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Grand Opening for Lykke Books 5.18.24 - A Novel Success!


NEW ULM — Brie Taralson dreams big. On Saturday, the grand opening of Lykke Books will highlight her evolving community space in downtown New Ulm. Located at 203 North Minnesota Street, it’s another of a growing list of young entrepreneurs who are developing storefronts in that historic Brown County community.


“It’s just great to be downtown with everything going on here,” Taralson said, taking a breather from a busy week, which began with a soft opening May 11. “The space is intended to be a community gathering spot.”


Taralson first considered such a cooperative venture in fall of 2021 after picking up a

book by Meik Wiking, “The Little Book of Lykke,” which focused on the Danish word for happiness. And in Taralson’s way of thinking, “because happiness through relationship building is at the core of what I’m trying to create.”


Her idea morphed into a pop-up book display in October 2023 with another recent downtown business venture, Sweet Haven Tonics, as she waited for renovations to her current building.



Taralson’s independent bookstore occupies only a fraction of the store’s 7,500 square feet, which formerly housed Riverbend Business Products. The northern portion of the building was part of the former Lambrecht’s gift shop, with remnants of that decor still present. But ironically, Taralson says the bookstore part of the building isn’t her primary passion. “It wasn’t to start a bookstore,” she said. “It’s a way for us to share actual costs and a way to take advantage of foot traffic.”


While Taralson is the founder and owner of Lykke Books, other creative concepts will join her. The small deli cafe will be operated by the Oak Hills Living Center catering department called Gutes Essen. And the New Ulm-based juice shop, Crush 80-20, which features a Herbalife smoothie bar, also will partner with Taralson’s building space.


The northeast corner of the building is planned as an artists’ space, and Taralson is hoping to eventually connect with artistic youths to display their talents. Already, the shared space is serving as a safe place for New Ulm area youth.



“We’re the location for our youth community center,” said Taralson, encouraging adolescent and middle school aged individuals to attend the volunteer-led effort.


Taralson has established extensive hours for that reason, offering the shared community space. Current hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Due to the extended hours, Taralson employs a staff of eight.


For now, the building’s nearly equally sized basement space will stay vacant, but Taralson says it’s in great shape and plans are already in the making to utilize a portion of it as a youth-led bike repair project. Taralson’s partner nonprofit organization, Lykke Communities, is seeking a $25,000 grant to launch the effort, which would include a bike tech program.


Community art projects will be on Taralson’s dream list, including an art installation project to beautify “the staircase to nowhere” in the heart of the building. The upstairs is closed off, occupied by a law firm and utilized for document storage, she said.





But there’s also outdoor space on the building’s east side and Taralson said she’s hoping to eventually provide some sitting space and a potential community art project.

There’s also a rentable multi-purpose event space that can be closed off from the main-floor attractions.


For now, the building’s nearly equally sized basement space will stay vacant, but Taralson says it’s in great shape and plans are already in the making to utilize a portion of it as a youth-led bike repair project. Taralson’s partner nonprofit organization, Lykke Communities, is seeking a $25,000 grant to launch the effort, which would include a bike tech program.


Community art projects will be on Taralson’s dream list, including an art installation project to beautify “the staircase to nowhere” in the heart of the building. The upstairs is closed off, occupied by a law firm and utilized for document storage, she said.





But there’s also outdoor space on the building’s east side and Taralson said she’s hoping to eventually provide some sitting space and a potential community art project.

There’s also a rentable multi-purpose event space that can be closed off from the main-floor attractions.


“I have lots of dreams,” Taralson said. “I just have to get through this (grand opening).”

Saturday’s grand opening


A highlight will be a two-book reading from the famous native New Ulm children’s author and illustrator, Wanda Gag, in partnership with the Wanda Gag House Associates organization. Gag’s celebrated 1928 book, “Millions of Cats,” won the Newbery Honor award in 1929. Also Gag’s “Nothing at All” will be read.


Moving to the historic Gag House at 206 North Washington in New Ulm, there’ll be a “cat make-and-take” for children who’ll be able to create a wooden ornament cat figure.

From 4-5:30 p.m., back at Lykke Books, will be “a fireside chat” session with three Minnesota authors: Sarah Stonich, Jess Lourey and Kristi Belcamino.


Pre-registration is required with a suggested donation for tickets of $5. People may register online at lykkebooks.com or at the business prior to the event.

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