Three sisters’ creativity draws hundreds to their annual market
Shoppers who appreciate the energy required to transform an old, discarded item into something new and interesting will thoroughly enjoy the Vintage Treasures Market in Fountain, Minn., June 13–15. Now in its fifth year, the market draws people from across the area, all searching for The Item that will become a conversation piece.
The market originally began as a fundraiser for breast cancer by three survivors of the disease but since has grown into a well-attended, annual shopping event that is a passion three sisters now share.
Sharon Vreeman, a two-time breast cancer survivor, originally held an auction for repurposed and recycled items at her business, The Victorian Lace Tea Room in St. Charles, Minn., with two other survivors, one of whom has since passed away.
“We had done all kinds of projects to raise money for breast cancer,” recalls Sharon.
“People told us to sell things instead of just doing an auction, so we switched gears.”
Embarking on a new adventure, Sharon asked her two sisters, Dianne Perry and Janell Kraut, to join her. Together the three sisters now find and transform furniture, farm implements and antiques into one-of-a-kind home décor and other useful items.
Known as the “Pfarkel Sisters” (after the 1960s hit comedy show Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh In”), Sharon, Dianne and Janell have embraced the misnomer that has become their trademark.
“[The Pfarkel Sisters] were red headed, which we are, and they always did everything together. They couldn’t do anything without the other,” Sharon says. “Janell’s husband said that we were just like them, and it is true; we can’t do anything without each other. We have been known as the ‘Pfarkel Sisters’ since 1995, and we have put it to good use.”
Repurposing with purpose
“We repurpose and recycle,” explains Sharon. “We go to garage sales and citywide clean-ups. Anything that is going to be discarded, we look at with potential. If we can fix it up and give it a new use and a new life, we will.”
Her personal favorites are big pieces of cabinetry.
“We specialize in farm items, particularly things that are rusty that we can turn into some other item,” Sharon says. “Generally, we have home decor items. Most of the time they are decorative, but it depends on the find. We recently did a big grain mill from the 1800s. We repurposed it, and the buyer was going to use it in her kitchen as a base to the center island.”
The three-day event features 15–20 different vendors, this year including Just Precious Vintage, Junk Devotion and Marge Utley. Prices for items range from $10–$700, and cash or check is the preferred method of payment.
“We definitely have a passion for this,” says Sharon. “My sisters and I are all in it together. When we are done sanding and painting, we sit on the front porch, have a glass of wine and visit, and that is my favorite part.”
The market, which runs rain or shine, opens on Thursday, June 13, with a special shopping extravaganza from 4–7 p.m. where patrons will enjoy live music along with food and beverage with the purchase of a $20 advance ticket or a $25 ticket at the gate. Shopping continues Friday and Saturday. Parking is free. For more information, contact the “Pfarkel Sisters” at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-250-1690.