About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

Black Friday at the Bruno Thrift Store

In northern Pine County, Black Friday starts at 10 a.m.

That's when the Bruno Thrift Store opens.

The Bruno Thrift Store is like a Mall of America in the midst of a rural outpost, with many items priced at fifty cents apiece. I have found apparel by J.Jill, Lands End, Eddie Bauer, Coldwater Creek, and the Vermont Country Store. I once found a pair of wool blend slacks that was at least thirty years old, judging by the Sears Roebuck name and a yellowed tag that said  The Fashion Place. Price, fifty cents. In a vintage clothing shop in the Cities the slacks would have fetched at least ten times the price.

The day after Thanksgiving, traffic is light at the Bruno Thrift Store. Peggy, one of the volunteers who works there, says it's because people stop by after they're done shopping at Wal-Mart or Target. If they stopped there first, their Wal-Mart or Target run might be lighter. The beauty of the Bruno Thrift Store is, you never know what you'll find. The things you find aren't always top of mind.  A tree stand. A set of ornament hooks. Or maybe you'll find a set of dishes or a box of ornaments that will whisk you away to a fondly remembered Christmas past.

The Bruno Thrift Store doesn't have a phone number, doesn't have an address outside of "Main Street, past the railroad tracks in Bruno." It's the best-kept secret in northern Pine County. It is completely volunteer run, including the adjoining food shelf, which unfortunately has seen steadily increasing traffic. Customers come from as far away as Duluth and Minneapolis. If you're on state Highway 23 on the way to the cabin or to Duluth, turn right when you get to Bruno. Cross the railroad tracks and park in front of the yellow building on the right. You'll discover a store where every day is Black Friday. And on the real Black Friday, you get to sleep in!

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