A couple of days ago my twentieth publication came out, and it just so happened to be a really fun interview at one of my favorite shops in Minneapolis. I was also fortunate to do the photography on this assignment, and the owner of the shop is so talented and unique. As stated in my article in the Southwest Journal:
When you walk by Piccadilly Prairie at 50th & Xerxes, a charming feeling invites you to come inside. Nestled on a corner that is filled with antique shops, this store stands out as a unique place with its own distinct vibe.
Opened three years ago, it has built a customer base that loves to see what has found its way to the shop. Store owner Lacey Brooker is proud her shop is different from everything else in the area. She considers it to be more of a vintage or occasional store, but it’s actually much more than that.
Besides all the vintage finds offered in the store - everything from furniture to jewelry - Brooker also does custom work. She works on sewing and painting projects for customers, as well as building furniture with her father-in-law, Art.
“I do the designing, he does the building,” says Brooker.
They use reclaimed materials and buy very little new. They find old wood to use, and even repurpose old hardware to put a design together. It gives even newly designed furniture a very unique, vintage feel that ensures that you have bought a truly one-of-a-kind piece. Says Brooker, “When we build things, we want to keep their authenticity, right down to the chains and hinges. It keeps that history to it.”
Her creations have a real richness to them that make them truly exceptional. Whether it’s an old piece or a designed one, there’s a story behind it that makes the furniture not just beautiful, but very intriguing as well. It can make decorating a home that much more interesting by mixing in vintage pieces with your current or new furniture - adding a touch of history and soul to an already established room.
“I try really hard to show people how to incorporate vintage pieces in with what they already have of their own,” says Brooker.
Traveling around the world in her twenties probably helped give Brooker her sharp eye for great merchandise. She’s always looking for fun pieces, often taking trips out of town to find them. Perhaps that is why Piccadilly Prairie almost makes you forget you’re in the middle of South Minneapolis. It’s very reminiscent of a New England or European flea market, complete with a comfy couch and pillows right inside the front door. The fresh scent of soaps and candles, with Frank Sinatra singing in the background, adds to the atmosphere of a different era, complementing the unique pieces. Everything about the store is very intentional, adding to the overall experience. Brooker wants it to feel comfortable, homey, and quaint.
The store also hosts different events throughout the year, including a Paris Flea Market that lets people mingle, shop, and socialize while they sip wine. The next event coming up will be the Piccadilly Paint Party in late August. Brooker will have paint stations set up so customers can do a little creating themselves. Using the Cottage Paint she now sells, it will allow people to try out the special paint that gives furniture a vintage look with minimal preparation time.
Piccadilly Prairie is also another great way to shop locally, and to shop small. Instead of buying at a large conglomerate, the money spent at a small local shop goes back into the community. The customer also purchases something that not only has that history to it, but a sturdiness and personality that goes along with it.For some great little pieces of history, a feeling like you're in a different place and time, and interesting character, this store is just the best shopping experience!
“I really love vintage,” says Brooker. “Pieces are made better with more character. They’re made to last a long time. Now things are made to be disposable. We also like redesign and upcycling, taking really classic lines and updating them into a modern vintage look.”
Piccadilly Prairie has a very fitting motto that fits the feel of the store quite well: “Yesterday's Materials. Today's Designs.”
“Vintage stores and occasional stores are basically the new antique store,” says Brooker. “It’s where antiques are headed.”
Brooker Sits in the Front Window of the Store. (Photograph by CY Hunter)