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'The Dream Shop' features BIPOC makers and artists in Minneapolis

For owner Markella Smith, opening this shop last year during the height of the pandemic was a labor of love.

MINNEAPOLIS — Nestled on the corner of Fremont Avenue North is a hidden oasis in the heart of north Minneapolis.

“Welcome to The Dream Shop," said owner Markella Smith. "This is a space for community; we have a lot of local makers.”

"I was born here and my kids were raised here," she added.

Smith opened The Dream Shop last year during the height of the pandemic, certainly not an easy time but one she calls a labor of love.

"When everything got shut down, retail spaces got shut down, pop up markets got shut down. So, with that, we BIPOC artists, we needed a space where we could have our wears on a regular basis without having to worry about pop ups being shut down," she explains.

The idea to open this gift shop was born, and Smith immediately focused on hyper local products.

“The young man that lives down the street is the 'Bowtie Billionaire,' he has his beard oils here, and an elder that lives down the street, her hand dipped incenses are here and black soap," said Smith.

As a neighborhood space, The Dream Shop also helps connect the community. 

"There’s a lot of violence and negativity in world," she said. "I have three sons and they usually work for me and it’s a way to bridge the gap and reach teens in different work, their friends work and we usually do events in the community like yoga," she said.

It's a reflection of her youth, a spirit engrained in her as Smith grew up in this very neighborhood.

“I had the village. I couldn’t walk down the street without someone saying, "does your mom know you're here," she said. "When you see youth walking down the street talk to them, because it helps bridge the gap," she said.

While Smith says she’s looking forward to amplifying more BIPOC voices inside her shop, her ultimate goal is to expand and open more locations, building a larger sense of community and impact more young lives.  

To find out more about The Dream Shop, visit their Facebook page, Instagram page or their website.

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