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Blog: A Little Swedish Story

A funny thing happened when I was sitting on my parent's deck during a (much too) rare trip home this past July. The sentimental stories and memories of home came flooding back as they often do whenever I return to Roseau. And the creative ideas began to flow freely, kind of like the warm breeze that blew through the old oak trees, enticing us to remain right where we were, chatting and laughing and embracing our time together.

I also happened to be in town for the July visit to celebrate my Swedish grandfather's 100th birthday. It was a lovely event, filled with family and friends and delicious food. There were even little Swedish flags adorned on each of the birthday cupcakes (if only I had snapped a photo... they were adorable.)

(The Karlsson siblings, from L to R: Teresa, Julie, Becky, Pete, Faith & Cindy and in front, the guest of honor, my grandpa, Einar Karlsson)

Stories were shared with the familiarity of the thick Scandinavian accents of the region. I looked around at the faces from my past (and my present), the tiny Lutheran church of my childhood with its stained glass windows designed by my grandmother and was filled with longing.

It was then I pondered, "Will these traditions continue to be shared? Who will be around to tell the stories?" These are important stories... they are the ones that are shared around a kitchen table that capture heritage and tradition... usually told best with strong coffee and baked goods.

Now, it could have been my grandfather's Swedish-ness and his exchanges with our visiting relatives from Sweden or maybe it was the beauty of the quaint little church.

Quite possibly, it was the love I felt from all of these familiar folks. Whatever it was (or all of these things), it inspired me to explore and embrace my Scandinavian heritage. I determined right then and there that I would utilize my creative energy to somehow find my way back home again.

With a whole lot of drive, determination and heart, I will open a small, seasonal retail store in my hometown in May of 2018... but it's not going to be just any store, it will be a special place that celebrates all of the beauty of Scandinavian traditions and people that is so richly interwoven in this place I call home in Northwestern Minnesota. We will carry gift items, decor and a few specialty food products reminiscent of all that is beloved about Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. I come from a long line of determined and successful women and I'm blessed to be co-located in the beautiful old bank building on Main Street, right along side one of the strongest women I know, my mom (aka the Minnesota Bead Gypsy).

I have always been a dreamer... an "idea factory" of sorts. The En Liten Svensk (A Little Swedish) Shoppe is born from a dream and I am excited to share this journey with you. Please check in on this site every once in awhile and my blog for photos, updates and interesting stories about our Scandinavian culture and people.

I embrace the community that means so much to me and I feel very grateful for this opportunity to be back home again at different times throughout the year. And so when you're in town, stop by Main Street and tell us what you think... the coffee is always on and we're always up for sharing a few (mostly true) stories.