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A grand inventory in store at Hodge Podge

Roger Walker is the man behind the buy-sell-trade-consign operation on Highway 34 West, Park Rapids. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Hodge Podge is perhaps the most aptly named new business in the Park Rapids area.

“We buy, sell, trade, consign,” said manager Roger Walker.

The former John Deere dealership on Highway 34 west of town is chock full of eye candy.

Vintage signs, collectible glassware and antiques are everywhere. The business opened in July.

Bobby Dodge runs a flea market in the parking lot Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hodge Podge is only open two days a week, Friday and Saturday from 8 to 4.

Finding inventory didn’t seem to be a problem. The large building is chock full of stuff for everyone, already, and multiplying by the minute.

Lamps, vehicles, farm equipment (“We’re farmers,” Walker explains), furniture.

He wants eventually to turn the back garage into an appliance store, selling washers and dryers.

Want your couch upholstered? Walker can do it. He’s been an upholsterer for decades.

Need to store your boat in the winter? Walker will begin shrink wrapping boats in the fall.

Want to buy a hot tub? No problem. Hodge Podge sells them new, not vintage.

“I’ve sold a crazy amount of stuff out of here,” Walker said. The handicapped accessible store has something for everyone.

“My wife would throw everything in here away,” Walker laughed.

Last week customers picked through piles of vinyl records, which are making a huge comeback, and other collectible items.

Schwinn bicycles are lined up outside the door.

“I’ve been a collector most of my life,” Walker admits. (His wife would say he’s a packrat.)

(He’d respond with a comment that it’s all good, marketable merchandise.)

Walker isn’t getting a whole lot of sleep this summer. He and partner Jeremy Jenner farm 13,000 areas of corn near Hillsboro, N.D., in the heart of the Red River Valley. He commutes to Park Rapids. Dodge lives here. His wife, Mary, bakes bread and sells it at the Farmers Market further down on Highway 34.

Jenner purchased the vacant dealership and told Walker to “Go make something happen.”

The location has been a hub of activity since then. Walker isn’t sure about winter hours.

“We’ll have to see how it goes,” he said.

But the two days a week it is open, Hodge Podge is drawing people from all over the region, dropping off items for consignment and purchasing others on the way out the door.

Hodge Podge takes a standard consignment fee of 20 percent. Flea market vendors are charged for booth space.

Walker, through his years of collecting, is a shrewd businessman and knows what sells, for how much, and what doesn’t. He is not accepting just any old consignment items that come through the door.

He’s picky that way. But he’s also good at valuing merchandise.

The visible location on the main drag into, or out of, Park Rapids, and the traffic flow into and out of the parking lot, has been somewhat self-perpetuating. People see activity and they stop.

The location is perfect for inventory of heavy equipment, furniture and boats.

A back room holds excess inventory, and for every set of dishes that goes out the front door, Walker and Dodge replace it immediately.

The flea market includes handmade clothes, more collectibles, equipment and furniture. Recycled and repurposed items are features, along with antique glass and antiques.

The phone number is 237-2410.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364