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Arts mecca gets a makeover

The Stockholm Pie Company and former General Store have transformed and merged spaces in the Spring Street Art Building. A Grand Redesign Celebration is set for Saturday Sept. 12 to commemorate the building's transformation. Festivities include live music, prize drawings and a special chocolate truffle pie made just for the event. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Abode Gallery & Design, owned by award-winning interior designer Alan Nugent, has recently been remodeled as part of the Spring Street Art Building renovation. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

The Spring Streets Arts Building in Stockholm is prepping for their Grand Redesign Celebration set for Saturday Sept. 12 — one hundred years after horses pulled the 8,000-square-foot building into place.

Nestled on the corner of Spring Street and Highway 35 in the heart of the village, the building began life as a general store in 1901 just across the street from where the structure stands today.

Stockholm resident and business owner Alan Nugent explained after the nearby creek flooded one too many times, the local citizens had the idea to jimmy up the solid wood building and move it across the street to higher ground.

“It got stuck in the mud and sat there until winter, when horses dragged it on skids to its current location,” he said.

Over the years, it has housed an Amish crafts shop, an opera hall, a basketball court even a roller rink.

Now home to Abode Gallery & Design, Stockholm Pie & General Store and the WideSpot Performing Arts Center, the building will be filled with celebration after its biggest redesign since it crossed the road in 1915 — marking its status as one of the premier arts and culinary destinations in the region.

The Grand Redesign Celebration features guest artists, live local music, in-store specials, free samplings of local artisan foods, a special chocolate truffle pie created for the event, tours of the WideSpot Performing Arts Center and drawings for free merchandise.

“This building has seen the tiny village of Stockholm transform from pioneer town to arts mecca,” says Nugent, the owner of Abode Gallery & Design.

An award-winning interior designer and art curator, Nugent moved his business from the Twin Cities in 2003 when he recognized the groundswell of artistic talent in the area.

Today his gallery features nationally-known regional artists and his design studio attracts clients from across the country.

Nugent’s sister, Janet Nugent Garretson, opened the Stockholm Pie Company in 2006, while Nugent’s partner, Steven Grams, carved out a space for a gourmet coffee shop and general store.

Garretson’s pies have proved to be a hit. She’s received rave reviews in “Gourmet Magazine,” on National Public Radio and is listed in “RoadFood Guide” as one of the 100 best places to eat in the nation.

“It’s attracted pie lovers in droves, with lines reaching out the door and down the block,” adds Nugent of the pie shop.

Building transformation

As Grams kept adding regional delicacies to keep up with the demand, Nugent said it was time for the Spring Street Arts Building to undergo another transformation.

“Now the pie shop and general store have merged to create a cheerful, expansive space with room for all visitors to sit and enjoy homemade treats,” he added

The newly remodeled Abode Gallery & Design devotes one room to the paintings, jewelry, sculpture and furniture of regional artists; another room to “home and lifestyle” items; and a third room to Nugent’s highly in-demand interior design business.

Upstairs in the former opera hall, the WideSpot Performing Arts Center will celebrate the kickoff of its sixth season with a preview of Stockholm’s original, Keillor-esque radio show, “Goin’ Coastal.”

The full show can be seen at 7 p.m. Sunday Sept. 13.

The art center highlights local, regional and national artists along with community theater and education programs.

The WideSpot is named for Stockholm’s spot on the Mississippi where the river widens into Lake Pepin, Nugent noted.

Grand Redesign Celebration festivities run 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Guest artists at Abode include wooden bowl creator Santiago Tolman, jewelry artist Mark Neubel and handmade card designer Kathy Gerden, among others.

At Stockholm Pie and General Store, wine tastings from select Wisconsin wineries will be offered along with samplings of jams and jellies from River Falls-based Tin Roof Market.

The local duo the Ditchlillies will be providing live music during the celebration.

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

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