in upstate New York, so he bought a huge dairy barn and made it into an antique store for tourists.  I was 7 when he started and I grew up in that business.  Consequently, I have a lot of little things I collect.   From toys to different glassware, I have too many collections, which is why I began selling some things,” Patricia said.

The mother-daughter team told Connect that they have always wanted to run a business together. “We are both creative, we think a lot alike and we work well with each other.  When this opportunity happened, we decided to run with it.” Olivia said. 

Patricia started out by clearing her space and getting rid of the excess in her home.  At the time, Olivia was creating theater props and buying things on eBay for different performances while Patricia was selling her items on eBay.  One day, a conversation sparked between the two that became a vision for starting their own shop, and they had the perfect place in mind for a setup.

The face of Charlie’s Funky Junk Shop is located at 33 West Main Street.  Originally a shoe store in 1900, the structure of the building is an heirloom of Statesboro.  The Carters purchased the space about 10 years ago.  Today, it is decorated with old brick walls, original floors and a tin ceiling.  The character of the shop is a perpetual reminder of the history that exists downtown.

Perhaps what is more interesting than the building’s old designs are the vintage items that the shop sells.  A pair of pickers venture across the southeast to find unique pieces for the store.  When you shop there, you’re not only getting local antiques, but also a selection of trinkets from surrounding areas.

Over the last nine months, Charlie’s has featured items like love letters tied together with twine from a couple in a war.  There was also a set of letters from women who were believed to be women’s rights activists in the 1900s.  These, among other items, turn the essence of the shop into a priceless time machine.  

“You have to try hard not to fall in love with things, but I think falling in love with items is what makes the job so fun.  We have a lot of enthusiasm about what comes through our store,” Olivia said.

The great thing about Charlie’s is that it guarantees a unique experience for all its customers.  The team constantly rearranges the stage, and there are always new items waiting to come out from behind the barn doors.  From Civil War pennies to handcrafted local jewelry, Charlie’s Funky Junk Shop has something for everyone to enjoy.

Hours of operation:

Wednesday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you are interested in selling your items to Charlie’s Funky Junk Shop, call (912) 536-2432, or e-mail to schedule an appointment.



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