Special to the Tribune

As a participant at vintage sales, Desiree Byrne saw plenty of fellow vendors, but sometimes very few shoppers.

To find success, she and others created Front Porch Pickins Vintage & Handmade Market, which comes to Tumbleweed Park in Chandler on Friday, April 21, and Saturday, April 22.

“We actually started out as vendors ourselves, going to smaller shows,” Byrne recalls. “One of our priorities is focusing on PR and marketing by making a big buzz.”

Front Porch Pickins is Arizona’s largest vintage market, Byrne says. About 100 vendors will sell antique, shabby, rusty, chippy, handmade, knitted, crocheted, galvanized and farmhouse items, along with custom clothing and signage.

Those seeking something new and novel for the home can check out the custom, farmhouse-style woodworking pieces of Scottsdale Design Co., while La Vida Patina’s boho industrial goods and the His, Hers and Ours Custom Shave Shop’s vintage-inspired safety razors serve as additional draws. Run-of-the-mill items aren’t here.

“We’ve had pickle-scented soap,” she says with a laugh. “We had one lady who upcycled old doll heads and made them into planters. It’s one of those things where you say, ‘I think I need to own that. I don’t know why.’ We have cool and funky items.

“We had a vendor who sold cigar boxes made into guitars, and people who bring old pickup truck beds and made them into benches.”

This has been a passion project for Byrne, who moved from Illinois to Arizona as a teenager.

“I’ve always been obsessed with vintage” she says. “My dad took me to auctions and estate sales. It’s been surrounding me. My dad has a vintage room at their house. There’s always been some sort of vintage vibe going on in my world. 

“The passion stayed with me as I was growing up. I was obsessed with all the different TV shows; the ones where people are flipping and upcycling things. I love it. They always say find what you love and make it a job. That’s what I’ve done.”

This time featuring a car show, Front Porch Pickins continues its tradition of showcasing the area’s top food trucks. Wood-fired pizzas from local favorite Doughlicious are among the culinary options available at April’s event, and crepes, salads, frozen yogurt and other snacks and sweets will also be available for purchase.

The food, Byrne says, provides the perfect opportunity to take a break.

“A lot of people walk through part of it, stop and eat, get back up and keep walking,” she says. “Shoppers should make a whole day of it with their friends. Bring the girlfriends.”

No matter how many people attend, Byrne is thankful for the support.

“If you’re running a business, you have to have the sales to make it work – not just on market day, but year-round. We’re in this together. We’re hoping small businesses. We’re working together to make sure these mom and pops can make it.”

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