BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN Wednesday evening, area women had their first chance to check out Lulu’s Retail Therapy, part of Crow Valley Market at 224 River St. in downtown Delano.
The grand opening has been followed by the store’s November occasional sale, which is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, as the store is open the first Thursday through Saturday of each month.
“The grand opening is followed by deer-hunting widow weekend,” owner Melanie Gross said. “It’s always a big shopping weekend. It’s also our big Christmas kickoff. We’re expecting quite a crowd.”
Gross opened the store in April.
“I saw the ‘For Rent’ sign in the window,’” Gross said. “I owned an occasional shop in Dassel for a while. I live in Delano here. It was just a goal to start something closer to home.”
Gross’ personal specialty is repurposing and refinishing furniture. She has brought in four other vendors who specialize in home décor.
In addition to furniture and home décor, Crow Valley Market sells vintage items, handmade signs, embroidered towels, handmade jewelry, handmade natural soaps, artisan woodworking products, and candles.
November marks the beginning of two new vendors at the store: Laurie Schaust of Lulu’s Retail Therapy and Brandon Grochow of My Alaska Seafood Connection.
Lulu’s Retail Therapy
Schaust said she has been in retail for more than 30 years, including about 10 years doing business as Lulu’s Retail Therapy.
“I’ve never had a brick-and-mortar location,” Schaust said. “I’ve always had at-home parties or had items at boutiques where I take items to them, they sell them, and get a little price break from it. The owner of this building knew I did this, and the people in the back were moving out, so they got a hold of me and asked, ‘Would you ever be interested in having a spot?’”
Once Schaust saw the space, she thought it would work, and Gross agreed.
“This is going to be a good fit,” Schaust said.
Schaust also spoke highly of Gross.
“She’s fantastic at decorating,” Schaust said. “Just the way she presents things makes it unique.”
Gross said, “I enjoy seeing all the fun things come in every month.”
My Alaska Seafood Connection
Gross’ brother, Brandon Grochow, operates My Alaska Seafood Connection out of Dassel.
Grochow lived in Homer, AK, a small community centered around tourism and commercial fishing, from 2006 to 2015. During his time there, he worked directly with commercial fishermen.
Through his experiences in Alaska, Grochow gained an understanding of the commercial fishing industry. He believes in supporting commercial fishermen and their families to ensure their way of life.
He actively utilizes his connections in Alaska to bring seafood to the Midwest and educate consumers about the source of their food and who they support.
“I know he’s wanted to expand,” Gross said. “He wanted to get closer to the Cities. There’s a demand for seafood. It’s a little odd to throw seafood into our mix, but our businesses can function on a one-weekend-per-month schedule . . . He does a lot of deliveries in Delano. Now, they can come to him.”