Meet the Owner of The Vintage Bunkhouse, Kara Burke. Fruitland Chamber 2022 New Business of the Year

By Brooke Curtiss

The recipient of the 2022 Fruitland Chamber of Commerce, New Business of the Year is Kara Burke. Kara and her husband Shawn moved to Fruitland in October of 2020 with their daughter and three sons from Pollock Pines, California. Growing up in a farming community made Fruitland the best place for her family to land.

Kara, a retired 16-year paramedic, first started collecting antiques with her mother as a child. She reminisces that was one of her favorite things to do with her mother. She states she has “always love antiques and picking.” As an adult, Kara started refurbishing furniture and collecting antiques for her own pleasure, to decorate her home, and as a way to relieve the stress of being a first responder.
Kara and her family moved to the 1908 Farm in Fruitland where they had an old bunkhouse building used for ranch hands when originally built. Her creations were getting noticed by friends and family; soon she found herself posting items for sale to the local community. Eventually Kara was a vendor in other local stores selling her goods and realized that she could open her own store and offer an opportunity to other locals to sell their homemade items as well.

Before being able to use the old bunkhouse on her farm property it had to have a facelift. It was rebuilt with all the original material and corrugated metal was added in areas that needed extra protection from the elements. The bunkhouse was only about 200-sf. and quickly overflowed into the 600-sf. barn shop, both getting a makeover and a new roof. It was not long before Kara knew she would need a larger space.

Kara’s business moved into downtown Fruitland in 2022 and has not stopped growing for a second. Her shop, The Vintage Bunkhouse is located at 241 SW 3rd St., and they carry just about anything you can imagine when you think, antique, farmhouse, or homestead. Kara makes it a point to carry locally made products alongside her own in an effort to fully support this community. The Vintage Bunkhouse carries all the following items: antiques, painted/refurbished furniture, upcycled furniture and fixtures, duck eggs, quail eggs, goose eggs, chicken eggs, chicken and turkey meat, jam, honey, microgreens, coffee, tea, soap, seasonings, marshmallows, pillows, towels, clothing, and a whole list of other items, some seasonal.

As far as receiving the award for New Business of the Year from the Fruitland Chamber of Commerce, Kara says “I was blessed and honored to receive it.” She continues “I did not think a lot of it during voting because there were so many great businesses that deserved it. And it really is not just me, we wouldn’t be successful without my husband’s help and all the vendors.” Kara says she was really surprised but most of all “blessed and honored.”

Next time you are in downtown Fruitland visit The Vintage Bunkhouse and say hello to Kara. We were told there is yet another expansion coming soon.

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