When the owner of Hunt & Gather, a vintage amusement store, was a little girl she loved being surrounded by all things antique.
“My great-grandfather came over from Norway and started a general store in southwest Minnesota,” Kristi Stratton explains. “Besides selling the day-to-day essentials, the store was filled with unique, old items that my grandparents collected. What didn’t fit in the store, they lined the shelves of their big house with.”
Kristi loved playing with the aged tin toys and watching her great-grandmother combat wrinkles on her linen sheets with an 1800s metal iron.
“They did everything old school and that is where my love for all things old began.”
Before opening Hunt & Gather in 2003, Kristi worked as an antique dealer, collecting interesting items for others to cherish.
“My booth was a mixture of typical vintage goodies and the weird, out-of-the-box pieces that maybe not everyone would love,” she says. “But that is the best part. Finding those oddities that are a perfect match for a singular individual.”
What made things even more special was that Kristi’s booth was located in what was to become Hunt & Gather.
“The space that I have now was once an antique mall under a different name,” she explains. “When this location on 50th and Xerxes came up for sale, I just knew I had to take the opportunity to start my own business.”
At the time, Kristi was a mom of two under two, so she only planned on purchasing a part of the building.
“Besides being busy in my personal life, the shop was dirty, dusty, and needed a lot of repairs. It seemed like too much to take on, but my husband convinced me to buy the entire building, which I’m so glad he did.
“Over the years, my passion project quickly turned into a family affair with my father helping out and my daughters running around, hiding their Webkinz in different nooks and crannies. It’s funny because just like I grew up in my great-grandparent’s store, my daughters grew up in mine. They are both in fashion school now, but help out when they are home from New York.”
Now 20 years later, Hunt & Gather stands as a highly curated shopping experience like no other. As soon as one enters the landmark doors, their eyes are greeted with a chaotic masterpiece of trinkets and treasures.
“The store is basically exploding with quirky, oddball pieces and anything else you could possibly think of,” Kristi says. “I have 15 vendors who have their own section of the space and then I make up about 50% of all other items. We sell everything from rugs, trophy cups, globes, furniture, vintage clothing, glassware, old polaroids, letters, signage, jewelry and so much more.
“When you come in, it’s loud, it’s fun. We have awesome music playing and great customer service. My main goal has been to always keep changing so that every time someone comes in, it’s different.”
The front entryway is completely redecorated and redesigned every month or so, keeping it fresh and exciting.
“People say Hunt & Gather is their happy place,” Kristi says. “I want to keep it that way. And let me tell you, I don’t plan on retiring so this happy place is going to be around for a very long time.”
4944 Xerxes Ave S. | 612-455-0250 | huntandgatherantiques.com