Franklin Free Market: A community service or a Prospect Park eyesore?

The Franklin Free Market, situated at Franklin and Bedford Avenues, has become an unusual—and controversial—neighborhood landmark in Prospect Park. Over the last few years, motorists and neighbors have noticed an ever-changing selection of goods free for the taking. A friendly sign invites passersby to freely take from or donate items to the “market.” Though it rests in the boulevard, the heart of the market is in the home of its founder, Ruth Fen.

Continue Reading

Barber Pete Lebak’s roots run 30 years deep on University Avenue

In the shadow of the bustling light rail construction, University Avenue is home to shiny new storefronts, the neon lights of more commercial vendors, and a few neighborhood businesses, which are at the heart of the neighborhood’s character.Pete Lebak’s one-man barbershop in Southeast Minneapolis is one of those businesses. After relocating to Minnesota back in the 60s, Lebak has slowly grown his business with the word of mouth recommendations given by his loyal clientele. In 1980, he told a former customer, Terry Conger, of his plan to move out to Prior Lake. Then, said Lebak, Conger insisted that the barbershop instead move into his own building, so that he wouldn’t have to make the drive to get his haircut. Lebak was reluctant at first, but moved into the shop, which was wall to wall construction equipment from the previous owner. Continue Reading