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Julie Seedorf: Community has more to offer than you know

Sprinkled Notes by Julie Seedorf

 

There’s a song titled “On the Street Where You Live.” The first line in the song is “I have often walked down this street before.” The song and line came to mind one day recently when my friend Donna, who is from New Richland, and I decided we needed to visit Albert Lea and have breakfast.

Our time together was going to be short. We both had so much to do, but we wanted to squeeze a little friend time in and we wanted to visit Junktion Market. Our first stop was The Interchange for breakfast. An Albert Lean stopped by our table. Mark is also an old friend, and he was telling us about the other ventures down the street along with Junktion Market. We took his advice and decided to become street walkers.

I walked those streets before but not in a long time, and I was surprised at what I found. I drive by, and my usual stop is The Interchange, and I just glance at the other businesses. On our walk, we noticed there is a shoe store, Plymouth Shoe Store. It reminded me of my dad’s shoe store in Wells. You don’t see many shoe stores on the main street anymore, only in malls or big department stores. We noticed a spa and the tattoo parlor. I tried to get in to the tattoo parlor, but it wasn’t open. I wanted to see if the owner was the same man by the same name that I knew when he was a teenager in New Richland.

We stopped and explored The Albert Lea Art Center. We had a warm welcome by the women holding down the fort. Their excitement about the center rubbed off on Donna and I. There was a wide variety of gifts for purchase by talented area artists. We were awed by the doll house made by Marcella Minear. It was totally hand stitched down to the toilet, which opened. It is not for sale, but for us to enjoy the artistry.

We discovered Whimzy, bypassed the restaurants because this was a shopping mission, and we just had breakfast, but we will save them for another time. To our disappointment, it was a Tuesday and Junktion Market was closed, but we stopped in next door to Just Between Friends Boutique. Yes, we did have shopping bags in our hands when we left.

We visited a few more stores, and then Donna mentioned something she was looking for and hadn’t found yet. I knew where she would find it, Jenny’s Pink Petals in Wells. Our quick lunch had turned into a street walking tour. We decided to continue our small town shopping journey.

She followed me back to Wells. But it was now long past lunch time, so we had to stop on the way to Wells at You Betcha Café  in Alden for our lunch, where Donna declared she had the best chicken noodle soup she has ever had. We were telling the owner, Julie Marschalk, about our journey when a voice at another table popped up and said, “You need to visit my gift shop down the street.”

We didn’t know there was a gift shop in tiny Alden. We walked the street to Someday Isle. The owner, Mary Chicos, describes it as an all-occasion store. It is a cute shop with gifts and vintage items. We did walk out with a bag. We also noticed Alden has a flower shop called Accents, another restaurant called Mine Agains and more.

We finally got to walk the streets of Wells, stopping at Jenny’s Pink Petals where Donna picked up the exact item she had been looking for, continuing on to the Humble Heart and the Clothes Closet before going west a few blocks to Bruss-Heitner Boutique. We wanted to finish our day at the Bean for coffee but we ran out of time. Our quick breakfast turned into a daylong adventure. I guess we weren’t as busy as we thought we needed to be and put off all that work for fun.

Why am I highlighting this journey just a couple of days before Christmas when I should be instilling holiday cheer and the blessings of Christmas? I feel you might hold that already in your heart, but I know there are those last-minute shoppers out there. If you need something unique and heartfelt, become a street shopper in the small shops on your main street. You may be surprised at all your community has to offer. We concentrate on what we don’t have and forget to look for that which we do in our small towns.

Don’t shop ’til you drop, because the best blessing is coming in the form of a baby who was born in Bethlehem. Take the time to find the balance and the reverence of the season.

Merry Christmas, from my house to yours.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Thursday. Email her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.