BY STARRLA CRAY
COKATO, MN “Wow.”
That’s often the first word people murmur as they step into The Vintage Exchange in Cokato, surrounded by brick arches stretching overhead like rainbows, a cozy stone fireplace along a far wall, and blonde hardwood covering the ground.
“We get a lot of compliments on the store overall,” said Neil Wikoff of Howard Lake, who co-owns the shop with his wife, Jenny.
The couple opened The Vintage Exchange the first weekend in December. Located at 300 Millard Ave. SW, the store features an assortment of antique, vintage, up-cycled, repurposed, and handmade items.
“We’re open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,” Neil said.
Although The Vintage Exchange has only been around for one month, the Wikoffs have years of experience up-cycling and repurposing vintage merchandise online.
“Everybody was always asking us if we had a store so they could come look at everything,” Neil said.
Neil and Jenny began searching for a space near their home, and saw a “for rent” sign on the building on Millard Avenue. They called the owner, Gale Posusta, and decided it was the “perfect opportunity” to start their own business.
The early 1900s building was originally constructed as a bakery. Through the years, it transitioned into a grocery store, an arcade, and a pizza parlor. Until recently, the space has been vacant.
Posusta has done a great deal of work restoring and remodeling the building’s interior, and it was move-in ready for the Wikoffs’ business.
“He put in all the stone archways and the stone fireplace himself,” Neil said.
Neil noted that many people have stopped in to see the building, as well as the goods inside.
“It’s been well received in Cokato,” he said.
The store features multiple vendors, with new items on display each week. Shoppers can find unique glassware and dish sets, vintage and handmade furniture, locally-spun wool, old-fashioned toys, soy candles, and other treasures.
Hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To learn more, call the store at (320) 298-2877, email email@example.com, or check out their Facebook page.