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MidModMen +friends shop settles into old pop-up art space in St. Anthony

On Oct. 11, MidModMen + friends, which previously had an online-only presence, opened at 2401 University Avenue West in St. Paul.

MidModMen offers vintage and modern home décor, including furniture, lighting, and decorative items, its Facebook page reads. The shop is open on weekends and for special events.  

Over the past year, the space had been used as a pop-up shop, as a part of a collaboration of the Starling Project and Saint Anthony Park Community Council.

The Starling Project brings together entrepreneurs, artists, and small organizations with building owners for “meanwhile uses” of vacant storefronts and spaces along University Avenue during Central Corridor light rail construction, its website reads.

Neal Kielar, who co-owns MidModMen with Jon Mehus, found the space with the Starling Project’s help. 

The 1,200-square-foot space seemed like the right fit, and it helps that it’s part of the neighborhood's in-progress Creative Enterprise Zone.

Several other similar stores, including Succotash, are nearby. “We’re part of this concentration of retailers that deal in vintage furniture, décor, art, ephemera and kitsch,” he says. “Synergy seems to be there.”  

The store plans to stay in the space through the end of the year, though it could stick around longer if all goes well, according to Kielar.

“We’re finding ourselves part of the revitalization of an important commercial corridor,” he says. “It feels like how Northeast [Minneapolis] felt 15 years ago.”

He was pleasantly surprised by the amount of foot traffic in the area. Already, the store has had strong sales. “We’re happy with the way it’s working out,” he says.  

The store is going for a friendly, personable vibe, where “You can hang out and talk and learn new things,” he says, adding, “Shopping doesn’t always have to be about purchasing.”  

“We have a certain aesthetic or design point of view and we love when people share an interest or passion in that,” he says.
Source: Neal Kielar, co-owner, MidModMen + Friends
Writer: Anna Pratt

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