For more than 80 years, three generations of the Minsberg family have overseen Creative Lighting’s bright, well-stocked showroom, where attentive consultants help illuminate dark dwellings with a selection of hundreds of ceiling lights, lamps, and other twinkling light fixtures. Deftly navigating the sea of ornate, glowing décor, they work to engineer thoughtful solutions for customers’ specific lighting needs for interiors and exteriors. A resident squadron of trained designers also helps devise custom lighting plans, and further extends their interior-design wisdom with a collection of mirrors and wall art.
Creative Lighting vows to keep its inventory affordable through a best-price guarantee, and stocks its website with helpful decorating hints and tips, such as what to do when a cluster of fireflies swarms upon a wall sconce thinking it’s their mothership.
Though it advertises itself as the largest no-kill shelter in the Twin Cities, Animal Ark’s homey facility seems more like a relaxing retreat for the more than 1,000 homeless cats, dogs, and rabbits that come through its doors each year. Cats bask in sunlight within feline apartments as dogs lounge atop soft raised beds in their own spacious kennels, sinking teeth into chew toys and treats. Of course, time at Animal Ark isn't all leisure. Canines awaiting their forever homes stretch their legs across a large outdoor play yard, aptly named the Ark Park, where ample trees and greenery mix with park benches where dogs can train their human friends to sit.
Potential owners can also get to know adoptable pets online. The website posts a first-person profile of each available animal that lists its breed, personality, and master’s degrees.
Googly eyes. Gas masks. Mannequin arms. Blowguns. Ax-Man Surplus Stores dares crafters, DIY enthusiasts, and tinkerers of all stripes to dream bigger, better, and weirder with an enormous stock of new surplus items. Each shop's collection of oddities and odds-and-ends resides in open-air barrels and on easily browseable shelves. Bins entice shoppers to rummage through metal bits in search of the next piece to a welded sculpture, and other aisles hold several decades? worth of electronic wiring, fans, speakers, and fuses, perfect for building a robot that every generation can relate to. Frequent shoppers are rewarded with a new truckload of treasures every week, along with an ever-changing collection of signs that artistically warn of the hazards of shoplifting and suggest off-label uses for the merchandise.
In the midst of an industry so saturated in emerging technology that fierce competition is law, the Twin Cities Photography Group operates as a cooperative to nurture the artistic development and technical skills of amateur and professional photographers. To expand the photographic community and foster a passion for creativity, the group keeps a clean studio space for picture snappers to host shoots and workshops.
Skilled instructors educate the public on basic photography fundamentals and camera-specific tips that allow students to get the most from advanced equipment without threatening to cut its weekly allowance. Regular meet ups assemble members for photo walks at area parks and photogenic seasonal events, such as air shows and free outdoor concerts.
At Abbott Paint, dwellers seeking to bedeck humble abodes can choose from an array of colorfying products, such as paints, varnishes, stains, and carpet. Buyers can revel in environmentally-friendly options with one-on-one assistance from the shop's experienced, helpful staff. Brighten pale walls with one of several liquid pigments, including Benjamin Moore Regal Select ($47.99 per gallon) or the Abbott Private Label ($31.99 per gal.). Terrestrial patrons can celebrate Earth Day by using California Elements' zero VOC low-odor flat paint ($48.49 per gal.).
The Tile Shop—as the name coyly suggests—specializes in tile for every imaginable surface and aesthetic style, making it easy for DIY handypeople to tackle small home projects, such as modernizing an avocado-green and penicillin-pink bathroom floor or re-grouting a small garden grotto. Underscore a kitchen with the appetizing orange of pirita siena ceramic tiles ($2.19 per square foot), then trim the counters in lizett beige ($3.99 each) for a complementary finish. Pick up a honeycomb pattern of hex matte black ($5.29 per square foot)—the quintessential backsplash for a gothy bumblebee—or add a touch of character to a small surface with a deep green verde butterfly mosaic ($11.99 per square foot). With its enormous selection of floor tiles, wall tiles, mosaics, and natural stone, the possibilities are as endless as a drive across Nebraska. The Tile Shop also has a plentiful selection of grout and tools for grouting it all together while grinning groutishly.