Edward Chesek’s eye for detail led him down a special path. While he works as a graphic artist at Kevin’s World Wide, his love for vintage and his background in design brought him to start a side business, Your Treasured Junk. He graduated from West Scranton High School and Marywood University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. He recently got engaged to his partner, Kyle, whom he met one night when he was out and asked to try on his 1960s-style glasses. They bonded over their style and now live in Hanover Twp.
Meet Edward Chesek…
Q: Can you describe Your Treasured Junk?
A: My primary points of interest are estate sales, garage sales, word of mouth. When people know you’ve been doing something like this for such a while, they’ll come to you knowing what your specific needs and wants are. I’ll look at their items and evaluate them. I’m not a certified appraiser by any means, so I can’t put a true value on it for them, but I can offer them a price to take it. You have to hunt for the right items. I’ll only find items that have a high level of quality to them. Sometimes I will refurbish. I enjoy sharing the experience with other people.
Q: How did you start Your Treasured Junk?
A: Your Treasured Junk was developed because, through my artistic eye and my love for the display of items, I wanted to incorporate both detail and design from the vintage realm and showcase it in a way that entices people. My artistic nature, in general, is what brought me to enjoying a passion for quality vintage items. I find that a lot of them have more durability. The alluring effects of some of the items from a past day is phenomenal.
Q: Where does your fascination with vintage items come from?
A: I grew up in a home where my mother inherited furniture from the Depression Era from her aunt who had passed away. I fell in love with that furniture. I always had interest in the quality of it and the intricacy in the detail work. Back then, furniture was made a lot differently and wasn’t as mass-produced as it is now. She had such a passion for it and taught me a lot about it. She would explain to me about the chandelier in the room and how it tied in with the set itself. Later down the line, she purchased a parlor set that went with the dining set. I knew right then and there that I just loved things from the past. It was an aspect of life that I wanted to immerse myself in. I remember vividly just having that gravitational pull toward that furniture.
Q: Being that you buy items from other people, have you come across any that have a unique backstory?
A: Interestingly enough, the hats and purses that I have scattered around, Kyle’s coworker had come across them. Two wealthy sisters had many hats and clothes. (The coworker) brought them in and asked if he might like to keep them. There were probably 100 hats. It’s interesting to know that someone is wearing a part of the past, and they’re carrying a purse or a pocketbook or something from that era. The memory lives on. Another one is in the popcorn art. You see the Tweedys, they’re made with melted plastic using rippling effects and formed into shapes. I remember as a child going to Chapman Lake in the summer with my grandparents. Every summer, we would hang popcorn art on the fence outside the kitchen window. I fell in love with popcorn art, and any time I come across popcorn art, I remember my childhood and the time I spent at the lake. Every time I sell popcorn art, I wonder what the person will do with it; maybe they will hang it on a fence. It’s a happy memory of childhood.
Q: What hobbies and interests do you have outside of the business and work?
A: I like to garden. I like cars. I like automobiles and automobile-related items. Not just vintage, but I like to go to car shows and collect brochures and magazine ads. Vintage-wise, I love radios; that’s one of my big collections. I also collect watches. They don’t have to be vintage, but they have to be bizarre. Collecting is probably how Your Treasured Junk started.
Q: You alluded to a few of the things you collect.
A: I started collecting watches when I was in high school. I developed a passion for the intricacy of watches. They were reasonably enough priced that I was able to go out and get one when I wanted one. I started wearing and displaying them. I also collected Matchbox cars when I was younger. After the Matchbox cars, I got into collecting real cars. I attached memories to certain items. I’d buy a new car, and rather than trade it, I’d hold onto it. I also got into collecting all sorts of car-related things. As I got into more of the ’50’s and ’60s, mid-century items, radios started clicking for me. It was the best combination of the design of cars from the ’50s and ’60s, which I couldn’t afford, and my love for intricacy of clocks and watches. Just looking at a vintage radio, the knobs, the way the face is laid out, the detailed aspects, such as if it’s chrome or what makes it catching to the eye, really drive me. Not only that, but the fact that it produces sound is great. It has a functionality and is aesthetically pleasing. I have probably 75 and have been really pursuing this collection for the last year and a half or so.
Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped shape who you are today?
A: My mom is an extreme influence on me. She helped developed my creativity, being that she is an artist herself. She always wanted me to pursue my passions and do what I enjoyed. I remember her explaining to me about a chandelier from the Depression Era that we have in our dining room. She had broken one of the shades to it, and she was upset. I remember feeling that same great upsetness over it. It was like a part of history broke. I remember knowing at that point that I had the ability and passion for preservation.
Photos by Emma Black at On & On 1130 Capouse Ave., Scranton, where Your Treasured Junk is based.