When Amy McMeeken was young, she wanted to be an archeologist.
Somehow through the success of her store, Vintage Junkies at 1133 S. Washington Ave. in Lansing’s REO Town, she’s done just that — uncovering lost and forgotten treasures to give them another chance to shine.
McMeeken chose to live in Lansing to be close to her brothers and sisters. A National Geographic video detailing the unearthing of the Chinese terra-cotta warriors prompted her to start digging in her parents’ yard. It could be said she’s been digging ever since.
McMeeken had a side hustle of refinishing furniture as a hobby. She enjoyed bringing pieces of furniture back to life. While she worked at a hotel as an accountant, she started selling vintage pieces part time online.
Her friends pushed her to open a store with a physical location. Having a degree in accounting and interior design helped the idea become the perfect formula for success. McMeeken’s first location was at the Kwast Building across from REACH Studio Art Center. Then just before the world went into COVID-19 chaos, she moved up the road to REO Town.
After six years in business, she has a strong following and an active customer base. She added porch drop-offs to the mix during the pandemic, which helped sustain her business. That, along with the expansion, pushed her creativity further.
When considering the name for her business, McMeeken knew retro could be a remedy but wasn’t sold on the notion. She wanted something that seemed fun — and being a junkie for vintage items, the name seemed perfect. Her goal for the store is to carry more funky stuff that is unique.
“I just want to get weirder,” she said.
When you enter the store, you feel a sense of place as well as a sense of home. It helps you see the items in your space. The theme is definitely antique, retro and even memorabilia; however, there is a spattering of new. McMeeken started to support other women-owned businesses in the U.S., with a fair number from Michigan. However, the items have a vintage vibe or style.
McMeeken described her store as “everyday vintage for a modern home, with items that can stand out or blend in with today’s furniture and décor.” The store is such a comfortable space that customers often remark that they want to live there.
“Having bootstrapped the whole way, trying to trickle my way up by digging a trench,” McMeeken has dug deep in her investment in her business, REO Town and her customers. When you visit Vintage Junkies, you’ll catch the vibe — and it will feel like home.