Continuing my Treasure Hunting series featuring noteworthy collectors, creative types and entrepreneurs, I’m introducing Jana Roach.
Roach lives near Kalispell, Montana in the beautiful Flathead Valley, and as one of the creators of Montana’s Vintage Whites Market, she spends a lot of time searching for lovely things to sell at her monthly sales which run from May through October.
“ If you told me 10 years ago that I'd be partnering in a seasonal vintage market & making my own goods for it, I would have laughed,” she says.
But, when thinking about what first sparked her interest in old things, Roach isn't surprised. And she gives all the credit to her mother.
“ My mom used to take me to every garage sale in town and every antique store in between,” Roach says. “She has the best decorating touch, so I got to watch her take things she would buy for pennies and turn them in to beautiful, functional, decorations in her home.”
Growing up in a home filled with her mother’s finds was a powerful influence and now it is a bond the two share. “The history behind each piece sings throughout her home,” Roach says.
Both her parents like to excavate old homesteads looking for antique bottles, many dating to the 1800s. They display the bottles in a bathroom window creating a stained-glass effect.
“Slowly, over time, I came to appreciate this and even looked forward to calling her and raving about an old funnel I bought for $2, or a stool that was rusted and dirty that I got for free out of the city dump,” she says.
Now. as an adult with her own home and family, Roach continues the family tradition.
“Now, I get excited every time I find things to fix and repurpose. I hardly buy anything new if I can help it,” she says. “The thrill of sharing that with Mom is still there, as is the thrill of sharing it with an online community of men & women who are just as excited about junking as I am. Roach established that online connection through blogging.
The catchy quote on Roach’s blog, “Just a girl who likes to make things, buy things, look at things, eat things, do things, want things, and loves everything and everyone. Except for bees,” captures the lively spirit she brings to antiquing. The blog has more than 500 followers and through it Roach is chronicling the recent purchase of an old farmhouse online.
“Being able to connect with someone through words and sometimes even voices is almost therapeutic. I've made many lasting friendships,” she says. "(But) I have to credit my wonderful mom as the reason I absolutely love - and wouldn't want to live without - treasure hunting.”
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review. Her audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.