I'm back in Minnesota, visiting our shopping center in Stillwater and doing some canvassing for local tenants (without much success - shop owners are doing all they can to hold on to what they currently have and are in no way interested in expanding). Frequent rejection is simply part of the leasing world. But usually before the entrepreneur turns me down, we chat and laugh, I may even make a small purchase and I almost always walk away having learned something - something about their business, about a particular product, about the area in which I'm visiting or maybe even something new about myself. This is the part of the job I like most.
I couldn't be here and not make a quick stop in historic Stillwater. Here's a picture of the bridge spanning the St. Croix River. It will take you to Wisconsin and is used heavily by commuters. It's really an awesome sight in person.
Here's another view of the St. Croix River, opposite of the bridge above. I think it's a small marina for the locals. The grassy area is a hot spot for a quick lunch for the local businesses and office workers. Hmm...I'd have a hard time heading back to the office. This is where numerous events take place in downtown Stillwater (art shows, boat parades, 4th of July event, etc.). There are also great casino paddlewheels that float leisurely up and down the St. Croix.
And, of course, I couldn't pass up a quick visit to one of my favorite local shops "Rose Mille". The damage done here wasn't bad at all, under $20.00 as a matter of fact! Look, two GREAT cards. One a birthday card for my secret pal at church (I'm fairly certain she doesn't "blog" in any way...and if she does, well, you'll be seeing this card again soon Miss. Jennifer! ha!) and the other a just because card because I LOVE seeing the belly laugh on this lady's face! Isn't it great? Doesn't it just make you want to giggle?! I actually purchased two of these, one to send to someone just because and the other to put in my little pink wire "bulletin board" over my desk in my bedroom. I also picked up the vintage butter pat for a steal. I'm not sure where it will land - maybe on my desk in my room to hold a roll of stamps? And how could I possibly walk away from the footed salt cellar? It's a little hard to see here but the "feet" are gold (plated) and there's a dainty flower hand painted on each side. Just to be on the safe side, this little gem will find a home in the glass-doored cabinet in my bathroom.
I'm guilty of shopping the "big boxes" (Wal-Mart, Target, Harris Teeter, etc.) for the products I need to run my household. But whenever possible, I make it a point to shop my "locals" (independent shop owners, flea markets, farmers markets, etc.) for that something special, that one-of-a-kind item, that perfect gift for someone I think so much about. I want to help support these shop owners so that, for selfish reasons, I have them to go back to when I have to buy for that "hard to buy for" person or when I'm looking for something to help make my house a home. I would encourage everyone to do the same. It would be a very dull shopping world if all we had were cookie cutter retailers.