August 6, 2007

Little Red Hen to host grand opening Aug. 23-25 in Dassel

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

The Little Red Hen, a store featuring occasional sales of home comforts, will host its grand opening in Dassel Thursday, Aug. 23 through Saturday, Aug. 25, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“It’s an atmosphere of fun,” said Brenda Rydberg of Cokato, owner of the new business at 261 Atlantic Ave. W. There will be treats and prizes at the grand opening, she added.

Little Red Hen shares the shop with the Enterprise Dispatch, so sales are occasional, not continual. The first sale was in July, and sold one third of the total eclectic merchandise in three days, Rydberg said.

Not only does Little Red Hen sell antiques and furniture, but also linens, paintings, food, jewelry, dishes, vintage items, and plants from Stepping Stone Gardens. Rydberg’s co-dealers are Deb Halonen of Cokato and Shelly Torola of Dassel.

In addition, Little Red Hen provides services. Rydberg’s daughter, Dawn Gillman, is available to paint murals. Rydberg’s sister, Suzie Maki of Hutchinson, is available for design consulting, furniture arrangement and decorative finisher. Rydberg said many members of her family are artistic.

If customers have old pieces of furniture that need a facelift, Little Red Hen can freshen their looks with a new finish.

“I have creative energy I like to use,” said Rydberg, a native of Hutchinson.

Little Red Hen has been her dream for the past 25 years, Rydberg said. Prior to June 15, Rydberg had a booth in Secondhand Rose for a year, so some of her merchandise had been collected by the time she started Little Red Hen, she said.

Her sister came up with the idea of a red hen, because it tied in with Dassel’s mascot of a red rooster. Little Red Hen’s home comforts also are evocative of the “grandma and grandpa,” we all remember, Rydberg said.

Rydberg said she has been told by other dealers that her prices are reasonable.

“That’s really what it’s about. It’s looking for a deal,” Rydberg said of her customers, who come from all age groups.

In conjunction with Little Red Hen sales, the store will sponsor a Community Education class this fall on holiday decorations, and how to make use of items already around the home for them. Halonen will teach the class, Rydberg said.

Rydberg told how Halonen created a holiday centerpiece on the spur of a moment. Halonen put three chunky red glasses, with greens and tapers in the center of the table, all things she already had nearby, Rydberg said.

“You can use what you have in a whole new way,” she said.

Little Red Hen also is a group effort, she pointed out. Her husband, Kent, has a painting and wallpapering business in Cokato, and helps out with the shop. Her friend, Mary Cole of Cokato, and her daughters, Gillman, Vanessa Martinson and Rachel Kurtz-May, help as well, she said.

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