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Couple return to Jeannette to operate Junk for Joy shop

| Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Jen and Rob Kristoff make both their home and their business in Jeannette. Avid antique collectors, the couple has recently taken over Junk for Joy on Clay Avenue.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Jen and Rob Kristoff make both their home and their business in Jeannette. Avid antique collectors, the couple has recently taken over Junk for Joy on Clay Avenue.

New to the City of Jeannette, Rob and Jen Kristoff are not only new homeowners in the Arlington neighborhood — they are new business owners on Clay Avenue.

The Kristoff's recently returned to the area from Hagerstown, Md. where they were both working. Jen Kristoff worked as an elementary school teacher and Rob Kristoff worked as a drafting designer. After the couple started a family, they decided to return to the area to raise their children close to family.

Jen Kristoff's maiden name is Kusiolek and she grew up in Penn Township near Altman Park. As a child she always felt part of the Jeannette community and said, “I really felt comfortable when we found the house in Arlington. It was so close to my old roots; the Arlington Market and the playgrounds I played at as a child.”

Rob Kristoff was raised in Windihill in Hempfield Township.

“We loved the house in Arlington,” said Rob Kristoff. “It's a wonderful neighborhood. When we drove in and saw kids playing on the street that really meant a lot to us since we have kids of our own.”

The Kristoffs also like antiquing and going to flea markets and yard sales.

“For me, it started with my mom. She would take me to Hannastown, at first kicking and screaming, but then things started to catch my eye,” said Rob Kristoff. “Then the haggling started to be a game. I eventually started to really appreciate the history and it became a passion.”

After returning the area, the Kristoffs discussed going into business and selling antiques, but it was Jen Kristoff's passion for photography that led her to the liquidation sale at Junk for Joy on Clay Avenue.

“I went in looking for photo props, because I thought I could do some photography jobs on the side,” said Jen Kristoff. “Then I found out that John and Colleen (Bambery) were selling the business and I went home and told Rob. When he went in and talked to John it was a done deal.”

Rob Kristoff left his job and decided to run Junk for Joy full-time. Like the Bamberys, the Kristoffs have the store, but also offer clean-out and hauling services, too.

“I read this quote that says something like ‘If you don't like what you're doing change it and do something you love. You'll never work again,' and I thought ‘Why not?'” said Rob Kristoff.

“We saw how Jeannette was turning around,” said Jen Kristoff. “We thought the location was perfect. We came into this business really young and we have a passion for it. It startles people that there is an interest in antiques by people that are so young.”

The Kristoffs also appreciate that by being self-employed they can have their children with them at work. The couple has three children, Michael, 11, Tyler, 3, and Logan, who is 6 months old.

In addition to having three children and running a full-time business, Jen Kristoff is creative and continues to do photography as a creative outlet. Her husband said, “The store looks great because of Jen's creativity.”

Rob Kristoff has a creative outlet too and enjoys woodworking.

He also admits he likes to do yard work.

To learn more about antiquing, woodworking, yard work or photography, get to know neighbors Rob and Jen Kristoff or visit them at Junk for Joy on Clay Avenue.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.

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