Some people are really great at picking gifts. I’m talking, could make wish lists for all of their friends to last several special occasions. I’m decidedly not one of them. It low key stresses me out.
That’s why I rely so much on shops that have a lot of random cool stuff–like Corazon or Patina. Now, I have an even better spot where I can browse, The Dream Shop. Located at 3701 Fremont Ave N, Markella Smith, longtime Northsider, partnered with Folwell Neighborhood Association (FNA) to activate a previously vacant building into a gift shop and gathering space.
As a maker herself, Markella recognizes the importance of a centralized place to showcase and sell the products of local artists, makers and entrepreneurs. This was always true, but especially true when COVID-19 hit and halted many of the pop-up markets or events where creators had been selling their products.
Markella’s dream was to create that space and, in the process, provide a consistent destination for individuals who want to use the power of their dollar to support local economies. But transforming this dream into reality was not easy. It took a village to put all the pieces together from idea to the grand opening. Community really showed up–folks invested through a crowdsourcing platform to cover some of the start-up costs; others signed up to help build shelves and displays for the grand opening, others help spread the word by passing out flyers or sharing the page on Facebook and Instagram.
Of course, FNA played a big role in supporting this vision. The partnership facilitated the physical space as well as connections to other financial supports. In fact, FNA applied on behalf of The Dream Shop to receive a grant from Northside Funders Group (NFG). The goals and impact The Dream Shop was intended to have on the Northside were perfectly aligned with NFG’s community wealth building priority. The membership voted unanimously to approve a $25,000 grant in May 2021 to support build out activities.
The grand opening was held over the weekend of August 21 and 22. The shop was bustling when I stopped by. There was food, music and JOY! The community centered nature of this space was so evident the moment I stepped in.
This is what Markella has to say about The Dream Shop:
I am so thankful for the opportunity to bring something unique and much needed to the North Mpls community! This space is all about uplifting our community members and supporting our local economy!The DREAM Shop is literally a dream come true and I hope to encourage others to go after their dreams, especially our youth!
I left the grand opening with my hands full of scented candles, a couple of journals, and a necklace. Oh, and none of them were gifts for other people (oops). But now I know where I’m going shopping for that next birthday, and you should too!
Have questions or want more info? Contact Markella Smith at [email protected]. Follow them on FB & IG @TheDreamShopMpls.