Brenda Hamre, and daughter Avery, shared the story of BlackBarn at the March 2, 2021 TREK. BlackBarn is a new business in the Thief River Falls area. They opened their doors in November of 2020, offering a unique, rural shopping experience, featuring home décor, lifestyle goods, and vintage finds.
“We’re very new to this, so we don’t have a whole lot of experience under our belt,” Brenda said. “What brought us here was wanting to give back to the community we call home. John and I raised our kids here. We were raised here. Our parents were raised here. I don’t know where my grandparents were born, but they raised their families here, too.
Counting Brenda’s grandchildren, there five generations that have made Thief River Falls their home. “We just thought, let’s just try to give back in some way that we can.
Brenda has always enjoyed the shopping experience and that was part of her inspiration. “I think most ladies that like to shop have always had a little whisper in their ear of maybe having their own shop,” Brenda said. “One day that little flicker turned into a flame when we had the opportunity to build a new building that would house a little shop, and a place for family coming back.”
“The family was willing to contribute their talents and expertise in every way to make this a family business. We could never do this without them there. They help in every way behind the scenes.”
Brenda said that BlackBarn is a business where all hands are on deck. In addition to Avery, Brenda’s husband, mother, son, and son-in-law are all actively involved. “It’s become a family affair,” she said.
Loving the Experience
“The path here has mostly been on the other side of the counter, being customers of small businesses and really loving the experience of walking into a shop where the goods have been hand-picked and hand-curated. The kind of place where you get to speak with the owner. It’s a connection that society has lost with online shopping and big stores and discount stores which are all valuable and all have their place, but I think it would be nice if society would swing back to small business again.”
Brenda said that her goal was to create a place where people can come and feel a connection, feel valued, and if there’s something they are looking for, have somebody personally help them. “It’s the little things in life that mean something to people,” Brenda said. “Especially people that love home and love creating a home. That’s kind of my wheelhouse.”