You park on West Saint Germain Street, pop a couple quarters in the parking meter, and find yourself drawn to the large windows of a quaint storefront. Through the windows, you see rustic furniture and the earliest camera models on display. You come in for the charming antiques; you stay for the humble atmosphere.
BumbleDee’s is a locally owned and run antique store in downtown St. Cloud. Its unbelievable abundance of collector’s items can shock any antiquer upon entrance to the restaurant turned shop. From wall to wall, the room is filled to the brim: shelves overflowing, boxes stacked high, and tables teeming with fascinating pieces. It’s overwhelming to say the least, but equally enthralling.
For Dillon Mielke, a Bumbledee clerk and community enthusiast, Bumbledee’s is more than just an antique store.
When asked about the highlights of his job Dillon said, “The customers. No one boring comes into the store.” Dylan continues, ”They’re all friendly…no one boring like at Gap where people are boring. I worked there. I can say that.” He laughs.
Although a population of interesting people has walked through this store, an arguably larger population of interesting antiques has graced the site.
As for some of the odder pieces to adorn the shop, “Right now downstairs we have a Victorian mourning wreath. When people back in Victorian ages died, they would cut out their hair and braid it into a wreath and then hang it on the wall.” said Dillon Mielke. “Everything is crazy… we’ve actually had things here end up in museums.”
The friendly receptionist’s thoughts on local businesses are clear, “I shop here, I shop local, … I really believe in community, especially being from a smaller town, community is all you have, so even in big [cities] the community is accepted and welcomed.” And this idea is one of the fundamental parts of what makes this small business so attractive. Its unwavering friendliness and warmth envelops a community that wants to feel less like strangers and more like neighbors. With every stride local businesses like Bumbledee’s makes, the future of Central Minnesota seems a lot more kind.
Dylan begins again,“ I just love that you guys are here. Where I’m from, the downtown was terrible, and as a young person, I did not have an appreciation for things like that. The fact that you guys are here, I commend you because you are going to run this place, our world one day and I love that you think this is important.”