Urban Mining Homewares vendor is out there right now, looking for your next treasure

Sheri King scours yard sales, thrift stores, dumpsters and curbs to find items to sell at Urban Mining Homewares. She’s among 38 vendors who show their stuff once a month at the vintage market on Main Street.

Posted by Joe Lambe

Don’t give up on that china cabinet that seemed to be issued to grandmothers everywhere, or on the Mediterranean-style furniture of disco days.

Past goods recast to live again sell out of Urban Mining Homewares, housed in a building on Main Street that first opened in the 1920s as a Woolworth store.

It now opens the first Friday weekend of every month offering things like old furniture, textiles, art items and much more.

Sheri King, who sells there, gave a kind of vintage mantra:

“There’s more than enough stuff already out there — no one needs to buy anything new.”

The part-time registered nurse is among 38 vendors on two floors at 3923 Main St.  Last week, she spoke as she set up her selling area beneath a sign that says “Cottage Fries.”

Every inch of Urban Mining Homewares offers something unique and unusual.

The Lee’s Summit woman’s addiction to old stuff probably started in her family, like a genetic affliction.

She used to go hunt items with her mother, had her first personal garage sale at age six, and now shares her zeal with her two adult daughters, King said.

“It’s not a passion, it’s a disease, and it’s incurable,” she said. How does she find all that stuff?

“Garage sales, thrift stores, word of mouth, Craigslist, curbs, dumpsters – I’m always hunting.”

Items in her area ranged from an old wooden china cabinet redone with chalk paint to umbrellas with leggings and shoes hanging from them.

A wooden secretary desk with sedate chalk paint on the outside opens up into lime green paint that hits like a slap.

“I like things to be entertaining,” she said, “a little bit of whimsy.”

The secretary “would be great for a little bar in an apartment,” she said. Her husband, a manager at a health care company, often comes with her to sell and no longer minds their garage being filled with what to her are treasures.

“I love everything I sell,” she said.One past coup involved a discarded butcher block kitchen counter that someone dumped in favor of a granite counter. She and her husband made a fine table and other items out of it, but afterwards she never slowed down.

“You’re always looking for the next big thing,” she said. “Once you find it, you can’t stop.”

She spends about two weeks a month hunting, restoring or researching the latest vintage styles, she said. “You have to watch what is current, what is upcoming.”

Many Homewares customers are college students or young professionals starting careers at jobs Downtown or at hospitals, she said.

“People who are buying are really excited,” she said. “They feel like they are making a commitment to their life style, and it’s fun.”

The weekend sales that started Friday and ran through Sunday marked the eighth anniversary of the store, said co-owner Susan Hartnett.

In November and December, she said, the first Friday sales events will instead start on Thursday.

King will have stuff ready.

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