Funk in the trunk

Sharon Nilsson

photo by kjerstin wood

Sharon Nilsson opened Pepper Grand Coulee’s Funky Trunk six months ago, combining her love of individuality and creativity into a way to start a small business. The Trunk sells vintage, retro and repurposed clothing and accessories for both men and women in a brightly colored store at 1112 Mangrove Ave. The only employees at the trunk are Sharon’s husband, Kurt, and the couple’s three kids, Jonah, 17, Griffin, 15, and Sawyer, 11. Nilsson’s mom, Shirley Mckenzie, is a seamstress and helps repurpose some of the items that come in. In addition to retail, the store is a place for local bands to play and for local organizations to hold fundraisers. Go to to learn more about the store.

Where did the name Pepper Grand Coulee’s Funky Trunk come from?

When I first started thinking of opening my business I knew I wanted Funky Trunk. As I started researching I found that there were a few mom-and-pop businesses around the country with the name Funky Trunk, so I needed to differentiate it. So I decided to go with my alter-ego, and use my “soap opera name,” which is my first dog’s name and the street [I] grew up on. No one else will have this name. It sets me apart.

What motivated you to open this kind of business?

I came to a point in my career where I needed to redefine what I wanted to do, and I thought, ‘What do I love to do?’ I love thrift-store shopping and finding hidden treasures. How can I turn that into a job? When my son, Jonah, had trouble finding cool boys clothes at thrift stores, I thought someone needed to open a fun place that appeals to guys and girls, so I decided I should do that.

What kinds of events go on at the Funky Trunk?

We’ll have concerts with one, two or even three local bands. We kind of push all the clothes to one side of the store and the band will set up and play. We also hold fundraisers for local groups. As a small-business owner I feel like you have to give back to the community that supports you.

Where do you get your merchandise?

People can bring in clothes and accessories and if it is something I can sell they receive store credit. But mostly it’s from me digging for it.