Mark Harrington is a man of vision. He sees value where most see rubbish. In a world that uses, discards and moves on, this energetic entrepreneur prides himself on creating an eco-friendly community by giving used household items a second life.
Harrington initially launched Junkluggers two years ago. The service is simplicity tucked into colorful green trucks. The company contracts to haul used household goods and recycles almost 100% of the items.
When a truck full of former life stuff leaves a customer’s home or office, its destination is either partner charities or recycling centers. The customer receives a tax-deductible receipt for their donation.
Now there is a third stop for the supposedly worthless items: Remix Market in the New Baltimore area of Warrenton.
“Frankly, the term junk is a misnomer. Often, it’s simply things that have run their course within a home and need to start life anew elsewhere,” Harrington explained.
Junkluggers found that despite their best efforts, the donation centers and charity partners they work with were not always able to accept every item brought to them. Recognizing a need for extending the recycling process, Remix Market was born.
The airy and open feeling of its 5,000-square-foot facility, at 6632 Electric Ave. in Warrenton, is stocked with gently used and affordable items, including antiques, home décor pieces, quality furniture, outdoor equipment, artwork and more. With so much space, social distancing is comfortable for shoppers.
Beyond helping the environment, a portion of sales from Remix Market go to the franchise’s two charities of choice: Mikey’s Way Foundation and Inova Children’s Hospital.
There are numerous junk companies, but virtually none offer previously treasured items an opportunity to live again. Many pieces are scratched, missing a knob, discolored or have other modest imperfections. Harrington and his staff are skilled at waving their repair wand and revealing the original beauty and functionality.
"There are two terms in play here: recycling and upcycling. Recycling is lowering the value of an item. Upcycling is improving its value,” said Harrington. “We upscale and recreate the original piece and sell it at a very affordable price.”
There is no standard profile of customers engaging Junkluggers. It includes people who are moving, empty nesters downsizing, senior citizens transitioning to condo living, and even younger couples moving out furniture to accommodate new purchases. Many of the items find a temporary rest stop at the Remix Market before finding a new home.
The business strategy realizes today’s population lives in a world of abundance and excess. “Once people realize they have too much stuff, but don't want just to throw it away, they call us.”
One enjoyable aspect of the business for Harrington and his staff is taking worn items and bringing them back to life.
“One time we took a broken lamp and a silver-plated tray, painted it and turned it into a stylish birdbath. We also repainted an old dresser drawer, cut off five old golf club heads, and made a unique hat rack.
“That’s the fun part of Remix. Looking at an item and asking yourself, ‘what can we turn this into?’ ” I periodically give my drivers a break from lugging and let them learn new skills by refurbishing.”
Beyond the fun and unique articles for sale, there is a preponderance of serious furniture that would enhance the beauty of any discerning homeowner’s abode.
To peruse Remix’s Facebook is to be impressed with the quality and volume of items for sale. Recently a solid wood rolltop desk in fine condition was going for $150; a similar new desk would sell for more than $2,000. An all-metal wrought iron type five-piece patio set was priced at $139, a third less than a new purchase.
Another unique feature is tilted toward the do-it-yourself crowd. Customers who elect to purchase an item that needs some finishing touches can use space in Harrington’s workshop. “If they don’t have space at home or have a cluttered garage, they can do the work at Remix.”
He also offers classes on a variety of restoration projects. Recently, a session was held on how to work with the various paint products sold at the store. “It’s become a very creative community, in addition to the sales.”
“After people visit us, we often hear comments like ‘I didn’t know you were here. This is my new favorite place to shop for home furnishings.’
"We are trying to be a different kind of junk company. With the opening of Remix, it has lowered the number of items we are taking to the landfill. The only thing going there now is truly trash,” said Harrington.
Remix Market is opened Monday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
To view numerous items for sale, visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/remixmarketwarrenton/?fref=tag