COMMUNITY VOICES | Urban Vintage opens in SENA

Linda Sorenson and James Wilson are the owners of 42nd St. Urban Vintage.

Urban Vintage has replaced Diva Rags at 42nd St. and Cedar Ave.

Owners Linda Sorenson and James Wilson moved their 3-year-old store, formerly known as 38th Street Urban Outlet, from 38th and Nicollet during a cold week in January 2014.  “We questioned our decision, as well as our sanity and our ability to fend off possible frostbite at the time, but we knew this was the place for us and we knew we had to jump quickly or lose the opportunity,” remarked Sorenson. “We spent two months doing fun things with sheet rock and paint and, at the beginning of April 2014, we opened our new store, 42nd Street Urban Vintage.”

They opted to move because they wanted a larger location in order to expand and begin selling more furniture. “We were lucky enough to find the perfect spot in Standish Ericsson,” stated Sorenson. “We now have two levels full of vintage and retro furniture and decor in a brick storefront in an area with plenty of traffic.”

They feel very welcomed by the neighborhood. “So many people have come in and told us how glad they are to have a store like this in the neighborhood, especially one that is open seven days a week,” said Sorenson. “Our neighborhood and business association is right next door and the Colossal Cafe, across the street, immediately welcomed us with cinnamon rolls and scones. Yum! We couldn't be happier to be here in SENA.”

She added, “We like Standish-Ericcson because we feel like we are filling a niche here. This neighborhood is so dynamic right now, with a lot of new homeowners moving in and just starting out. So many people are coming into the store and saying, ‘Oh, we just bought a house up the street and we need furniture!’ Vintage just fits perfectly into the homes in this area, and a lot of people prefer to go the re-use route. We feel like vintage is the best bang for your buck, because you are finding pieces that are unique and not mass-produced, and you are able to buy solid high quality goods for relatively little. The old adage is so true: ‘They just don't make it like that anymore.’”

ABOUT THE OWNERS
Linda Sorenson grew up in the Kingfield neighborhood. “I guess I have always loved vintage,” she observed. “When I was little, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' house.  My father's parents built a classic mid-century ranch house in 1959 in Golden Valley complete with the perfect pink bathroom and the modern GE kitchen with the push-button stove. The refrigerator, stove and dishwasher were also pink. The house had blonde wood room dividers, flocked wallpaper, and the requisite knotty pine rec room in the basement that walked out onto Bassett Creek. Maybe that's where I came by my preference for the mid-century, vintage, or retro look.”  Also, her parents restored a 1913-built four-square house on Garfield Avenue when she was growing up, and when that was done, they bought an old Victorian on Minnehaha Creek that was in pretty bad shape, and restored that to its former pride and glory.

“My dad was an amateur woodworker and he typically used salvaged materials in his projects, so that's where I learned about reusing and about how important it is to be green and thrifty at the same time,” stated Sorenson.

Her partner and fiance is James Wilson. He is from New York. He moved here nine years ago after they met online playing Texas Hold 'Em and they've been buying and selling vintage together ever since.  

“We both love the hunt for affordable treasure and we cover a lot of ground in our searches,” said Sorenson. ”The road trips to the middle of nowhere are our favorite thing to do. We love to be way off the beaten path and see the things that a lot of people miss when they are whizzing along on the interstates.

“When we came upon a sign on a lonely highway in Wyoming that said “Lost Springs WY, Population 1,” we knew we had to stop. We found the population in charge of the old time Post Office, where he also had several tables of antiques for sale.  After an hour of chatting and a little haggling over some his old west/pioneer merchandise, we were on our way again, much the better for our stop. (Continuing education in American history is just one of the bonuses of doing what we do.)  We generally come home with the truck and trailer full and... once... a small windmill from Nebraska strapped to the top.”

TWO LEVELS OF TREASURES
Urban Vintage occupies 1,200 square feet of retail floor space on two levels. The main floor is full of vintage furniture. The front room has mid-century modern as well as more traditional antique pieces.  ”We always have couches, dressers, tables, night stands, desks, armoires, cabinets, lamps, mirrors, books, jewelry, and plenty of wall art in stock,” said Sorenson. They also have a cottage room that has some painted furniture, garden things, crystal chandeliers, and items for a vintage wedding. The kitchen nook has chrome canisters, bread boxes, Pyrex, pottery bowls, and fun old cookbooks.

“The lower level we call the retro rec room, and people have really responded enthusiastically to the funky vibe downstairs,” commented Sorenson. “There is a tiki bar area with things to supply your next cocktail party, and the man cave full of ‘mantiques’ and sports stuff. There are vintage trunks, old games, comic books, boxes of ephemera, Playboys from the 1960s, California pottery, cocktail shakers, shag rugs, swag light fixtures and lots more cool stuff. I guess I would say it's a cross between your Grandma's basement and your Dad's workshop, with a dash of Hugh Hefner's billiard room.”

Urban Vintage is located at 1832 42nd Street E. Hours are 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday to Saturday. More at https://www.facebook.com/42ndStreetUrbanVintage

LOOKING FOR DIVA RAGS?
If you’re looking for Diva Rags, the shop has moved to 1530 E. 46th St. Owner Ashley Lauren has a passion for fashion, helping cancer patients, making change in the community and inspiring youth to live their dreams. Browse http://divarags.com.

  • Thank you for the shoutout, but the reasoning behind why I left is due to the black mold spores in the basement of the building and other issues. There's more that meets the eye. It's important to conduct a thorough investigation of facts and all parties involved before writing a story. I'm a bit disappointed, because the new owner is aware of this mold issue. I don't want anyone in my neighborhood to be exposed or to get sick. Although there are issues with the property, I wish the new owner the very best. Peace & Blessings. - by DivaRags SuaveClothing on Wed, 06/11/2014 - 3:52pm

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Tesha's picture
Tesha Christensen

Tesha Christensen (tesha [dot] christensen [at] gmail [dot] com) is a recent transplant to Minneapolis from a small town one hour north, and is writing for the Longfellow/Nokomis Messenger and the Daily Planet.