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Junkee eyes future at Reno Public Market, Downtown

A wall with 3D oversized popsicle sculptures looms behind unboxed furniture on a cement floor.
Rachel Pagano
KUNR Youth Media
The interior of Junkee Clothing Exchange’s new location in Reno Public Market under construction on April 15, 2023, in Reno, Nev.

Junkee Clothing Exchange, a local apparel and antiques standby, is moving to Reno Public Market. KUNR Youth Media’s Rachel Pagano has more on its moving process.

With the opening of Reno Public Market (RPM), major changes have come to Reno. One involves the move of popular thrift and costume store Junkee, located in Midtown, to the market in October 2023.

Junkee was the trailblazer for Midtown, said Jessica Schneider, the store’s owner. She was warned not to move her business to previously run-down Midtown in 2008, but she forged ahead and began working.

“We did Midtown banner flyers. I am very much an executor and I get aggressive when I get behind something. So, it was a lot of work,” Schneider said. “We set up at Earth Day, the Midtown tent. We set up [at] gay Pride. We really got Midtown out there, and then, back then, I had a TV show called Reno Style, so after every show, I’d say, ‘Come to the Midtown district.’ ”

Although established and prosperous in Midtown, Junkee is now moving to RPM for a brighter future. Doug Wiele, the developer of the market, was enthusiastic about the move, seeing Junkee and Schneider joining as a step toward their goals of a mutual relationship.

“She’s very important to us. I think we will feed each other enormously,” Wiele said. “She’'ll bring to us people who wouldn’t otherwise be here and that will be great. And we’ll do the same for her.”

The building of a new environment does come with some downsides, however, and one of them is certainly stress. Schneider said that she worries about the buildout of Junkee, especially wanting every nook and cranny to have something creative and fun.

“I want it to be so over the top. I want it to be like ‘Oh my gosh, did you even catch that corner? There’s an oversized hairbrush right there.’ So, I want it to be every little nook and cranny is something super creative and over the top,” she said.

Not only is there the pressure and excitement of Junkee’s transition to RPM, but a second store will also be opening in October called Uncle Junkee in Downtown Reno. With Uncle Junkee, Schneider hopes to build a similar district to what she did in Midtown, wanting Downtown to become something Reno can be proud of.

“I’ll be a sitting duck for a while but then I want to start recruiting. I want to start doing events downtown. We really need to be proud of downtown,” she said.

With high hopes and plenty of hard work, Schneider will continue to progress toward the opening of her two stores this October, and RPM will work alongside her in anticipation of their future together.

Rachel Pagano is a rising senior at the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology and a participant in KUNR’s Youth Media program, a special partnership with the Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists.

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