Evergreen Crafters moves during renovation

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By Vicky Gits

After 60 years in the same downtown Evergreen location, Evergreen Crafters has moved across the street, where it is sharing the space with V’s Casuals.

After closing for four days, Crafters is open for business six days a week in the former Lauren Brooks building. The owner of the other building has decided to renovate it.

Proprietor Susan Fariss, who has owned the business for four years and worked there for 27, said business on Saturday, Feb. 9, the first day in the new location, was “very good.”

Veronica Steinmetz, owner of V’s Village Casuals, said the new location is “awesome.” She likes “the openness, the light, and the space.” In terms of square footage, the building is nearly the same as the other one, or about 3,000 square feet.

The original Crafters building at one time was known as the Rustic Tea Room, said Susan Eisenberger, a trustee for the Ross-Lewis Trust, which owns the one-story structure. She said the building is at least 100 years old.

Eisenberger said plans for the building are still being worked out but that the goal is “to preserve as much as possible.” She said there was no plan to add a second story or to tear it down. She was not sure how long the businesses would remain in the Lauren Brooks building while the remodeling is in progress.

After a few days of frantic moving and setting up, Fariss seems to have adjusted to the new surroundings. The west-facing picture windows do a good job of showing off the Crafters inventory of gifts, home dcor, Minnetonka footwear, leather hats and Native American and Colorado art jewelry.

Last year’s snowy winter and wet spring took a toll on the building, where Evergreen pioneer Ross Grimes started the Crafters business in 1948 and owned it until Farris took over in 2003.

“I knew work needed to be done. I wasn’t upset (about the move). I was scared,” said Fariss.

Last year the Holly Berry and the Silver Arrow occupied the Lauren Brooks building for about nine months after an April 29 fire forced them out of the Evergreen National Bank Building complex in downtown Evergreen.

“I’m OK with it,” Fariss said. “The owners of the Holly Berry did very well.”

Fariss received a lot of encouragement from the Holly Berry owners and her fellow downtown merchants. Everybody is willing to send customers to neighboring stores if they don’t have something. “We all want each other to make it,” she said.

“The town is phenomenal,” Fariss said. “The people are so supportive, and I have a lot of supportive friends. They really care. They helped calm my nerves.”

Evergreen Crafters is locally known for its art jewelry, which is the biggest selling category. It also offers a large line of Minnetonka moccasins, clogs and casual shoes, novelty items, picnic totes, glassware and Nuwati Herbals.