By Kelsie O’Keefe
Photos by Amita Manandar
According to Urban Dictionary, junque is "seemingly useless or out-of-date items with a certain je ne sais quoi."
White ultramodern Tag dishes sit on an aged wooden table in front of tin-can drinking glasses. A daisy placed in an old Coke bottle serves as a centerpiece. Overhead, a tree branch functions as a chandelier. Kriss LeCocq stands behind the checkout counter untangling fishing lure necklaces while a recently painted vintage filing cabinet dries.
Like Broadway itself, Funky Junque is an assorted mix of old with new. Owner LeCocq’s eclectic style has brought her business from her home to downtown, adding a new kind of funk to Broadway.
LeCocq’s funky style has found a place on Broadway and in the homes of many downtown customers.
Drawn to junque
LeCocq grew up surrounded by antiques that kept her from playing in her home to avoid accidents.
"Everything was set up perfectly," LeCocq said. "It was terrible. I hated them. I really hated them."
LeCocq’s mother dragged her to antique stores and flea markets looking for fine collectibles. "The antique stores were so boring," LeCocq said. "And then I started collecting junk and it was so fun."
LeCocq was drawn to the old, already broken things–the pieces dubbed junk.
LeCocq has a retro-vintage way of looking at things. An old truck door and scooter for sale wait to be placed in a display.
In college this approach to style became a necessity. LeCocq raided her grandparents’ old sheds and searched through discarded belonging for home accessories.
"I had never seen a ‘Country Living’ or ‘Country Home’ magazine in my life," LeCocq said. "I was totally ecstatic when I found out that it was an actual style."
Junque in high demand
LeCocq designs creative and inspiring front window displays. She does all the store’s decorating.
LeCocq’s funky style followed her through college and into adulthood. Four times a year she sent her kids to their grandparents’ and held a rummage sale inside her funky junque decor home.
"I’d put it in my house so that people knew how to use it," LeCocq said.
Price tags were placed on nearly everything, and nearly everything went.
"People would come to my house and take everything off the walls," LeCocq said. "They cleaned me out every time. I was just amazed that people like it."
A large, old window frame LeCocq found in the trash adds a shabby-chic look to the bedroom display.
After every rummage sale her home was bare. A few flea market runs quickly replaced what was sold and months later the next sale began anew.
"I had lines on my driveway," LeCocq said. "I never thought I could make money doing it."
People began calling her home between sales, asking to walk through her house.
"People would call and say ‘my sister’s in town could we come over to your house,’ " LeCocq said. "It got to the point where people always wanted to come and buy. So I thought, ‘I need to start a shop.’ "
LeCocq puts examples of match new with old around the store. An old black mirror is matched with a modern lamp.
Junque belongs on Broadway
LeCocq opened a store on Center Avenue in Moorhead. Again, customers lined up outside. After four years on Center Avenue, LeCocq moved to Broadway.
"When I first moved here I sat down and just cried because it felt like I was meant to be here."
She’s now in her fourth year on Broadway.
Funky Junque is located on 516 Broadway.
"I love being part of a community. I feel like I belong. Everybody is so kind to each other."
LeCocq’s eclectic style and outgoing personality fits right in with downtown’s vintage feel.
The hunt for junque
Though LeCocq began by rummaging through flea markets to find sellable items, she bought so many things and came so often that vendors now come to her. They pull in the back door, she buys what she wants and the rest goes to the flea market.
"Everything that comes into this store I pick out," LeCocq said.
Old typewriter button go great on necklaces. A customer looks at one for a graduation gift.
Many vendors have gotten to know her style and keep an eye out for the kind of junque she’s looking for.
In the spring and summer LeCocq buys new inventory weekly.
She still enjoys the hunt for junque and is always on the lookout for sellable vintage items. Even on vacation her two children make her promise not to squish them between junque the way home.
Customers love junque, funk
Dani Parkos Fluge, co-founder, editor and inspired mom of "On the Minds of Moms" Magazine has been a customer of LeCocq’s for years.
"Kriss is a single mom and business woman who has created a store with an eclectic style. As a business woman myself, I appreciate her work ethic and ability to keep the creative juices flowing. "
LeCocq helps a customer pick a chain to go with a vintage photo charm. LeCocq sells an array of jewelery, some of which she makes herself.
Fluge’s parents work in the antique business as a hobby and have gotten to know Kriss through auctions and flea markets.
"Her vintage, shabby chic, contemporary mix of new and old is just plain fun," said Fluge. "I’m wondering if it’s wrong of me to want to pack a bag and physically move into and live in (the) store."
Junque used as accent
The concept of using junque as an accent in home decor was lost on many of LeCocq’s customers.
"(Some customers) say ‘this is really nice but I couldn’t do this in my house, I have a new house.’," LeCocq said. "You’re new house needs this, it doesn’t have character. You have to put in some old in order to give you something to think about. But, a house filled with old just looks old. To give it that look you have to add some new so you have the modern twist."
LeCocq’s mix of old and new makes her style interesting. Her display help customers get ideas for using the interesting merchandise.
LeCocq adds new elements to her old junque to showcase how it should be used. She orders contemporary furniture, white Tag dishes and other modern elements in order to get her ideas across to customers.
The addition worked. LeCocq has even expanded, now hiring herself out as an interior designer.
"I love mixing the old with the new," LeCocq said. "I hate how uninteresting new things are. [Junque] is fun because it’s comfortable; it’s not stuffy."
Junque displays inspire
LeCocq’s junque provides both inspiration and inventory for a modern, vintage home decor.
LeCocq is always hunting for new pieces of junque she can add to her funk. If asked, she’s glad to keep an eye out for customer requests.
Customers come into Funky Junque from all over. This giant letter is being shipped to a customer in California.