By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Wooden birdhouses, tequila salsa, bottle cap jewelry, multicolored pillows . . . walking into Aspen Green Home & Garden in downtown Delano, shoppers are treated to an ever-changing array of one-of-a-kind items.
“It’s all handmade, all from Minnesota,” said owner Stephanie Mayer, who opened the shop mid-March.
One staple at Aspen Green is Mayer’s tasty line of canned goods, known as “Gracie’s Pantry” (named after Mayer’s 20-year-old daughter).
“We try to use all local produce,” Mayer said. Recipes are created in-house, such as pickled beets, spicy bloody Mary mix, peaches with vanilla beans, mango lime salsa, pineapple chipotle, and about 25 other flavorful combinations.
A few years ago, Mayer traveled to as many as 14 farmers markets per week to sell her canned creations, which are also available at Lunds & Byerly’s and select wineries.
“Then I said, ‘let’s do a store,’” she remembers telling her daughter.
Mayer lives in Deephaven, but was familiar with Delano because she often met friends at Dave’s Town Club.
So, when she heard about a space for rent at 121 Bridge Ave. E. in Delano, Mayer saw it as an ideal opportunity.
“It’s perfect for what we’re doing here,” she said. “I love the tin ceilings and old wood floors.”
Several artisans Mayer knew through farmers markets sell their wares at Aspen Green.
“It’s really eclectic there’s one of everything,” said Dave Kasid of Wayzata, who creates decorative coat racks and tables from reclaimed wood.
In addition to its regular vendors, Aspen Green also has homemade foods available on occasion, such as fancy cupcakes and fresh banana bread.
On selected Thursday nights, Mayer is planning to have “ladies nights out,” with wine from Woodland Hills Winery and cheeses. She hopes to include other local shops in the evening festivities, giving shoppers an experience similar to a progressive dinner.
Two trunk shows per month are also planned. The first, highlighting an artist who creates skirts from sweatshirt material, is scheduled for Saturday, June 8.
“The skirts are really cute,” Mayer said. “They have a vintage look.”
Aspen Green’s second trunk show, Saturday, June 22, will feature vintage jewelry.
Mayer is enjoying her time in Delano, and she’s excited to learn more about the community.
“It’s been fun, and people have been really nice,” she said. “Delano’s really a walking town; a lot of people have been dropping in on foot.”
The store’s normal business hours are Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment. Evening hours may be added in the future.
To learn more, call (651) 408-4958.