By Kerry Drager
The oldest building in Browerville is now a quaint little shop selling some of the oldest items still around. Purchased as a tax forfeit, Lori Krienke repaired the old building and opened an antique consignment store named Two Chicks on the Corner. Like many of her rusty relics that are for sale, she has kept the building original and true to its era.
“There was about a $1,000 worth of waste removal. Lots of sheet rock and carpet that needed to be cleaned up. My family helped me remove those things,” said Krienke.
The cleanup exposed a few hidden treasures that are now displayed by the checkout desk and are not for sale. In a backroom an old hat and a clothes hanger was found. Hidden underneath the drop ceiling, original lighting was found and it now illuminates the interior once again. Behind a wall, an old window that once garnished the building was discovered. It was so heavy it took several people to move it. Perhaps the most significant find was some old shoes that are now petrified leather souvenirs that tell of a time and a superstition that has since passed from our culture.
“I was told by a historian that years ago people would put a shoe in their walls to protect the living,” Krienke said.
Two Chicks on the Corner has been in operation for two years, and, Krienke said, the business has been good. Many of her customers are travelers heading to their lake homes and will stop in her shop along the way.
“It’s been fun. I’ve had a bus load of women from northern Minnesota, way up by the Canadian border, shop here. They just called me one day and made arrangements for a stop. That was a good day. This place was full of ladies.”
There are two levels to explore at Two Chicks and many of the items are primitives that are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Krienke works with her clientele when they are searching for particular items. She currently has about 20 individuals that currently consign, and some of them come from many miles away, though there are items in the shop that Krienke found herself during her many garage sale and antiquing adventures.
“I just kind of started out with just my own stuff. I love antiques, and I love to shop. This gives me an outlet for my addiction. I have an excuse then to shop. I will enjoy it for a while and then sell it here. As more people asked to consign with me, I continued to grow and grow. Between their stuff and mine, it keeps this place pretty full.”
There are remnants of family all within the business. An old bike that hangs as decoration at the entryway belonged to Krienke’s mother and the “two chicks” that the business is named after are herself and her nine- year-old granddaughter Madison, who loves antiquing just as much as her grandmother.
“I’m hoping that one day she’ll be taking over the business and will make a halfway decent living. She likes to go antiquing with me. If you start them out young, you have a better chance of creating that interest. She has some antiques of her own. She really seems to enjoy collecting antique, toy horses.”
Even the building itself radiates family. Krienke recently discovered that this important piece of area history once belonged to her ancestors. Perhaps there is some truth after all in those shoes placed by her own relations generations ago that now promises a good future for both the building and the Two Chicks on the Corner that care for it.