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Taralson Opens Lykke Books Downtown, Stresses Partnerships

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Lykke Books owner and bookseller Brie Taralson holds the book The Little Book of Lykke, Secrets of the World’s Happiest People, in her new pop-up store downtown. The store is open several days a week in space shared with Sweet Haven Tonic on Minnesota Street.

NEW ULM — Entrepreneur and community builder Brie Taralson opened a pop-up shop, Lykke Books Oct. 30, sharing downtown Minnesota Street space with Sweet Haven Tonic, 116 N. Minnesota Street.

With books, gifts and gathering space, Lykke Books is open 4:30 to 7 p.m. Mondays, 2-6 p.m. on the second and fourth Friday of the month and noon to 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday.

“I was reading a book, The Little Book of Lykke Secrets of the World’s Happiest People, (by Meik Wiking),” said Taralson.

“I wanted to create a space to bring people together. Lykke is the Danish word for happiness. It’s important because the Danish are some of the world’s happiest people,” she added.

Taralson said the book, available in the store, is about case studies.

“My background is in mental health care and prevention, an area that has always resonated with me,” she added.

“Coming out of the (COVID-19) pandemic, seeing how isolated people have become, I wanted to create something that brings people together across different age groups and fills community gaps,” said Taralson.

She said she started with a bookstore because they are community gathering spaces and she always had a passion for for books, but the store will be much more than that with other retail offerings.

Taralson said she plans to move the business in May to the former Kemske/Office Supply Computers & Printing, 203 N. M

ke Communities, a sister entity with the bookstore that will focus on youth programs for kids in grades 5-10. Plans include focus groups and a youth survey to find out what programs kids want.

Taralson is also partnering with Gutes Essen Deli & Catering of Oak Hills Living Center to provide a grab and go cafe out of the space.

Crush 80/20, a nearby healthy alternatives protein smoothie shop, Taralson said is very popular with kids, will also operate a mini location in Lykke Books space.

“Our book offerings will be expanded to include child word books, adult fiction and non-fiction. We plan to open an art gallery and rotate local artists,” she added.

With a new storefront, Taralson plans to sell sheet music and instrument supplies like guitar picks and strings.

“I rented a booth at the home and health show last year to talk to people about what they wanted to see downtown and find out what was missing. That’s part of how I found out what I wanted to offer. No sense duplicating,” she added.

Taralson is Chairwoman of the Heart of New Ulm Downtown Action Team and a New Ulm Area Chamber board member.

Lykke Books offers local books including Chris D.T. Gordon’s “From Survivor to Striver How Gratitude Can Transform You Into A Superhero!” and Angeline Meidl Portner’s “History of the Brown County Minnesota Poor Farm 1870 to 1965.”

Taralson founded Lykke Communities, a non-profit organization focused on intentionally fostering social connections in the spaces we live. It includes using public health strategies to support policies, systems and environments where connection becomes the default, by designing living spaces that promote belonging, inclusion, and cohesion.

She worked in health care leadership for Allina Health in New Ulm for more than four years as manager of physician practice and clinic operations director. She worked for more than eight years for Essentia Health in Fargo before moving to New Ulm in 2018.

In Fargo, she worked as an oncology service line director.

“I was very involved with mental health initiatives, which sparked my interest in opening a store like this. Studies show quality, authentic relationships are the most protective factor for living a long, healthy life. Even more than a healthy lifestyle and good genetics,” Taralson said.

She majored in political science and chemistry at Luther College and has a masters degree in health administration from the University of Iowa.

Taralson said she sang in college choir groups and likes all sorts of music. She and her husband Nick, a Brown County Public Health Registered Nurse, have two children, a seven-year-old daughter and three-year-old son.

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