A ‘Lil’ Gift Shop’ opens in downtown Delano

November 26, 2007

By Kelsey Linden
Staff Writer

Often, many contemplate what they might like to do during their retirement years.

Some move to Arizona or Florida and enjoy the sunshine, however Caroll Solberg wanted to own a little gift and speciality shop.

For Solberg, Delano is the ideal location for her gift shop.

Born and raised Grand Rapids, Solberg came to Minneapolis in 1963 to work at a car dealership, before being offered the job of a lifetime at KARE 11.

At KARE 11, Solberg worked her first 10 years as an accountant, and eventually was promoted to work under the community relations department.

She was in charge of the “Eleven Who Care” program for the following 25 years, where she did a lot of work with schools, health care, and various charities.

“It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it,” Solberg said about her experiences at KARE 11. “I kind of evolved the community relations department. The people were great.”

Even before she retired from the station, Solberg already knew that she wanted to have her own gift shop. The problem was finding the right location.

For a while, Solberg had set up her shop in Watertown, and also moved to Mound. Nothing seemed to fit for her, until she stumbled upon a sale sign in Delano with just the right amount of space.

Located in downtown on Bridge Avenue was an empty space. Solberg took one look at the place and fell in love.

On September 13, Lil’ Gift Shop officially opened. Intrigued, many customers came in the first day of business. Finally, dreams were coming true for Solberg.

When asked how she felt about Delano, Solberg replied, “I love the people and the town. So far, people have really liked what we’ve got and said that they’re all going to come back. I keep trying to add new things.”

Features Lil’ Gift Shop offers include embroidered dish towels, fun kitchen supplies, creative colors, kitchen cozies, candles, baby supplies, reversible baby blankets, hand knit blankets, kids toys, handmade jewelry, Christmas ornaments, German Ingle glass ornaments, and much more.

Solberg herself does all the crocheting and knitting, but she admits that the store would not be a success without her partner and former daughter-in-law Sherry Say, who does all the custom embroidery.

“I couldn’t ask for a better former daughter-in-law,” Solberg said with a smile. “People don’t think that it would work, but we have a great relationship.”

“I like to think that we are the kind of store that people will come to because we have quality products at reasonable prices,” she said. “We also have unique items that our leading competitors don’t have. With gas prices being so high, I would hope that people would try to find a gift here before making a drive out to the cities. If people want something, I’ll try to get it. There’s something for everyone.”

Also, Lil’ Gift Shop is more than willing to do consignments.

“We would love to have people come in, talk to us, and see what they have so we can work out a deal. It would be a great venue for them,” said Solberg.

Solberg said the community has been very friendly.

“The traffic on the street and the people that walk blows my mind. In the city, people go in and out, not here,” she said. “It’s kind of been a little dream of mine to have this shop. I just love this place. It’s warm, cozy and welcoming.”

Lil’ Gift Shop plans to be open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. through December 22. Since Solberg lives in St. Louis Park, she will only open her store on Saturdays during the remainder of the winter season, as it will be harder for her to commute back and forth.

Lil Gift Shop, located at 121 Bridge Avenue East, can be reached at (763) 972-3338, or online at www.lilgiftshop.biz.