PEQUOT LAKES -- Dana and Kim Firkus love a good bargain.
That's what the couple hopes visitors to their Pequot Lakes store will discover soon after they walk into the front door of Castoffs Secondhand.
"It's a fun place," said Dana. "I don't think of it as just a secondhand store. I see it as something different."
Castoffs Secondhand opened last May. The Firkuses originally became involved in selling used collectibles at flea markets, selling items they bought at garage sales, auctions or estate sales.
For 15 years they dreamed of opening their own secondhand store.
That wish came true when they bought their home in Pequot Lakes. Dana built the store on their property, about two blocks north of the Pequot Lakes bobber water tower off of Highway 371 North.
Kim Firkus quit her job as a teaching assistant at Lowell Elementary School in Brainerd to run Castoffs Secondhand store in Pequot Lakes, a business she owns with her husband, Dana. She decorated the store herself. A few months ago she created a wall border of 130 vintage colored records.
They're proud to have built a unique secondhand business where everyone can find something fun and affordable at the store. They carry a variety of vintage items at low prices, unlike a lot of antique stores. Nothing in the store sells for more than $100. Many items for women, men and children can be found for just a dime. They have about 50 antique dealers who routinely shop at their store to find items to sell at their own antique stores. Dealers have told the couple they should raise their prices, but the Firkuses refuse to do that.
"We like to keep people coming," said Dana. "Some people go to places like this and can't afford anything. Here you can get a lot of stuff for a dime."
A multi-colored border of old colored records lines the walls of the store. Kim started collecting the vintage records and decided to decorate the shop with them. Customers began bringing in their old colored records for her to use to finish her wall decorating project. She now has 130 colored albums that encompass her store.
The couple has a large vintage fishing tackle collection that continues to grow. They expect to receive more old tackle next month. The tackle, mostly old wooden lures, sells for $2-$75, with most items averaging about $20.
The store offers a lot of old jewelry, which sells for 50 cents to $10. There are 10-cent boxes found throughout the store where customers may find something they least expect. Kim said she has put items like slightly used cameras in the box just so people will find a good buy.
"I want people to dig in there and pull it out and go, 'Wow, I found this for a dime,'" said Kim.
Dana and Kim Firkus of Pequot Lakes said they try to keep their prices low at their Castoffs Secondhand store so their customers can afford to shop there. Nothing sells for more than $100 in their store. Many items can be purchased for 10 cents.
"We're not in this for the money," added Dana.
Most of the books at the store sell for 25 cents to 50 cents. They also sell sheet music, violin and guitar strings, ceramic collectibles and silverware. They don't sell appliances or clothing, unless it is vintage clothing.
The store has monthly drawings for customers and offers specials on different days during the month. For example, last Thursday all items that were red were 20 percent off. On Feb. 27, anything found in the furniture shed is 20 percent off.
A Lazy Boy swivel rocker and recliner were located last week in the middle of the store. The Firkuses said they always have a "rest stop" for people to use to sit down. Once that chair sells, they'll bring in another to take its place. They have reading glasses that they loan to customers who have a hard time reading the tags on the items or titles of the books.
Kim quit her job as a teaching assistant at Lowell Elementary School in Brainerd last year to run the store. She said she enjoys helping customers find an unusual item they have been trying to find.
The couple has a selection of Bibles available at the store, though they don't sell them. They give them away for free.
"I don't believe in charging for the Bible," said Dana. "If someone needs a Bible, I'm going to give them one."
Castoffs Secondhand is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except the store is closed Wednesdays and Sundays in February.
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