The corner of 40th and Lyndale is coming back to life with two more businesses opening in the former Larue’s space this month. The block is also home to Tattoo Spirit, which opened in May 2022, Bev’s Uptown Laundry and Dead End Collective, a hair salon.
Building owner Brian Weedman divided the former Larue’s space into two smaller retail spaces and rented them out to Dandelion Fiber Company, a yarn and fiber craft store, on the corner and Love Token, a vintage goods shop, beside it. Weedman, who has owned the building for 8 years, also divided the upstairs units into offices and hopes to put a tarot card reader in one.
Weedman said he took his time looking for small, locally-owned shops that would be cohesive together in the building. He chose Dandelion Fiber Company and Love Token after talking to about 100 people with proposals for THC shops, an art studio, restaurants and a bike shop.
“The people just seemed like a good fit because they were locals and they had an inherent interest in the neighborhood,” Weedman said. “They knew the challenges of the local neighborhood.”
Dandelion Fiber Company
Lara Valente and Tiffany Sather are local restaurant industry veterans seeking a calmer business approach with Dandelion Fiber Company. Sather and her husband owned Lowry Hill Meats, which closed in June. The friends met while working at Bar La Grassa and have decades of customer service and managing experience to guide them in the new shop.
“We both came from really hectic, intense work backgrounds. The restaurant industry is not for the faint of heart,” Valente said. “We have been talking about how we’ve been wanting to do this, we joke around that it’s like our retirement job, but it is something that’s a little bit calmer and a little bit more suited to our family lives.”
Valente, who is originally from Brazil and landed in Minnesota in 1989, worked as a general manager at Petite León and a buyer for Marigold. These experiences made for an easy transition into communicating with representatives for yarn brands to stock Dandelion Fiber Company.
“We want to bring in cool and interesting brands that aren’t seen in as many of the local shops,” Valente said. “We love our local yarn and fabric stores, so we just want to complement them.”
The shop will mostly focus on yarns, especially on filling the gaps in brand offerings in other local shops, and other fiber crafts like sewing, sashiko and mending. Co-owner Sather and Valente are both avid knitters, and Valente sews most of her clothes.
“It just feels good to make things with your hands and it’s really soothing. In this day and age everybody needs a little calm in their life,” Valente said.
Sather, who lives just blocks from the shop, said that the location was important to them because they want to keep the area vibrant and add to the community. She said that they are doing landscaping outside the building and adding seating outside as well as inside to create a comfortable place for people to gather. They plan to host knitting classes in the shop.
“We would like to create a sense of community and a place for people to come and hang out and learn to knit and feel comfortable and have it be a place of joy and a place of inspiration,” Valente said.
The parking situation doesn’t bother the co-owners. Valente, a biker herself, said she doesn’t mind parking half a block away and is working with the city to add a bike rack outside the store. She also noted that the bus stop out front makes it easy for people to take transit to their store. Sather added that minimal parking is a feature that goes along with owning a business in a city.
“I hope we have clientele who take every way to get here,” Sather said. “We’re surrounded by such a huge neighborhood. I hope that there are a bunch of people who discover it who wander on over.”
Dandelion Fiber Company will have curbside pickup in the cold months and an online store with a local pickup option. The shop will open on Oct. 3 and has an Instagram page. The hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Love Token is owner Laura Reiger’s first business. Reiger, who uses she/they pronouns, has been selling vintage clothing online since the pandemic, and turning the concept into a brick-and-mortar shop was a passion for them.
“I’ve always wanted to open a shop. I’ve always just loved vintage shopping ever since I was small, I always would go to Goodwill or other thrift stores with my mom,” Reiger said.
The St. Paul native has been living in Minneapolis for a few years and found the 40th and Lyndale location ideal.
“It just worked out that it was a really good amount of space and I love the location, so it was kind of a timing thing,” Reiger said.
The shop will sell vintage clothing, some vintage furniture, handmade clothing and crafts from local artists. Reiger has been connecting with artists in her circle and on Instagram to carry goods at the new shop. They’re also hoping to host pop-up vintage events and art shows in the space.
“My mission is to create a space that provides one of a kind items while bringing the community together. I feel like there’s a lack of spaces that provide locally handmade goods,” Reiger said.
Reiger doesn’t confine herself to one vintage era– Love Token will carry 90s and early 2000s clothing in addition to Victorian pieces. About a month before opening, the store was coming together with some gothic decorations including a Catholic grand holy water font.
Coming up with a business name was the hardest part of the opening process for Reiger. The name Love Token came to them when they came across it in a book. She liked it because she thinks of the shop as a place where people can buy gifts for loved ones or treat themselves, making the vintage and handmade goods tokens of love.
Love Token is on Instagram and will open in mid-October.
Revitalizing 40th and Lyndale
The new tenants' landlord, Weedman, also owns Bev’s Uptown Laundry, which he designed in a vintage concept to fit the vibes of the block. He factored parking into his decision about which businesses to place there and said he would consider adding a bike rack.
“I’m hoping the concept is cool enough where everyone watches out for the safety of each other, it doesn’t attract riffraff, and customers view the corner as a destination place, where they spend extra effort to get there because there is very little vehicle parking,” Weedman said.
Dandelion Fiber Company will be open in time for this year’s Lyndale Open Streets on Oct. 8. Their neighbor, Tattoo Spirit, will be having a flash tattoo event during the festivities.