This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Shopping at Ron's Bargain Shop

In the last edition of the Saint Joseph's College student newspaper, the editor-in-chief told of her adventures of visiting Uncle John's Flea Market near Schererville:
Now I am rather hesitant on visiting flea markets mostly because they make me feel dirty like rummage sales, Good Will, and Jasper Junction do. Something about buying people's old junk creeps me out.
Despite that attitude, she had a good time and seems to have visited quite a few resale stores. (By the way, it is Goodwill.)

Unlike her, I enjoy going to auctions, resale shops, yard sales, and all the other places you can buy "pre-owned" merchandise. (When I was about 12 I inherited some shoes from an uncle who died, and for a while it bothered me that I was wearing "dead-guy" shoes. But that episode must have cured me, because using "dead-people" stuff has never bothered me since.) In fact, I was rather upset to discover that the "A Treasure Forever Antiques" store behind the Laundry Room is no longer there. I was looking forward to doing a post about it.
So with that introduction, you know that I will be visiting another of Rensselaer's second-hand stores, this time Ron's Bargain Shop, which is attached to Ron's Barber shop. The barber shop and the bargain shop occupy an old gas station that stopped selling gas more than half a century ago. Ron has been there for many years (I think the woman in charge of the shop said 47). His barber shop is only one of two in Rensselaer (the other is Rick's Barber Shop in the Town Square Mall). I would like to write something about barbershops, but do not quite know what to say other than to remark that Rensselaer seems to have about 1001 beauty shops of various sorts and as beauty shops have increased, barber shops have become an endangered business.
(By the way, did you notice what is in the background?)

On the day I was stopped by, there was a canoe for sale. I would enjoy having a canoe, but unless one has some way to haul it around, there is no point in owning one.
There was also a selection of furniture displayed in front of the shop.
The shop is small, occupying what was probably once a two-bay garage. I had been inside Ron's Bargain shop many years ago, but I had not remembered that they only carried furniture and larger items. In the back you can see a bunk bed and mattresses, and there were more mattresses and another bed to the right of the picture.
Below is a better view of the appliances that are visible on the left of the picture above.
There are also storage sheds and an auction hall behind this building. I plan to attend one of the Wednesday night auctions and write about it, but life has been very busy lately. I have lots of fond memories of auctions and would attend more, but I am at the stage of life where the goal is not to get more stuff but to get rid of stuff.

Recycling of old gas stations in an interesting topic in itself. Rensselaer has a number of old gas stations that are now serving other uses, or just sitting empty. My first introduction to the topic came in the very early 1950s when we moved to the small town of Morton, Minnesota. The highway was a block from our house, as was a tiny old gas station that had been converted into a residence. After two or three years the people moved into a conventional house, and nothing else ever moved into the old station. (Little towns were dying in the 1950s, not expanding.) Today it is totally gone and probably very few people in the town remember anything about that gas station.

Meanwhile, back to the Uncle-John's-Flea-Market adventure:
I usually find these places dirty and somewhat disgusting, but you can really find some interesting things there. I did feel a little grimy from touching things, but I had hand sanitizers in my purse that I spritzed every now and again.


Desert Survivor said...

Using previously owned merchandise is a good way to help keep things from landfills and thus is environmentally responsible. Okay, a little hand sanitizer might be necessary once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

I BELIEVE THAT Ron's bargain shop used to be a Texaco gas station owned and operated by two brothers; Lester and Byrom Phegley. They owned the station for many years and I believe they operated it up into the mid 60's. Les and Barney were lifelong prominent members of our community, both having been local "jocks" throughout our schools. Byrom is the father of the cities Utility superitendent "Tom Phegley" and use to umpire a great number of local school sports. Les was the father of Nancy Phillips and a founding member of Curtis Creek Country Club, (I think).