By Julie Krienke
DELANO, MN From garden accents and wrought iron furniture to unique fall and holiday lines, there is no doubt that Calypso is offering the west metro area something new and fresh.
Pamela Swanson, a resident of Maple Grove for 30 years, opened Calypso in Delano April 29. With the help of her daughter, Margaret Swanson, and employee Doug Schrader, Swanson is currently able to keep the store open seven days a week.
“The reason why I went to Delano was because I went to Catholic school here at St. Peter’s for two years, so I was familiar with the area and kept friends I had here,” Swanson said.
Calyso is located directly off Highway 12 in what used to be an auto body shop. According to Swanson, the building is over 100 years old and took nearly six months of renovation before the store could be opened.
“We started in the fall of last year restoring the building,” Swanson said. “We are still a work in progress, and there is a lot more to come. We are just taking baby steps.”
Swanson’s daughter Margaret, who is 22 years old, assists her mother in the marketing and advertising for the store. According to Swanson, Margaret does a great deal of paperwork, while fellow employee Doug Schrader is a gifted salesman.
“My daughter is in international businesses, and I wanted to give her this opportunity,” Swanson said. “Also, to offer something that is just not available to the public. I just felt the public needed a place to go buy iron.”
According to Swanson, Calypso is a unique store because there are not a lot of businesses in the area that focus on selling quality wrought iron merchandise.
“I will always carry wrought iron furnishings,” Swanson said. “I specialize in it.”
Swanson decided to emphasize the sale of wrought iron furnishings at her store because she is a national wholesale dealer for wrought iron.
“I sell to garden centers and help create restaurant patios, focusing on casual to elegant iron furnishings,” Swanson said. “I’ve been doing that many years, and I decided, after doing so many creative events on my own, to create Calypso have my little baby and watch it grow.”
According to Swanson, customers can also catalog shop and then place special orders. Because she works in the iron industry, turnaround time will be quick for those hoping to special order a product.
Swanson promises to offer customers not only quality products, but also an affordable price due to her connection with the iron industry.
“Because of the connection with my supplier, my price point allows me to sell quality, hand-forged iron at a very reasonable price,” Swanson said.
According to Swanson, all the merchandise that Calypso offers comes directly from Mexico, is hand-forged and welded there, and is then shipped to the United States in a tarnished condition.
“We bring it here to the states, finish it, and sell it,” Swanson said. “We finish it ourselves by using an oil-based polyurethane satin finish. Finishing it by hand gives it the classic, Tuscany look.”
Due to the extensive amount of work that is put into each piece of merchandise, Swanson takes great pride in Calypso’s products.
“What I like is that they are hand-welded and hand-finished,” Swanson said. “I like the look because it’s a Tuscany look. It’s a classic because wrought iron does not go out of style.”
The name Calypso, according to Swanson, comes from a dance that is done by the people in Mexico.
“I named it Calypso because it was the dance,” Swanson said. “It is a really cool story. I love the name.”
Merchandise at Calypso will depend upon what time of the year it is. According to Swanson, spring and summer will focus on garden accents, planters, and other gardening essentials.
“Fall is a huge lineup this year with pumpkins and scarecrows and more interior,” Swanson said. “Then, we will get back into furniture. We have a great holiday collection to show.”
Swanson hopes to keep the merchandise at Calypso fresh and always changing.
“My goal is to change out items once a week,” Swanson said. “We are always bringing new inventory in every week, usually by Saturday. I specialize in wrought iron, but I will be introducing other lines with time.”
There is no doubt that Swanson offers a wide variety of merchandise, as she promises to have something for everyone.
“What I want to promote is that if someone is looking for casual to elegant, small to large, wrought iron or furniture pieces, that they will find it here,” Swanson said.
According to Swanson, the only downfall is how to get to Calypso. Currently, customers cannot come in directly off of Highway 12, and must enter from the back of the building.
Yet, the location of Calypso may contribute to its success. According to Swanson, Highway 12 sees over 13,000 cars a day, making it an excellent location to open a new store.
“The reason why I decided to open the store in Delano is because it was a window of opportunity, and the numbers were right,” Swanson said. “It had the feeling I wanted.”
Besides the two years that she spent in Delano as a child, Swanson grew up in Osseo, graduating from Osseo High School in 1972.
It was at that point that Swanson began her career in sales and merchandising. Swanson attended a two-year course in marketing merchandising at Hennepin Technical College.
“My family has always been in business, and I always knew I was going to sell things,” Swanson said. “I’m a people person and like being with the public.”
The tradition may be carried on, as Swanson’s two daughters seem to be following in her footsteps when it comes to the business industry.
Margaret, who assists Swanson in running Calypso, hopes to graduate soon from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, where she is majoring in international business.
Twenty-four-year-old Natalie has been working in the hotel management industry ever since she graduated from high school.
“I have been in the industry for a long time,” Swanson said. “I needed a new challenge and needed to get my creative juices going again.”
Swanson will host a four-day grand opening for Calypso starting Friday, Sept. 24. Currently, the store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
According to Swanson, Calypso will offer a huge iron sale in August. New items that will be featured in the coming months include an array of fall decor.
“There is a lot of great mediums out there waiting to happen,” Swanson said. “Delano is a great place, and the more stores we can get in here, we can create more buzz.”
With the dutiful help of her daughter, Swanson’s near future will consist of advertising within the Delano community. Swanson encourages the community to stay tuned for upcoming events at Calypso.
“There are just a lot of options to be done here,” Swanson explained. “We are open to suggestions and want everyone to feel comfortable while they are here. It is quality merchandise, enjoyable shopping, and a relaxed environment.”
When it comes to the big picture, the goal that Swanson has for Calypso is simple.
“My feeling is that by quality inventory, great pricing, and a great customer relationship, my customers will come back to me for those reasons,” Swanson said. “That’s what I strive to have.”
For more information on Calypso, call (612) 889-9046 or email Calypsoon12@gmail.com.