Just up the road from Barren River Lake State Park, visitors pass by a distinctive, colorful building known as Paradise Point. Visitors can drop in for a bite to eat or to peruse the artwork and the collection of what owner John Erskine refers to as junk.
“I’m a junk guy. I love junk,” says Erskine. “I can’t help it. I always tell people the difference between being on the show ‘Pickers’ and the show ‘Hoarders’ is a store, because if you can’t get rid of your junk, you’ll end up on ‘Hoarders.’ So we have a place to get rid of things. We put it out front. Anything we can put out front that will attract someone’s attention, we’re willing to do it as long as it’s PG.”
Erskine and his wife, Sebrina, ended up in the food-and-junk business in a roundabout way. It started when Erskine saw a “for sale” sign over a boat near Barren River Lake. He called the number and learned that the sign wasn’t for the boat, it was for the building.
“I reluctantly decided to look at the building, and I fell in love with it and I bought it,” Erskine recalls. “And then I had to go home and tell my beautiful wife that I bought a building instead of a boat. So that’s how it all started.”
In the beginning, the shop was only open on weekends and the Erskines had no plans to get into the food business. But visitors to the Lake remembered the building from its previous life as a restaurant and would stop in looking for lunch. Eventually, they added a hot dog cart to appease the crowds.
“The best part about this place is there is an outside which is where we eat and have some art and loud music and quite a party,” says Erskine. “The inside has really morphed into more gifts. My wife loves to do that, and I love to do [the food], so it works perfect.”
Paradise Point is a source of joy for the Erskines, and they aim to share that with their customers. John worked as a chiropractor in nearby Bowling Green for 35 years. Sebrina managed his office. Five years ago, she was diagnosed with a serious illness.
“Sometimes the most awful thing turns out to be the catalyst for some of the best things,” says Erskine. “It made me stop and realize there is a time factor in my life. I’m 61. I feel young, I act young, I think young, but I’m not young. I’m at an age where I have to think about time. And what occurred to me was, how much more time do I get with my wife? So after she got well, we began to wonder about what we were doing with our practice. 35 years is a long time. I had done everything I wanted to do in my professional life, so we decided to sell everything and just dedicate our life to [Paradise Point]. It’s been an amazing journey, and she’s right here with me, healthier than ever.”
This segment originally appeared as part of Kentucky Life episode #2406 which originally aired on November 10, 2018. Watch the full episode.