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Just beyond the outer edge of the suburbs lies a hidden gem: the eclectic, one-of-a-kind stores on Fremont Street in Zimmerman. Think antique store meets shabby chic meets Minnesota handicrafts, all-encompassing home decor, kitchen wares, wall art, and clothing.

Located just off of North 169 past Elk River, these shops are starred on the maps of cabin-bound weekenders and urban dwellers looking for that perfect unique find. Apple trees are scattered among the yards of the old houses, now redesigned to host each shop, all within walking distance from one another.

Ramshackled Treasures

Our first stop was to Ramshackled Treasures. Located in the oldest house in Zimmerman, built in 1895, Ramshackled welcomes you with an open porch displaying white washed picture frames, an old refurbished chandelier, and hand-painted inspirational wall art. Inside, you are greeted with the soft smell of pine, presumably from one of the upcycled pieces of furniture. Each room is decorated with a different theme, all cohesively neutral in their palette of whites, browns, and blacks. Distressed shelves and dressers, dishtowels and potholders with the state of Minnesota stitched onto the front, and local handmade goat’s milk soaps and lotions are just a few of the items available.

Sassy Bean Boutique

We crossed the street to Sassy Bean Boutique. This shop takes more of a colorful, upcycled approach. Sets of antique collectibles, vintage liquor decanters, artisan jewelry, purses made of old books, and things that might be called “man gifts” like old tool and tackle boxes. Signs that offer personalization and custom orders are scattered throughout the two floors. For the passionate Minnesotan resident, a variety of Minnesota wall art is included in almost every room. A room upstairs is devoted mostly to children’s room decor, a heaven for an enthusiastic grandmother.

Zo Chic Boutique

We were lucky to be visiting during an open weekend at Zo Chic, a traveling boutique with a brick and mortar shop located on Fremont in Zimmerman. The small shop was well-decorated and cleanly designed, with strong contrast between their white brick walls and brightly colored dresses, tops and accessories.They make appearances at different locations around the Twin Cities in their Fashion Truck, as well as home parties for those looking for a more intimate shopping experience. Their hours are limited, but their Facebook page showcases their line and promotions.

Nelson Nursery

Aside from what you’d expect from a nursery, such as perennials, shrubs, potting supplies, and lawn ornaments, Nelson’s Nursery has a great gift and accessory section. If you’re looking to bolster your gnome garden, find a set of salt and pepper shakers in the shape of piglets, or a floral travel mug, you’ve come to the right place. It’s a little off the beaten path, but it’s worth the stop.

Wild Poppies

Massive oak trees surrounded the house, and as we stepped into the front porch it felt as if we went back to a time when those trees were just saplings. Collections of vintage dishes and patio furniture decorated the glassed-in porch. Even the smell felt real, a sweet sort of dustiness. A beautifully refinished dining room table sprawled in the front room with the most darling set of red floral drinking glasses and pitcher displayed upon a mirrored tray. The kitchen, my favorite room, was organized by color and boasted set after set of orange, green, and yellow translucent glass goblets, orange juicers, and butter dishes. A few newer items mingled among the old, creating a realistic feel that made you wonder what it would be like to have these wonderful things in your own kitchen.

Zimmerman Floral and Gifts

Zimmerman Floral and Gifts, across the street and around the corner from Wild Poppies, is a one-stop-shop for gifts. Aside from floral arrangements, candy bar bouquets and balloons, the shop smells of sweet greens and candles. China teacups, antiques arranged with silk flowers, and a surprising variety of clothing are arranged along the walls, and a (real) sleeping Chihuahua kept us company while we browsed.

The Shoppes on Fremont

After a quick lunch at Santa Lucia’s of paninis, coffee, and ice cream, we stopped in at The Shoppes on Fremont. The main floor feels similar to the rest of the shops and is always worth the browse, but for me, the basement is the main attraction. If you’ve ever wondered where those crafty people on Pinterest find their old wooden furniture for their projects, look no further. It was here, among the old wooden crates and chairs, that I stumbled across what I’ve been looking for the last few months: an old bar cart. It was rusty and needed new wheels, and it was the perfect fall restoration project.

The Tattooed Lady

This shop isn’t just for getting inked, though if you are, it’s one of best parlours in the outer twin cities. It’s also a collective art gallery that allows members to not only showcase their work, but be involved the local art community, acquire sales experience at the store, and meet their customers face to face. They offer a great variety of classes, unique and handmade gifts, and, of course, art. Their facebook page offers information on events, classes, and hours of operation.

AshleyTaylor Salon and Spa

What better way to end an afternoon of shopping than a mini makeover? Offering a variety of massages, facials, makeup applications (and lessons!), body treatments and nail services, AshleyTaylor is the icing on the cake. If you’ve never experienced a seaweed body wrap, you need to stop what you’re doing and make an appointment. They also offer customizable private parties at the salon for educational tutorials, your annual ladies night, and private spa parties.

We ended our day relaxed and satisfied. We hope to return on November 5th for “Ladies on the Loose,”  an event put on every other month by the community of shops. It incentivises visiting every store, collecting each store’s stamp on a punch card to enter to win prizes. We didn’t need much incentive today, but it was just what we needed: a day away to unwind, shop, and find a little inspiration.

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By Whitney Grindberg