By David Knopf, News Editor
Cecil King would be proud to know his daughters inherited his eye for old things of value.
Shelley Ritchie and Cindy Mead have real jobs, but when it comes to fun they become “the junk sisters,” owners of Red Truck Treasures, an antique-collectibles business.
“Some people were really taken with us being sisters and having a story to tell,” said Shelley.
They created a local buzz when they set up a booth and displayed their finds at Welcome Home, the annual festival in Hardin, their hometown.
“ ‘The King Sisters Come Home’ was how it was billed, not that anybody cared,” said Shelley, laughing at the memory.
People in Hardin may remember the sales their father held at the farm, usually in June. It was Cecil King who knew a collectible when he saw one.
“He’d walk by something and say, ‘That’s something you ought to buy because it’s going to be worth something someday,’ ” Shelley said.
Shelley, an instruction and literacy coach at Dear and Sunrise elementaries in Richmond, who caught the antique-collectible bug first. Cindy’s interest bloomed later.
“Shelley has always loved it,” said Cindy, who lives in Kansas City, North and commutes to work in Johnson County, Kan. “Shelley has a knack for seeing trends right away, where sometimes it takes me a while to catch on and then I go hog wild.”
Red Truck Treasures – named for a pickup their dad drove – was created about four years ago. The sisters bought and sold collectible McCoy china, selling at first on eBay.
“We kept our kids in spending money a couple of good years,” Cindy said.
Now “the junk sisters” have gone brick and mortar, with booths at the collectible mall in Blair’s Furniture in Richmond and another in an antiques-collectible mecca in the West Bottoms.
The Blair’s booth is open whenever the furniture store is, but the sisters’ fourth-floor offering in the old Central Bag Company building in Kansas City only opens to the public the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each month.
It’s infrequent, but hardly small.
“You can see hordes of people walking down from the parking lots” toward a building stocked with sellers from top to bottom, Cindy said.
Cindy’s preference in merchandise is old furniture and other collectibles made of wood.
“I really like the old wood things and I like to make them look new,” she said. “I like to take the stuff that’s chpped and needs paint and fix it up.”
Shelley’s got an eye for vintage table cloths, especially from the 1950s. She also is attracted to buy pieces of white Ironstone china.
“I know Dad liked it and collected it, so I’d say, ‘Dad had that,’ and I’ll buy it,” said Shelley.
Both sisters are Hardin-Central graduates, Cindy in 1978, Shelley in 1981. Like their Dad, the girls’ mother, Sharon King, is deceased.
Their stepmom, Louise King, is still living.
Family ties and memories remain important to both sisters. In October, Shelley had a booth at Welcome Home, her hometown festival. She could’ve set up pretty much anywhere , but placed the sisters’ wares in front of an empty lot.
It was once the site of L.Z. Williams’s propane business where her father, Cecil, worked.
In addition to images of the sisters’ Red Truck Treasures logo, there was a framed photo of their dad with his red GMC pickup truck.
Cindy said her sister carries her father’s eye for – and love of – collectible things wherever she goes.
“She was junkin’ when junkin’ wasn’t cool,” said Cindy.