One man’s trash, an­other’s trea­sure

Chi­nese en­tre­pre­neur ex­pands vin­tage store chain to Bei­jing, show­ing the coun­try’s in­creas­ing ap­pre­ci­a­tion for gen­tly used ob­jects

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE - By Wei Xi

As time passes, things that were once at the height of fash­ion be­come rel­e­gated to the backs of clos­ets or boxes in the at­tic, but one man has al­ways seen their value.

His name is Yang Han­jing, and he has col­lected hun­dreds of thou­sands of old used items to stock his ji­uwu cang (jum­ble ware­house) called Good One.

Yang has opened sev­eral jum­ble ware­houses over the years. The lat­est one opened for busi­ness in Bei­jing on Fri­day, July 20, mak­ing Bei­jing the fourth city af­ter Xi­a­men in Fu­jian Province and Guangzhou and Zhuhai in Guang­dong Province to house one of his ware­houses. The cap­i­tal is also the first north­ern Chi­nese city to have one of his stores. The ware­house com­prises a 4,000-square me­ter space and houses sev­eral used ob­jects rang­ing from doors, so­fas and suit­cases to cas­settes, table­ware and kids toys, and all of them are decades old.

The space is di­vided into sev­eral sec­tions, in­clud­ing a kitchen, a li­brary, a bar, and a class­room. In the kitchen, peo­ple can use an­tique table­ware to eat a real din­ner; in the li­brary, hun­dreds of old books and mag­a­zines are pro­vided for those who want to read the “olds,” and in the class­room, peo­ple can learn old tech­niques that are dy­ing out.

Yang started his first ware­house six years ago in an aban­doned fac­tory in Xi­a­men. At first, he was only a col­lec­tor of old ob­jects, even­tu­ally rent­ing a ware­house to store the grow­ing num­ber. It was not un­til his cafe in an old rented villa started to have fi­nan­cial prob­lems that he thought to sell any of his col­lectibles for money. Broke and in need of quick cash, Yang sold a few of his vin­tage items and was de­lighted to dis­cover that there was a mar­ket for them. Soon af­ter, he de­cided to es­tab­lish an open ware­house to re­cir­cu­late the old items.

“I hope each ware­house will be­come a mu­seum of the city’s mem­o­ries,” Yang told Metropoli­tan, adding that dif­fer­ent from reg­u­lar mu­se­ums where peo­ple can only ob­serve ob­jects through glass, vis­i­tors to his mu­seum can touch the ob­jects and re­call the mem­o­ries in a space fur­nished like the past.

“It is a very lit­er­ary place,” Aneta, a Chi­nese woman in her early 20s, told Metropoli­tan. She vis­ited the ware­house with her friends the day af­ter it was of­fi­cially opened.

Hav­ing been to the ware­house in Xia- men, she was sur­prised that there would be one in Bei­jing.

“The pace of Xi­a­men is much slower, but Bei­jing is too fast and gives off a more mus­cu­lar feel­ing,” she said.

Chen Pan­jiang, a man born in the late 1990s, said he liked the com­bi­na­tion of mod­ern and vin­tage style in the Bei­jing space. Sit­ting be­hind an old-fash­ioned desk, Chen said he used a sim­i­lar type of desk when he was in school and that the pop­si­cles sold in the mu­seum were what they had as kids. A poster at the Bei­jing branch of Good One reads “We have, love, ex­change and sell all old goods that are more than 20 years old,” de­scrib­ing a project the ware­house is car­ry­ing at the mo­ment.

Zheng Simei, an as­sis­tant at the Bei­jing branch of Good One, hopes to con­tinue to col­lect old items that peo­ple no longer need. Those who give up their old things can get new prod­ucts from the ware­house, Zheng said.

Yang Han­jing at the Good One branch in Bei­jing

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