Junk & Co. antique shop thrives in unique, peaceful place


Robyn Walley and her husband Robert Williams bought the Chapel of St. Panteleimon in 2016 and converted it into a unique antique shop.

Ernest Arico

Once upon a time, there was a man named Peter Karas of Greek origin who loved his wife, Calliope, very, very much.

Now Calliope was very sick and her husband was worried she would die. He was determined to heal his wife by honoring God.

His prayers were answered and his wife recovered. To honor God for healing his wife, in 1992, the husband built a private, family chapel at 5830 North Wickham Road in Melbourne and called it the Chapel of St. Panteleimon.

According to many religious scholars, St. Panteleimon is venerated in the Greek Orthodox Church as a mighty saint, the protector of soldiers. This aspect of his veneration is derived from his first name Pantoleon, which means a lion in everything. His second name, Panteleimon — given to him at Baptism — means all-merciful, which reveals itself in the veneration of the great martyr as a healer. The connection between these two patronages of the saint is readily apparent in that soldiers, receiving wounds more frequently than others, are more in need of a physician-healer.

The name of the fourth century healer is invoked in the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick, at the Blessing of Water and in the Prayer for the Sick.

For many years, the chapel was used by the Karas family for special events such as weddings and baptisms. It was even used as a school for Greek children. It has a fairly large blue dome in the middle between two turret-like elements. Three Greek crosses are on the roof tops and dome.

However, when the husband died several years ago, the family decided to sell the building.

In 2016, Robyn Walley and her husband, Robert Williams, bought the chapel and property and converted it into a unique antique shop called Junk & Co.

The couple collaborated on a very special shop full of hand-picked items from all over the world with a French influence. They have transformed the chapel inside and out with Old World finishes, original trompe l’oeil paintings, custom flooring and an incredible collection of some of the finest historic architectural examples in the Southeast.

The grand opening was held May 8, 2017.

In addition, Walley kept the elaborate stained-glass windows and light-filled cupola as a reminder of the building’s original purpose. But, beyond that, there is little to remind visitors of the old chapel. She assigned local muralist Jean Filipski with the task of faux finishing the place to replicate an antique barn.

The ancient milk truck that is parked next to the store seems to be real, but here Filipski also did her magic to fool the eye into thinking the vehicle is as old as it looks. It
is not.

Originally from Boston, Walley moved to Brevard County in 1992 because “the weather was good” and she wanted to be close to her mother in Cocoa Beach.

Although she originally studied to be a nurse, Walley abandoned that career to take care of her three children and concentrate on another one of her loves — antiques.

Walley said she remembers driving by the chapel many times and admiring its design and beauty.

“I wanted to be as respectful as I could to the Karas family,” she said. “This is a very quiet, very peaceful place. I feel a lot of energy here. This building is full of love and security.”

With the aid of numerous pickers from around the world, Walley has amassed a collection that is a designer’s dream.

“I love the Victorian Age,” she said. “It was a beautiful period of time. I like to specialize in period pieces.”

For more information about Junk & Co., call 321-960-4800.