Our Story

The Story Behind the Rust


Founder Billie Eckhardt had a passion for creating custom furnishings from wood and reclaimed materials.  Her life moved her from place to place; she made custom furnishings, taught others to do the same, and picked up antiques (and some great junk).  She brought this passion, coupled with an entrepreneurial perspective gained from her mother, back to Laramie in 2013.  Billie opened a booth at Bart’s Flea Market, a Laramie gem!  She began with two other crafters.  From this collaboration grew The Bent & Rusty Cotton Company:  Rusty and rustic materials for furniture, Bent metal for jewelry, and Cotton for handmade quilts.  The Bart’s space filled, overfilled, moved to a larger space and then another larger space, all within Bart’s.


The Bent & Rusty Cotton Company made the big move to 117 Grand Avenue in early 2014.  Shortly after the move, Billie stalked metal person, Larca Wicke and searched out chalk paint Diva, Lisa Merrill.  The two joined the co-op as did new consignors and an employee.   The product line increased:  rustic home décor, antiques, architectural salvage, custom wood furniture, furs, jewelry, etched glassware, chalk painted pieces, soap, and chocolate.


Love it! But… while the name accurately memorialized the beginning, The Bent & Rusty Cotton Company was a mouthful.  It was shortened to The Bent & Rusty.  The 800 sq. ft. storefront in downtown Laramie became a stepping stone to the next larger space (Because we can’t stop!).


The next two years saw the first of many barn sales (always exciting and a great space for the big stuff) and a move into 308 S. Second Street.  Janet German joined as a full time employee to make any reasonable effort to manage the co-op and became the fourth co-op member.  The basement at 308 opened in the Fall of 2017.  It is a feast for the eyes as well as a view into Laramie’s past. (And, because we can’t stop.)


Passion.  Vision.  Responsibility.


Today, we represent our Consignors, their product, and their story.  We dig and root through garages, barns, backyards, burn pits, estate sales and auctions.  We research and record the history we find.  Wyoming is a special place!  We create, repurpose, and remake objects, pieces, and furnishings that may be the future history we work to document.  We look forward to collaborations and partnerships. Goals are good, after all!


~ The Bent & Rusty ~

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