It is a day that will live in infamy: the day I came home from a day of antique shopping with a nine-foot long plane rudder repurposed to resemble a shark. It was an impulse purchase. That’s the only excuse I can offer.
What I’ve discovered after moving from Nebraska to the Twin Cities is what a vibrant antique life there is Minnesota. I’m pretty big into garage and estate sales myself, but when winter rolls around, people seal off their homes. What’s a thrifter to do?
Thankfully I learned about the antique stores in the area and began to explore a whole row of them lining Selby Ave. in St. Paul. Here’s a guide to a local strip of antique stores and where to get your power snacks in between each stop.
Where to Power Up:
Cahoots Coffee Bar
Classified as quaint and casual by locals, Cahoots Coffee Bar offers everything you’re looking for in a coffee shop. Prep for a day of digging through antiques by grabbing an “Iced Thai” or “Moshpit.” Cahoots’ medium roast coffee is a must-try.
Blue Door Pub
Blue Door is home to a delicious assortment of burgers and beer. I personally recommend the Bacon Blucy with a side of Cajun tots. When Mother Nature allows, outdoor seating is the way to go. Fresh air, a juicy burger, and some fries are all you need after a day of antiquing. (I would not recommend eating here before shopping. If you do, apply the same rules as swimming—wait thirty minutes before diving in.)
Where to Shop:
The Mall of St. Paul
The original home of my wonderfully useless plane rudder, the Mall of St. Paul is an archive for the lost-and-forgotten, containing treasures just waiting to be snapped up. The antique store offers a huge variety of antique furniture, jewelry, clothing, and boxes filled to the brims with vintage vinyl records. The store’s supply is so extensive that I was able to complete almost all my Christmas shopping here—a vintage Gophers flag for my dad, and my lucky brother got the plane rudder.
When I reached out to the Mall, owner Bill Poynton actually remembered helping me load my plane rudder into the back of our Buick. He reminisced, “We’ve been here for over 20 years, and it’s amazing the number of items that come across the counter. We have everything from mid-century to mid-nineteenth century, and it’s not like we’re straight furniture or straight this or that.”
Mason’s shark plane rudder. Photo supplied.
Missouri Mouse Antiques
A deceptively large antique store, Missouri Mouse Antiques is stacked high with vintage antiques. Like the Mall, Missouri Mouse Antiques offers a broad selection of pieces, ranging from collectible glass, to old books, to refinished dining room tables. The shop is organized and well stocked at all times. Right now, the store has a basket that was made in a prison, as well as an original Chicago World’s Fair poster from the 1933.
When globes started to make a comeback in home décor, I scoured the store and found not one, but three beautiful antique globes. My favorite turned out to be a rather unique, black globe complete with a solid shelf stand with the capacity to hold three books on its ledge. Just imagine how bummed I was when I saw the big number on the price tag. The prices are a bit steeper than the Mall, but the overall quality of the items is rather impressive.
Everyday People Clothing Exchange
This is by far my favorite place to shop. Everyday People is a local thrift shop that buys and sells gently used, trendy clothes, accessories, and shoes. It’s affordable and adorable all at once. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve bought not one, but two charming coats from Everyday People this season (I don’t think you can blame me—it’s winter in Minnesota, after all)
Everyday People’s racks overflow with vintage band t-shirts, blouses, sweaters, skinny jeans, and bootcut jeans. They offer Ralph Lauren Polo men’s dress shirts for quite a discounted price. I once found a Free People sweater retailing for a whopping $50 or $60, for only $10.
Thrifting can be a fabulous way to discover great finds without breaking the bank. I think everyone can appreciate a good buy when they see one. Possibly take a friend along to make sure you make smart decisions. (Anyone in the market for a nine-foot long plane rudder?)
Inside of Everyday People