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What a Year It's Been ~ A Look Back

(Bead Gypsy Studio, En Liten Svensk Shoppe and Local Artisans call the corner of Center and Main Street in Roseau home.)

When my mom told me Artists on Main was closing, I was devastated for her and for the artists that occupied the space. Julie Elick, along with many local and regional artisans, had created a "must stop" kind of place to purchase unique, handcrafted art. Artists on Main was a successful gem in Roseau and a place to connect with friends, nestled together with Brenda's Coffee Shop. When the dust settled after the store closed and after a bit of time at home, my mom, the Minnesota Bead Gypsy, was simply unfulfilled without the connection and the energy downtown Roseau offers. She approached Duane Erickson about renting some space in the original Citizen's State Bank building in town and from there, we were off and running. I had lived away from Roseau since I graduated from high school. As a know-it-all 18-year old, I decisively left my small hometown to pursue college, find a career and start a family. Since moving away all those years ago, I always found the time to visit family and friends a few times a year, but honestly had been quite homesick for a very long time.

As it turns out, the corner of Center and Main Street was the perfect opportunity to come home again and invest in a place I love. You can read more about that journey here. Years ago, my mom gave me a necklace she had created out of an antique silver spoon ladel. Engraved on the spoon is a guiding principle for me. It reads, "She believed she could, so she did." Starting a business is a big undertaking, but it has certainly not been a solo effort.

(My dad prepping the new store sign. The next stop for the sign was with Sheila Winstead who created just the right Scandinavian touch to introduce the Shoppe to the community.)

It was all hands on deck to get the space ready for a new life. It was a lot of work and required some long days, but we're pretty proud of how it all turned out. We'll be starting a bit of a refresh in mid-May, moving things around, adding new products & re-thinking how we will continue to bring unique gifts & goods to the community. To read more about the numerous, wonderful contributors to our opening a year ago, check out that story here.

(My husband Bob has been a tireless supporter. I'm not sure how many spouses would say, "You want to start a business? No problem!")

(A snapshot of how very fortunate I am to have such a supportive family.)

We love how the signs turned out. On one particularly blustry NW Minnesota Day, the horse came un-hinged and was a little beat up. Thankfully Ross H. was trained in animal rescue and the Dala is now securely in place!

(I've hung this beautiful flyer from Roseau to St. Cloud - visiting many wonderful places,

large and small, and chatting with some great folks about our Shoppe. Our dear friend Cindy Baker designed the beautiful flyer.)

We've had many visitors during the past year and we're so excited for them to return, along with new visitors, guests and friends. The truth is, when friends (new and old) and family walk in the door, it's our absolute favorite part of the day! Right before our official opening, there was one very important guest whose approval was especially important to me.

(My Swedish grandfather, Karl Enar Karlsson receiving a personal, pre-opening tour. I am pleased to report that he approved!)

As mentioned, we've had many wonderful visitors over the past year. At the time of our opening last May, we enjoyed a visit from some real-life Swedes! Simon and Peter were the perfect Scandinavian touch at the new Shoppe! We do hope they'll return again some day.

We've also had some special events over the past year, with more events in the works for the year to come. Our mission is to create a place where people connect, tell stories and enjoy each other's company. The old table that sits in our gathering area was gifted to me by my grandmother, Frances Karlsson. It's the very table my mom and her siblings sat around during their childhoods. The table is special and we feel it every time our guests sit down, chat and enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite of something sweet. We value relationships and it's why we're in business.

We are a small Shoppe with big heart and this is evident when you stop in and visit with the Bead Gypsy. She really is the backbone of the whole operation. Between texting, calling and messaging, we are in routine contact about Shoppe operations, things to buy, things to think about and things to do. She is vying for 'Employee of the Year' and I do believe she's got a very good chance at winning.

I clearly remember standing in front of the old bank building after we had just opened, reflecting on the building during the period when John Carter had his law office inside. I'm too young to remember the building in its original glory as Citizens State Bank, but we've had many customers stop in and head immediately to the vault to snap a photo for old times' sake and to remember this special place in a very special small town.

Yesterday, we celebrated our first official year in business and it was truly the 'cherry on top' of a really rewarding year. The artists stopped in all week long, we re-freshed the Shoppe and they donated beautiful pieces of their work for our door prize drawings, marking this very special day. I wasn't sure what to expect over the past year and have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community.

What a year it's been! As the home page on our website states, "We’re a business that believes in cultivating community through sharing and celebrating our beloved heritage and traditions. The coffee is always on, and we are always ready to enjoy a Scandinavian story... or a good ol' fashioned Ole and Lena joke. We look forward to your visit!"

On behalf of the Bead Gypsy, our Artist collaborators and me, thank you for your support and your kindness during our very first year!