Around the Corner – 513 @ Mainstream – Pilot Independent
In many ways 513@Main Stream, Walker, is far from the ‘main stream’ of what shoppers might expect in a clothing store.
Descriptions on Main Stream’s Facebook page give hints:
“An upscale, unique clothing concept for men and women, with a fashion-forward desire.”
“A small boutique in northern Minnesota with a truly urban feel.”
Main Stream will soon celebrate its 22nd year at 513 Minnesota Avenue (aka Main Street). Many area residents and seasonal visitors can still remember when that was the location of Walker Hardware and Electric, owned by Terry and Claudette Holly.
In 1999, the Hollys moved their store to the Walker Industrial Park, leaving a sizeable gap in Walker’s downtown retail area.
It was an opportunity that owner Sue Fladeboe couldn’t miss.
“We were looking for a new challenge in life,” Sue recalls. “And [with a] fashion merchandising degree, it seemed natural to venture into the world of retail. [The former hardware store] provided a perfect location to open a clothing store!”
By October, Sue had developed a plan, signed a lease and began remodeling the store’s interior. Over the next six months she traveled across the country to attend trade shows and buy merchandise for the first season.
“By the end of March 2000, everything was ready, and we opened our doors.”
As Sue describes, Main Stream offers a unique line of moderate to better-priced, quality apparel, footwear and accessories for both men and women.
The men’s department is geared toward lifestyle apparel, headlined by the brand Kuhl, a US company with a wide range of products that offer comfort, style and fit for the outdoor lifestyle.
The women’s department offers everything from very dressy apparel to jeans,T-shirts, and in between. A variety of hand-selected items have been chosen from 200 companies
Quality is always the first consideration when choosing Main Stream’s inventory, says Sue.
“And we go to great lengths to find items you won’t see everywhere.”
Main Stream also offers personal shopper service and private shopping by appointment.
The store’s inventory has changed a bit since it opened 20 plus years ago.
“In the beginning, we carried a large [selection] of home decor items,” Sue recalls, “but as our men’s department grew, it took over much of that floor space — although we still carry a few select gift and decor items.”
The mandated COVID-19 closure for three months earlier this year was difficult for financial reasons, “as it was for everybody. But for us personally, the immediate change to our daily routine and the interaction with our customers left an empty spot in our hearts that … was very hard to fill!”
So Sue used the time to develop a website and to take a hard look at the pending season’s orders.
“We had to make many decisions on what to keep and what had to go, not knowing when we would reopen. From a business standpoint, that was probably the hardest part of all this!”
Fortunately she has been able to attend a few trade shows recently and has added some new and fresh brands to the store that should start arriving in late March and April.
As winter turns to spring, there also may also be a few changes to the store’s interior and exterior.
“This is going to be a very exciting time for us, so keep an eye out!”
513@ Main Stream is open year round. Late fall hours are 11 a.m.-to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Summer hours through Oct. 15 are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.
Main Stream’s new website is at www .513atMainstream.com. The store is on Facebook at 513Mainstream. Call (218) 547-3166 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org