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Inaugural holiday Junk Shop Hop will take guests on 300-mile loop

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Cindy Ritteman, owner of The Rustic Flea in Michigan, N.D., gets her shop looking festive for the inaugural holiday Junk Shop Hop. The two-day event will be held Thanksgiving weekend. (Janelle Vonasek/Grand Forks Herald)2 / 6
The Rustic Flea in Michigan, N.D., is just one of nine shops taking part in the Junk Shop Hop. (Janelle Vonasek/Grand Forks Herald)3 / 6
The Rustic Flea in Michigan, N.D., has decor to brighten the home for the holidays. (Janelle Vonasek/Grand Forks Herald)4 / 6
Everything looks merry and bright in The Rustic Flea in Michigan, N.D. (Janelle Vonasek/Grand Forks Herald) 5 / 6
Robynn Ogawa, a partner in The Rustic Flea, helps deck the halls. She says the holiday Junk Shop Hop is the perfect post-turkey opportunity for people to get out of the house for a road trip. (Janelle Vonasek/Grand Forks Herald)6 / 6

MICHIGAN, N.D. — Shop owner Jess Balsdon is hoping this year's Black Friday shoppers won't wear themselves out before Small Business Saturday. That's the opening day of the inaugural holiday Junk Shop Hop, and she will have the hot apple cider and caramel rolls ready at Jess's Junk in Osnabrock.

Her shop and eight others specializing in shabby chic, antique and one-of-a-kind home decor will take part in the two-day event she organized to spotlight hidden treasures throughout the region.

"I live in a super-small town. There's probably like 100 people in our town, and there's all these cute shops in my town and other places, and nobody really knows they're there," Balsdon said. "This was a way to bring recognition to all of our little shops. And what better way to promote our small businesses than to do it on Small Business Saturday?"

Balsdon said she got the idea for the holiday event after organizing two previous Junk Shop Hops in June and September. She said both of the single-day events were wildly popular, and the customers were asking for a holiday repeat.

"The ladies just had a blast," she said. "We had about 300 women come through the last one."

Far and wide

Cindy Ritteman, owner of The Rustic Flea in Michigan, took part in the previous hops and was anticipating a good turnout for the next.

Last weekend her shop already was decked in holiday sparkle from floor to ceiling.

"I get ladies from as far away as Fargo and Minot," she said. "Coming in here, there's so much to look at. Most of the customers say they have to go through it a couple of times just to see everything."

The Junk Shop Hop loop is a little more than 300 miles and includes stops as far north as Walhalla and as far south as Tolna. Ritteman said the two-day event will allow shoppers "a little more time in each shop. So they don't have to get rushed if they want to hit them all."

Robynn Ogawa, a partner in The Rustic Flea, added that Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to grab friends or a houseful of relatives for a day of fun.

"No kids, no husbands. Everyone needs a road trip," she said. "It's uninterrupted girl time."

In the past, Balsdon said some groups even have booked party buses.

"The ladies come in giggling, and they're ready to shop. It's something to do with your friends," she said. "Everyone says it's just a fabulous day. I think I need to find somebody to work, so I can go on it."

The details

Hours for the two-day event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 26. Shoppers who stop at all nine shops can get their maps stamped at each and get the chance to win one of 10 prizes.

Besides Jess's Junk and The Rustic Flea, participating shops include Blu Soul Design, Walhalla; Unique Treasures, Mountain; Fresh Pickins, Manvel; Junk With Spunk, Grand Forks; Nettiques, Petersburg; The Tattered Attic, Tolna; and Elaine's House of Dreams, Lakota.

For more information, join Junk Shop Hop on Facebook or call Balsdon at (701) 305-0483.