Dave and Marci Anderson of Chaska recently were doing some “window shopping” in historic downtown Carver when they happened upon a new store.
“We come here because we like to walk along the river and see what’s happening in the older part of town; like what new businesses are coming in,” Dave said while standing outside the new Carver General store.
“There appears this store might have a few things that I could use in my garden area, or a few things that might look good on the porch,” Marci said while giving a glance at her now-smiling husband.
Carver General, which is in the former Carver Flowers location at 109 3rd St. E., is open this Thursday through Sunday for those looking for repurposed, industrial and other ‘experienced’ items.
“We’ll be here,” Marci said while Dave quickly added: “With the pickup.”
Those are inspiring comments for Carver General co-owners Ann Alderman and Brenda Stanton.
The two had nearby spots at Linda’s Cellar occasional sales shop in Chaska about eight years before deciding to join together for the new business venture in Carver.
Alderman and Stanton call themselves “frugal friends,” adding that their business philosophy is pretty similar.
“We are both really hard workers and recognize that in each other,” Alderman said. “We buy things cheap and sell things cheap. A lot of people in the business don’t do that.”
The two agreed that the location for their business venture was a major factor in their decision to join forces.
“This store is kind of why we decided to do it,” Stanton said. “This building is historic and cool and kind of accents our stuff. We’re hoping it works.”
Alderman, of Bloomington, and Annette Hentz of Carver, who ran Carver Flowers and owns the building, were college roommates at the University of Minnesota.
“I told Annette that if she ever left, I would be interested in maybe moving my stuff in here,” Alderman said. “The reason we are leaving Linda’s Cellar is because we love this building and thought it would be so fabulous with our stuff in it.”
The flower shop closed in June.
Alderman, a former federal employee, said after retirement she started buying vintage things and selling them on eBay and at large garage sales before renting the Chaska store space. Alderman also lived in Carver for about four years in the mid 2000s.
Stanton, of Cologne, who says her “true passion” is gardening, started with a collectibles store in Cologne about two decades ago.
“I started by selling flowers there and then started selling the things that the flowers would come in,” she said with a smile. “I do this now as a bad hobby.
“Once you start doing this, you kind of get addicted to it,” she added. “The fun part is finding something that somebody else thinks is worthless and we turn it into nice furniture and nice decorations and repurpose it.”
The two said they receive plenty of support and fix-it assistance from their husbands.
Alderman prefers finding bargains at estate and garage sales, while Stanton favors auctions.
The business will be open once a month for July, August and October, twice a month in September, and three times in November.
“We will try to have things priced in a such a way that we sell half our stock during that one weekend and by the next month you almost totally rearrange with new stuff and have people lined up outside the door to see what’s new,” Alderman said. “Those other days we’ll use to clean, shop and decorate.”
There will also be another dealer who will be renting space in the back of the building for her sale items.
“We think we can offer good stuff at good prices to keep people coming back for the next sale,” Alderman said.
“This is a creative outlet for us — the hunting and finding of treasures,” Stanton said. “It’s nice that we can work together.”