Photo by Eric Best

Photo by Eric Best

A tour through Thorp

Updated: May 5, 2016 - 11:15 am

A look inside Logan Park’s menagerie of local businesses.

The Thorp building has brought artists, businesses and makers to Logan Park for decades. The 1902 building complex is famous for bring the birthplace of Art-A-Whirl, but in recent years has welcomed many new businesses, from a cocktail room to a clothing company, to the neighborhood. So here’s what to look out for in the Thorp’s maze of studios.

If you ever have trouble finding the Thorp building on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis, look for the sign outside Diamonds Coffee Shoppe. The landmark café is for many the first thing people experience when heading inside.

You might miss it because its door is downstairs on the southern side of the complex, but below your feet is the Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library. Co-founders Thomas Ebert and Zachary Wefel started the non-profit tool lending library — the state’s first — last spring so local residents wouldn’t all have to buy new tools, they could just share. For an annual fee, members of this sharing economy can check out tools, work in the library’s open workspaces and participate in workshops.

Photo by Eric Best
Photo by Eric Best

The concept, which recently hit its first year anniversary, has drawn more than 250 members and amassed a vast tool inventory, larger than it can fit in its current space. The library will officially relocate to a 1,500-square-foot space on the first floor during Art-A-Whirl weekend. It’ll also have a St. Paul counterpart coming around the end of the year.

Just passed the library’s new space, you’ll eventually find a door to Tattersall Distilling Company, though the new distillery and cocktail room is also accessible via its outdoor patio in the back of the building. Dan Oskey and Jon Kreidler opened the 9,000-square-foot distillery last summer with some ambitious liquor goals, churning out several spirits and liqueurs last year. Oskey said they’ll be releasing a couple vermouths soon, along with their absinthe, apple brandy and a whiskey collaboration with Bauhaus Brew Labs. When Art-A-Whirl takes over the area in May, Tattersall will have two bars outside to handle the extra crowds.

Photo by Eric Best
Photo by Eric Best

If you make your way back to the main hallway, you’ll eventually find yourself outside a big red door. Beyond it is Bodies by Burgoon, Jason Burgoon’s personal fitness company, which has been in the building since 2013. However, the company has been flexing its own muscles recently, opening Torque, a 1,100-square-foot cycling studio on a second floor. The studio, led by Tom Karlson, features a mural from local artists Adam Turman. Torque is hosting unlimited free cycling class for all nurses in honor of National Nurses Week (May 6-12).

Dawn Bryant, the company’s operations director, said they’re putting off a third expansion until next spring. The project will add a rooftop yoga studio with views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline to the growing fitness company. Bodies by Burgoon even endorses some of Tattersall’s drinks so bar patrons know a drink is on the healthier side of the cocktail menu.

Photo by Eric Best
Photo by Eric Best

In one corner of the Thorp complex, you’ll find Tread Light. Lynn Balvin manages the leather goods store, which sells leather sandals, boots, moccasins, belts, key chains, purses and accessories. The company offers its wares at summer festivals and online at treadlightgear.com. Tread Light originally opened as a leather studio, but they figured they might as well have it open as a shop for those who want to stop by.

Across the hall you’ll see that the Minneapolis Television Network recently made the Thorp building its new home. The public-access station, which runs channels 16, 17 and 75, moved its studios to Northeast Minneapolis last year. The member-based community media center offers media training and is open to artists, producers and media makers to create original material. A MTN membership gets you access to the station’s equipment, airtime and discounts on classes.

If you make your way to the second floor, you’ll find the Minnesota-minded MPLS / STP Clothing Company. The locally themed apparel company, owned by Katie Olson and Clint McMahon, announced the move to the building late last year, though they will be moving out soon.

The retailer is known for its shirts, which feature designs inspired from everything from the Minneapolis skyline to hotdish — and even Prince’s passing. MPLS / STP Clothing Company is open Thursdays from 2-5 p.m.. and other hours vary, but its online store at mspclothing.com never closes. You can also find the clothing at festivals and wholesale retailers around Minneapolis.

The Thorp building is home to dozens more businesses, artist studios and clubs, so whether during Art-A-Whirl weekend or any time of the year, a tour is sure to reveal something new in Logan Park.