Share the love. The 3/50 Project.
Today I stumbled upon this very cool grass roots movement to preserve independent local businesses and am feeling halleluia grateful that there are people out there who are thinking what I’m thinking, but actually get off their fat asses to do something about it. I think this is a beautiful, inspired idea and although it’s something a lot of us feel on an amorphous, gut level, it’s helpful to have it all boiled down to the nitty gritty.
In Minneapolis, we are blessed with countless galleries, clothing boutiques, restaurants, book stores, coffee shops, ice cream shops, hardware stores and garden stores tucked away into our neighborhoods like aces and queens in a deck of cards. That’s why we Minneapolitans are all still here – paying more money for less house and putting up with the airplane noise. We stay so we can see more blue signs than red during election season, for the privilege of having the lakes belong to all of us, not just the lucky few with houses around them, and because of our neighborhood businesses. We’re here because we have sidewalks, which means there’s a designated spot for chatting with neighbors and, um, walking and hey, we actually have somewhere to walk to!
Within walking distance of my house I could purchase a pair of antlers, a bat skeleton or a dried Manzanita branch at Leuhmann, a card, a Laguiole wine opener, a diary or a baby gift at Patina, a chocolate shake and a burger at the Malt Shop, a glass of Prosecco and a Walleye Po’Boy at Blackbird Cafe, or sauteed Australian sea bass, parsley puree, parsnips and creamy mussel foam with a side of pappardelle with black truffles at Heidi’s. And that’s just one corner! Also at that intersection are an eco-luxe home design and furnishings store called Casa Verde, an upholstery shop, a bird supplies store, and the very sweet dry cleaner we go to. If I walk the other direction I can get to the library, my supermarket, a massage and acupuncture place called Praxis, and a cute new yoga place called Sigh.
We’re all busy and trying like nobody’s business to multitask – to crank out those errands in the two and a half hours the kid is at preschool. If I’m at Target and I need thank you notes, I’ll probably save myself the trip to the neighborhood card shop and just pick them up. The 3/50 Project is a good reminder to stop and think about where else I could be spending my dollars. Where will they do more good, be more enriching for our community, and sustain the kind of diverse and colorful businesses I want within walking distance of my house?
It’s not about spending more money – it’s about being smart about where we spend our money. It’s about not taking our little businesses for granted.
Here are the three businesses where I plan to show a little love this month. And please, oh please, tell me yours. We all love a hot tip.
Grand Cafe – my friend Lady Doctah K swept me and my knee away for a little lunchy on Friday and I have been kicking myself ever since that I don’t go Grand Cafe every single damn day. It’s been far too long and how, but how could I have forgotten how charming and perfect this little place is? Here is an example of a place that I love which could die for lack of attention – like a plant – and then I would spend the rest of my days moaning about how much I miss Grand Cafe while secretly (and rightfully) feeling wretchedly guilty. But it’s not too late! It’s still cool and unfussy inside, in that Parisian, worn wood, tiny booth, big kitchen stuffed in the back that turns out miracles on white plates kind of way. I had the polenta with a spinach, caramelized onion and artichoke sauté in a beautiful pool of Romesco sauce and it was heavenly. The polenta looked like two huge scallops and was light, nutty and the perfect sponge for the sweet, peppery, almond-crunchy Romesco. Lady Doctah K had a beautiful potato parsnip soup with a swirl of smoked almond picata and a delicious looking Caesar salad which came with a crispy piece of pancetta sitting on top of it like a jaunty hat. I tried the pancetta and it was like a succulent pig and a crispy potato chip shattered all taboos, defied their families, fell in love and had a beautiful saltydelicious baby.
Cliché - my friend Lady Canada (I’ve decided everyone from book club will be a lady), who also happens to be a personal style consultant, told me about Cliché and although I hate to give away my secret gems, I must and will for the greater good. I love this store. It’s totally quirky, hip and edgy yet lady-like. Husband and wife team Joshua and Delayna Sundberg feature lots of local talent and manage to make the store seem casual and almost homey. Cliché’s selection perfectly dovetails with my mix it up, high low, frilly butch, fashion ethos. Doctor Dash bought me a really cool bag there for Christmas by a local designer named NIKI – it was reasonably priced, beautifully made and cooler than any IT bag out there for quadruple the price. Lovey. Love. Love.
Uncommon Gardens - There are a number of lovely garden stores around here, so it’s hard to pick one, but I like Uncommon Gardens because the owner, Peggy Poore, and all of her staff are very nice women who know their stuff. They’re willing to help but equally good at backing off when you need a little space to screw up your face trying to get a mental image of your side yard. There are a couple of cats roaming around, which amuse Devil Baby, and it’s compact enough that I can let the kids wander while I shop. She specializes in hard to find plant varietals and cool, out-of-the-ordinary garden decor, so you could go nuts if you were a real garden geek. I am not, but I’ve always found everything I need and more. I happen to love this garden maven’s beautiful space and I would like her business to thrive like a robust (insert appropriate geeky plant simile here).
Share the love. For more info on the 3/50 Project.