When their paths crossed in Aitkin, two area moms found they had plans that could complement each other.
Dawn Sabir, a stay-at-home mom for 14 years, had an idea and a name for a specialty children's clothing store. While she researched starting her own business, she took a business course at Central Lakes College and visited area shops, including the Gumdrop Tree in Aitkin.
Cathy Hughes, Gumdrop Tree owner with roots south of the border in Iowa, opened Hawkeye's Coffee Shop in downtown Aitkin in January 2001.
Hughes owned the building next to Hawkeye's and leased space to tenants. When an unexpected vacancy opened in the front of the building, she was encouraged to move ahead with another idea -- an FAO Schwartz-style toy store.
She was not sure the business would make it, but two weeks later those qualms were eased. The Gumdrop Tree took off quickly. Hughes sold Hawkeye's and expanded the toy store.
For some time, Hughes talked about opening a second store in Brainerd, looking particularly at the downtown area.
When Sabir and Hughes started talking about ideas, they found they had two parts of the same puzzle.
Now the two share space in the Menk Building in downtown Brainerd. Sabir runs Tumbleroos, and Hughes runs the Gumdrop Tree. The space formerly was occupied by The Crossing Arts Alliance. Customers can enter each store independently, but the two are not separated by an internal wall, which creates a greater sense of space for both. Inside the two businesses are linked through a gate so shoppers can travel easily between them.
Tumbleroos has four part-time employees and the Gumdrop Tree has three.
Both stores will celebrate their grand openings May 15 with refreshments, a bass fishing game for children, a clown and hourly drawings for gift baskets. Both stores are open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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