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Lots of Books & Community Spaces

NEW ULM — Under bright, warm sunshine Thursday, New Ulm Mayor Kathleen Backer and the New Ulm Chamber Wilkommen Committee welcomed Lykke Books owner Brie Taralson and event manager Ginny Walters to downtown New Ulm.

“Brie and Ginny, thank you for bringing us this brainstorming dream. The reality of Ulm Sweet Ulm is just phenomenal with a variety of services to be provided with community partnerships. It’s so inclusive. Thanks so much for your investment in New Ulm and providing more services for our residents, the surrounding area and our visitors,” Backer said before cutting a ribbon and touring the community space and bookstore with the welcoming committee.

An independent bookstore specializing in new adult and children’s books, Lykke Books is part of Ulm Sweet Ulm, 203 Minnesota St. N. The business space was formerly River Bend Business Products, Lambrecht’s gift shop and the original Christmas Haus.

The community space features an indoor artisan market, grab and go goodies from Gutes Essen Deli & Catering and Crush 80/20 and gathering spaces renting hourly and daily. Artist displays are being rotated just inside the front door.

Taralson got the idea to create a community space with partnerships after reading “The Little Book of Lykke” by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Last October, she created a pop-up book display at nearby Sweet Haven Tonics while business space renovations were done.

Taralson said she asked teen-agers what they wanted most and learned they were looking for a place to go.

“I noticed a ton of people downtown on weekends,” she added.

“I realized I needed a building big enough to create community spaces for a number of events and a youth community center,” she said.

On behalf of Lykke Communities, Taralson’s non-profit partner, she applied for a $25,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Safe Routes to School program that funds projects so youth can safely walk, bike and roll to school and use in daily life.

Earlier this year, Lykke Communities was awarded a $24,476 MnDOT boost grant to fund a bike technician and bike maintenance curriculum. Taralson said she plans to use the lower level for a bike maintenance shop this year.

Taralson said she is always looking for more partnerships for Lykke Communities.

On May 18, Twin Cities authors Sarah Stonich, Jess Lourey and Kristi Belcamino discussed their books and read parts of them at the bookstore. Portions of bookstore profits are used to fund Lykke Communities youth programming.

More author visits are planned this summer.

“We sell sheet music. I heard from many people that they miss sheet music sold at the former Meidl’s Music Store,” Taralson said.

Lykke Books Event Manager Ginny Walters said every item sold in the bookstore helps support other mission-driven work including the Wounded Warrior Project, adults with Down’s Syndrome, breast cancer research and creating jobs in Haiti.

Lykke Books and Lykke Communities can be followed on Facebook and Instagram.

The store and business space is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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