New store specializing in antiques, vintage stereos and records opens on Fargo's 13th Avenue South

FARGO -- Junk Giant owner Aaron Swinkels looks for "things built really well" and things that are "weird," preferably both, to fill his new antique store.
Aaron Swinkels and Erica Sponsler operate Junk Giant in located at 1304 13th Ave. S. in Fargo.David Samson / The Forum

FARGO - Junk Giant owner Aaron Swinkels looks for "things built really well" and things that are "weird," preferably both, to fill his new antique store.

The Washington state native has been "junking," or what some refer to as antiquing, for as long as he can remember. He specializes in vintage stereo equipment, which he repairs himself, but he also sells records, furniture, lighting, cameras and much more.

Swinkels said business has been better than he hoped since the grand opening of Junk Giant, 1304 13th Ave. S., last week. The store is especially popular with young "junkers."

"It's nice to see a younger person's approach to vintage/antiques because primary ownership of antique stores in the area are 65 and over," he said.

Not that Junk Giant does not have merchandise that will appeal to older buyers, but Swinkels said what he sells has a "hipness." His girlfriend and business partner, Erica Sponsler, calls the store a "cool kids junk shop."

Junk Giant is just the latest project for the couple who met several years ago in Minneapolis. They also operate Plain State Farm, a sustainable flower farm in Moorhead. People may recognize them from selling their bouquets at the weekly Red River Market in downtown Fargo.

Swinkels and Sponsler both studied environmentalism in college and say Junk Giant is another extension of that mindset.

"We buy almost nothing new in our lives," Swinkels said. "We like the concept of things that are really built well and built to last. We also like fixing up things that still have life left in them, rather than see them go to a landfill. It stops people from consuming more raw materials, and it just gives things that are really beautiful a longer life. It really falls into our lifestyle."

Swinkels started out selling antiques online and at the occasional yard sale. When the inventory started taking over their Victorian "fixer-upper" on Eighth Street, the couple decided it was time to open a brick-and-mortar store.

They will continue to sell some items online, but the goal is to sell the merchandise locally.

"I'll try my darnedest to sell them in the area. If I can't get what they're worth here, they'll go to Minneapolis and be sold there," he said. "My primary focus is to keep this stuff enriching this area. It's been really good to us."

BUSINESS PROFILE

What: Junk Giant

Where: 1304 13th Ave. S., Fargo

Hours: Noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Phone: (509) 990-9973

Online: Search for "Junk Giant" on Facebook