Shops & Business

Many will remember Thursday, September 4, 1941, as the day disaster struck White Bear. A cyclone tore through the downtown and adjacent residential area during midday, when many were not at home.

“It’s a girl thing,” reads a dainty pink sign that has made its home on a one-of-a-kind dining chair.

You may have noticed a new store on the block. John Henry, the menswear shop, is a local collaboration between its three founders: Michele Henry of Primp Boutique, Henry’s brother, Mike, and John Vadnais.

At its 23,000-square-foot commercial facility in White Bear Lake, Grandma’s Bakery uses about 1,200 pounds of soybean oil per week. The bakery used to buy the oil in 35-pound cardboard jugs, packaged inside heavy-duty cardboard boxes.

“It felt nice to hold [the crystal], but I didn’t know why,” explains Willernie resident Bonnie Gurney, who, after retiring from 34 years as an accountant for the state of Minnesota, tapped into a newfound passion.

The Piccadilly in Mahtomedi grew out of humble beginnings as a small restaurant just outside the gates of Wildwood Amusement Park. In 1914, Beulah Johnson opened her lunch counter in the building she had built, located at what is now known as 92 Mahtomedi Avenue.

Where do families go in White Bear Lake who are experiencing difficulties taking care of their most basic needs? The answer is Solid Ground, the nonprofit that has been serving families experiencing homelessness since the late 1980s.

On December 24, 2015, David Miller gave himself and the community an early Christmas present when he became the owner of Avalon Tearoom. Before purchasing the tearoom, Miller lived in Chicago for five years, working as a pastry baker in a hotel, a museum and a cupcake shop.

For just over two years, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church has been serving their Community Meal every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m.

“It’s a mission, really,” says self-proclaimed grassroots fighter Margaret Doran regarding teaching customers about and serving organic, healthy food.

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