Great memories flood back for Marti Bauer and Susie Villiere
At Construction Junction in Carbondale, Marti Bauer and Susie Villiere are doing a fair amount of reminiscing these days.”Remember the spiral staircase?” Bauer asked Villiere. “It was modeled after the famous staircase in a church in New Mexico.”Construction Junction is for sale, and both owners have spent the week looking at yellowed newspaper advertisements they placed through the years, remembering the weird and unique items that passed through their doors since they first opened in 1984.”We had an oval- or heart-shaped bed one time,” said Villiere. “And we had Cher’s stove recently.”Beyond the constantly changing inventory, there are the characters and customers that Bauer and Villiere fondly remember.”Kurt Russell bought a potbelly stove from us a few years ago. He kept his head down,” Bauer said, lowering her own head and looking up. “He didn’t want to be recognized.”Russell, who lives part time at Old Snowmass, isn’t a regular customer, but Construction Junction has attracted more than its share of those.”We have people who just love to dig through and see what came in the day before, so they come in almost daily,” Villiere said.”They sometimes know what we have better than we do,” Bauer added with a laugh.Bauer and Villiere are longtime friends, and their husbands, Chuck Bauer and Tim Villiere, are in the construction business.The Construction Junction idea was hatched over dinner one night when the husbands got to talking about needing a place to store surplus construction materials. Most of the stuff was from new construction and remodel jobs upvalley.”That was the key, you’ve got to have a source,” Bauer said, as she and Villiere settled into a comfy couch near the back of the store.Their first location was the old UPL lumber yard at Sopris Shopping Center. “The roof leaked and we had to cover everything,” Villiere said. “In the winter, it was like an ice rink.”Initially, Bauer and Villiere specialized in recycled construction materials such as doors, plumbing fixtures, cabinets, flooring and the like. They added furniture to attract female customers.”We wanted to entice women to come in with the men,” Villiere said.”Give the wives something to do while they were in there hanging out,” Bauer added.After relocating onto Highway 133 for three or four years, the pair built a 7,500-square-foot warehouse store in Roaring Fork Village in 1994.Some of this week’s items include a Janet Nelson wire sculpture of a swan, which was sitting on top of a shiny black home entertainment center. Next to the swan was a Budweiser Spuds McKenzie dog. Sitting in the entertainment center’s midsection were a pair of antique leather chaps and a cage trap. A metal milk jug stood in front on the floor.Construction Junction was busy Tuesday morning. “Did those French doors sell yesterday?” sales clerk Nell Ainsworth asked Bauer and Villiere.”We’re like this a lot,” Bauer said as she got up to answer one of the store’s frequent calls.Construction Junction is known from Paonia to Vail, and through much of the Western Slope. Sometimes, the store functions as a wholesaler.”We have regular customers in from Redstone and other places who look for good deals to sell in a higher market,” Bauer said.Bauer and Villiere let consignors come to them. They don’t scour estate sales or other outlets for inventory.”But that’s part of the business a new owner could explore,” Villiere said.”Maybe it’s time for some new ideas to expand the business and look at it differently,” Bauer added. “Maybe put things on the Internet.”Construction Junction’s new owner will get “a 16-year reputation,” Bauer and Villiere said at almost the same time, plus the inventory, consignor list, office equipment and computer programs.Bauer and Villiere are a little bit vague about their plans for their post Construction Junction lives. “We’re going to stick around awhile,” Villiere said.As for future enterprises, both women light up when they talk about the salsa they make together once a year.”It’s gone all over the U.S. in jars,” Villiere said. “We’ve been doing it for years. In three days we do about 300 quarts.”Bauer looked over at Villiere with a sly smile and said, “We may call it S&M Salsa. … It’s good.”
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