“You’ll find just what you weren’t looking for,” J. Brzoska smiles, gesturing about her shop brimming with upcycled, repurposed and vintage items in Sequim’s landmark Texaco station, at 154 E. Washington St.
After retiring from a federal service job in Port Angeles two years ago, Brzoska pursued her dream to open a business that would be fun and creative — The Rusting Rooster. As for the store’s name, it comes from a giant metal rooster Brzoska found at Jungle Janes across from the Costco gas station.
“I liked it because it was made like my philosophy of upcycling … using old parts to make things new or useful again,” she said.
Being open just on the weekend gives her time to scout for estate sale and garage sale gems, she said.
“The best is the thrill of the hunt, to find that great piece — although sometimes it’s hard to sell something because I like it so much,” Brzoska admitted, still a collector at heart.
Her philosophy of repurposing extended to the old Texaco station, too. She spent many long hours cleaning, painting and equipping the interior with decor like a weathered fence and a counter she made of three doors. The garage’s exterior was emblazoned in a sunny yellow with brick red and forest green trim, softened with large galvanized metal planters.
“Upcycling,” Brzoska said, “is taking an old piece that’s beaten up and bringing it back to life by painting, refinishing or reupholstering it.
“Repurposing is taking a piece and making something else out of it.”
Brzoska receives creative satisfaction from both. Some of her most whimsical repurposed items are the table lamps she makes from musical instruments like clarinets, flutes, trumpets, trombones and violins, some with shades she’s covered with sheet music. Others are benches and settees Brzoska’s made from bedsteads.
With an eye for design, the shop is set up in vignettes which she likes to rearrange enough to keep them interesting for her repeat customers.
“I had a vision of how it should look and I’ve met my vision for the most part,” Brzoska said.
With its high ceiling and massive glass garage door, the eclectic shop is airy and bright, perfect for scanning every nook and cranny to zoom in on “cool finds.” Although the inventory always is changing, last week there were art prints, copper ware, clocks, vases, basketry, lamps, oak dining tables, decorator pillows, a large antique jewelry box, signs, kerosene lamps, crocks and jugs, a vintage telephone and high chair, wall plaques, an upcycled bookcase with etched glass doors, rocking chairs, desks and a wrought iron bench — and that’s just hitting the highlights.
“I try to find well-priced items so I can pass the savings onto my customers,” Brzoska said. “The store is kind of my hobby and I enjoy people coming in and visiting with them. It’s working out just fine.”
Reach Patricia Morrison Coate at firstname.lastname@example.org.