What is a “picker”?
Looking through an old barn of rusty equipment and faded furniture, a “picker” is the one who climbs in, investigates, and leaves with the treasure. It’s the archaeologist before the antique store; it’s someone who rolls up their sleeves and jumps in get to the find.
Mom and daughter duo Vicki and Jen Kerr chase these finds together, going all-in to this modern day treasure hunt.
Vicki and Jen Kerr, founders, owners, and pickers of Blue Moon Vintage Market
Vicki remembers taking Jen to garage sales and flea markets when she was very little, giving her the “picking” bug early. As an adult, Jen kept it up as a hobby, but devoted most of her time to corporate jobs. She had a stint in tobacco litigation, another in insurance, before leaving the office to lead a successful team of salespeople. Jen recalled painting old furniture and selling it on a Facebook garage sale site…and realized she could make money with a hobby. She had a knack for it, undoubtedly inspired by her mother, who had been a follower of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint for years and years.
The passing of a close family member had left Vicki in a funk, and Jen booked a workshop of her mother’s favorite medium to shake up the scenery. They attended a Chalk Paint workshop in Peru, Indiana. The drive took hours, but offered a chance to connect and ignite a “picking” dream.
Vicki Kerr of Blue Moon Vintage Market in her Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan workshop
Within months, Vicki’s basement was filling, and their picking skills were moving fast. The Kerrs were selling in Three Oaks, learning firsthand about selling picks and the business required. Soon, space became available, and over lunch, Vicki named their idea.
Blue Moon Vintage Market was born.
The space sits right outside Three Oaks, Michigan, surrounded by farmland and two-lane roads. It’s an unassuming warehouse, with galvanized steel walls expanding the space. Entering Blue Moon Vintage Market, you’ve stepped into the living rooms of your creative dreams. Vignettes are set throughout the store, and as you explore, more and more finds come to the surface. Jen and Vicki sell their own and vendors’ “picks” throughout the store, with everything seamlessly matched. One vendor’s ladder shelf holds another’s reverse glass painting, right next to vintage produce tables rescued by the Kerrs. It’s a treasure hunt in the coolest museum, and you’re allowed to touch.
From Friday-Sunday once per month, the doors are open to explore. Jen and Vicki are on the floor, behind the register, and constantly re-staging as the finds leave the market. It’s hard to predict what will sell; one weekend, the pair had lovingly displayed 5 vintage life preservers for the weekend, featured in all of their outreach.
They were gone in 10 minutes.
These life preservers were the center of their pictures shared for the weekend market; shoppers were coming specifically for these. Over the phone, Vicki confirmed there were more left from their original pick. The original find was in Iowa…
This is where Roger enters the circus.
We referred to Roger as “dad” for the first two hours of our interview; story after story about his dedication to his wife and daughter’s business came out in hilarious and occasionally odd stories. He’s the resident van driver, windmill hanger, overflow bay builder, and the man to the rescue when Jen and Vicki needed more life preservers. Without a complaint, he drove the iconic van, emblazoned with “Blue Moon Vintage Market”, to Iowa and back.
That weekend, they sold 32!
Jen Kerr of Blue Moon Vintage Market unveils a lamp from Danielle Colby's collection
The Kerrs spend the rest of their month between their horses in northern Indiana and picking thought Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. The barns and fields of Iowa have a special draw for Jen and Vicki; their market is filled with the primitive finds from the old farms and towns in America’s heartland. Iowa is where they met Annie Sloan herself, and characters like the “Picking Preacher”.
As they tell the story, I can see the passion behind what Jen and Vicki do. The thrill of the hunt took them to an old storage unit of find in Iowa, curated by a preacher. In each new place they go, they are picking with their market and their customers in mind.
Back in April, they opened their doors to a ready crowd. It was packed, their picks were flying off the shelves, and business was great. Unbeknownst to them, their market was hosting a special visitor, too.
It was Danielle Colby’s assistant.
Every interest has royalty, and for pickers like Jen and Vicki, Danielle Colby numbers among their chosen experts. Made famous by the show “American Pickers” on the History Channel, Danielle Colby is well-known in the picking community for her amazing finds and an eye for oddities. Danielle’s picks are available to the public very selectively; her assistant knew she had found one of those places, in a little town in Michigan.
The Find: Who Picks for Blue Moon Vintage Market continues the story of the market contributors, including Danielle Colby!
Interested in shopping? Check out these Halloween picks from Blue Moon Vintage Market!
Blue Moon Vintage Market is located in Three Oaks, MI.Everything is one-of-a-kind, but even after it's gone, it's replaced with more awesome. The market is open once per month, so check their Facebook page for details!