Emily Anderson follows her heart. As a child, while her friends wanted to grow up and be teachers or superheroes, Anderson dreamt of being a shopkeeper.
That quaint dream was not fully supported by her family, who steered her toward more profitable endeavors. Anderson grew up, got a real job and started her own family. But when a “For Lease” sign went up in a building in her neighborhood, Anderson saw an opportunity to make her childhood dream come true.
The building on the corner of Hamline and Minnehaha avenues in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood was the perfect location for her tiny shop, which Anderson envisioned as a place where crafters and artists could showcase their wares in a warm and welcoming environment. But it took friends, family and an extended community of neighbors to make owning a gift shop a reality. Through a crowd-funding campaign, Anderson was able to raise enough capital to open HWY North—a corner store brimming with handmade gifts, art and home- goods—in November. The store’s lease runs through March, but Anderson hopes to extend it.
Almost all of the items in the shop are on consignment, making it a low-risk effort for Anderson and her artists. The artists, who are chosen by Anderson and a team that meets once a week to curate the shop, receive 60 percent of each sale of their work. Minnesota artists dominate the shop, a homey space with enormous windows that let the winter sunlight flow through the teeming store. Jewelry cases sparkle in the light, and jars of local honey, hand-painted mugs and gorgeous ceramic vases line the shelves.
Anderson recently created a “Surviving Minnesota Winter” shelf, complete with the Grand Marais roaster Fika Coffee’s Sub Zero blend, mugs, bath salts and soaps, cozy knitted goods and up-cycled mittens.
Through a set of glass doors, a hall leads to a charming community room that is used for workshops and demonstrations on a variety of creative outlets. Classes in homesteading activities, such as soap- making and leather artistry are especially close to Anderson’s heart, who calls these “forgotten skills.” Classes in beer making, beekeeping and weaving are also being planned. A preschool craft class on Thursdays is especially popular.
Eventually, Anderson wants to host book launches, art shows and small community soirees. Whatever the future holds for HWY North, Anderson’s vision of a homey shop that offers shoppers a variety of unique gifts, home goods and original art, along with a hot cup of tea and friendly conversation, has come to life.
HWY North is open Tuesday through Sunday. You can find the shop’s hours and see its long list of classes at www.thehighwaynorth.com.