Since I became aware of the 350 Project, two local gems, which I have blogged about, have shuttered their storefronts. I am choosing to avoid the paranoid suspicion that I am a jinx, although I have proven myself to be a jinx in at least one boy girl matchmaking attempt gone terribly, terribly awry – but that is a story for another time.
Leuhmann, the tiny, quirky store at 50th and Bryant filled with antiques, shells, fossils, skulls, feathers, branches, vintage taxidermied creatures and all sorts of other intriguing natural curiosities has sadly closed.
Even more personally devastating to me, despite my blustery threats of becoming a vegetarian, is the loss of Galoony’s, home of Minneapolis’ most toothsome steak and cheese sub. I have been satisfying my cravings for these spicy, meaty babies at Galoony’s since 1995 when I first moved to Minneapolis and to my great joy, had most recently turned Supergirl on to the satisfying wonders of what she called “the meat sandwich.” I will never forget the moment I found out I would be losing my beloved steak and cheese spot – I was eating breakfast in the dining room when I read about it in the Southwest Pages and my shriek to the high heavens brought my family running from all corners of the house. Supergirl felt my pain and joined me in my sorry incantation: Nooooooo, noooooo, say it ain’t soooooo. ohhhhh. Galoooooony’s. ohhhhh nooooooo.
So the point of all this drama? This is for real, people. These are tough times and if we don’t make a deliberate effort to support our local businesses, they flounder and they fail. The last thing any of us wants, is to live in a land where big box national chains choke out the people who are creative enough, enterprising enough, brave enough, crazy enough to throw their hats into the ring of commerce and make a go of starting a small business.
Connectedness, conversation, depth of knowledge, passion, craftsmanship, authenticity, uniqueness, diversity – these are all things you find in your corner shop, whether it be a boutique, hardware store or butcher. Sad will be the day when the only person taking my cash is wearing a red shirt and asking if I want to save ten percent by opening a Target card. So with that, here are three more of mine. Please send me three of yours, even if, especially if, you live somewhere else. We all love a hot tip!
Kingfield Farmers Market. I love all farmers markets, but I was particularly smitten by this one because it’s the one I most often forget about. Open on Sundays from nine to one thirty at 43rd and Nicollet Ave., it’s teeny tiny but it has one or two of everything your heart desires: almonds, tomato plants, fresh eggs, cheese, fancy jerky, homemade cookies, tacos, organic meats, fresh squeezed fruit juice, and a cornucopia of fresh organic local fruits and veggies. There are always musicians and artisans for the kids to ogle and all in all, it’s a quick and easy little jaunt whether you want to bang it out in under an hour or while away the morning, noshing on yummies and chit chatting with people.
Photo by David J. Turner.
Ladyslipper Boutique. Do yourself a favor and slip into Ladyslipper at 4940 France Ave. S. in Edina. Owned by the Bluebird Boutique ladies (Sasha Martin and Allison Mowery) plus my super stylish pool friend Amanda Rose, it feels like you’ve slipped into the tip of a genie’s lamp, were said genie an accessories maven with an eye for pieces that bellydance between edgy and lady-like, chunky and dainty, modern and vintage. Guilted mirrors, chandeliers, zebra rugs, and plushy rose ottomans, it feels decadent and lovely, yet casual and lively. I was not surprised to find that I loved everything, and I mean everything in the store from the killer boots, to the tremendous bags to the one of a kind jewelry. (Doctor Dash: take note, lover!) These girls have managed to pull together an exquisitely edited collection of goodies at a range price points (some startlingly reasonable). I went in looking for a statement necklace for my brother’s wedding and after a bit of oohing and aahing, chatting, and fondling of merchandize, Amanda pointed out some necklaces made by a local sistah named Tracy Bennett under the name Scout (which I love). Each necklace is unique, made of vintage necklaces, bracelets and brooches, strung together in a way that I can only describe as quirky genius. The necklaces are asymnetrical, chunky, and modern, but derive a drapey, sweetness from the vintage pieces of which they’re made. The one I finally chose has two pretty brooches anchoring a riot of silver and gold chains and simply makes me happy. If you are a girlie girl with a bit of an attitude, duck into Ladyslipper and take a little browse. You’ll find your three wishes in a heartbeat!
Rice Paper. Tucked into leafy Linden Hills, this quiet little spot never fails to hit the spot. With a simple menu of fresh and lively Vietnamese/Thai fusion cuisine, it’s the perfect place for vegetarians or those who want major flavor, without having to roll themselves out the door. While the dishes are light and healthy, your taste buds will be shaking their booties from all the cilantro, lime, chili, and coconut love. The peanut sauce that comes with the spring rolls is to die for and they sell it to go, should you ever want to bathe in it, which, I can assure you, you will.