There is no shortage of Minneapolis-centric curiosities at Gumball Boutique
Ann Meyers and her dog Pierre are regulars of the Sheridan neighborhood.
The Columbia Heights resident is the owner of Gumball Boutique, a shop of Minnesota-themed curiosities made by dozens of Minneapolis artists, Meyers included. She said the shop is known to pull passersby in to spend more time than expected combing through its variety of upcycled clothing, paintings, bath bombs and sarcastic coffee mugs.
“People come in and say, ‘I’m just going to look really quick’ to their friends or whatever. I’m always laughing like ‘Yeah, good luck,’” she said.
Gumball is located along 13th Avenue Northeast, across the street from Young Joni. Save for the googly eyes on the shop’s bright-blue door, Meyers’ building is a nondescript former TV repair shop on the edge of the business district.
In the four and a half years since Meyers opened Gumball, the Sheridan neighborhood has attracted several more businesses. With the pizza place across the street, Meyers has expanded her hours to take advantage of all the diners in the area.
The shop has kept up with interest in the neighborhood, expanding from a tiny 500-square-foot room to a 1,600-square-foot shop packed with gifts and art.
“Even in the four-and-a-half years I’ve been here it’s changed so much,” she said.
Meyers started Gumball after several years making dresses and other clothing from old T-shirts, from vintage Run-D.M.C. shirts to apparel branded with logos from local breweries and distilleries.
A section of the shop is devoted to dresses and clothing made by Meyers and her sister. Their studio is in the back. Classes are available throughout the year if patrons want to learn how to make the dresses themselves.
The recycled, eco-friendly nature of her art was Gumball’s primary focus initially. Meyers has since expanded her products to feature wares from local artists and a selection of curated vintage clothing.
Recently, the shop has carried small canvases of animals, colorful tote bags and handmade jewelry from local makers. Meyers, once a longtime Northeast resident, said she tries to give local artists a platform.
“I take a lot of newbies. … A lot of their stuff is amazing,” she said. “There are so many talented out there. They just haven’t gotten any shops yet.”
Being in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District has other advantages, such as Art-A-Whirl. Gumball is a popular destination among whirlers moving between the area’s artist studio buildings and nearby venues like the 331 Club or Ritz Theater.
“It’s really like another Christmas. It really helps the retailers around here,” she said.
For those who are wondering, there is a gumball machine in the shop.
Though it sounds cliché, Meyers said Gumball has something for everyone if they’re willing to look.
“There’s so much weird stuff in here. You just never know what you’ll find,” she said.