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Local finds: Derek Kruse to reopen Petalina as Petalina Mercantile Co.

Petalina B&W - Megan Lu

Photo by Megan Lu/The Olaf Messenger 


In downtown Northfield sits the charming Petalina, a store opened in 2020 by Dennis and Karen Vinar, selling Scandinavian-style trinkets. The couple announced their retirement in Fall 2023 and intentions to sell the store. After a months-long process, St. Olaf Director of Public Safety Derek Kruse closed on his purchase of the store on May 1. 

“I’ve always wanted my own business,” Kruse said in an interview with The Olaf Messenger. 


Kruse had been looking to expand his horizons by purchasing a business for a while and discovered the opportunity to buy a store in Northfield through a business broker who helped him and the Vinars throughout the process. 


Petalina will now be Petalina Mercantile Co., reflecting the changes Kruse will make to the store’s vibe and merchandise. While Kruse plans to maintain some Scandinavian elements, he wants to transform the space.


“I want it to be an experience — a higher-end boutique but affordable. Right now, we’re working with eight to ten local craftspeople to sell their work,” Kruse said. 


He is prioritizing stocking the work of local artists and craftspeople. Some of the products to be sold include handmade pottery and jewelry, products related to Northfield, and upcycled vintage materials. 


“The buy-local thing is important to me. I want to give money back to the community. I want a way for people who are local to get their products into a brick-and-mortar store,” Kruse said. “I think it’s important for artists to have an avenue to make some money doing the craft they love.”


Furthermore, Kruse wants to engage with college students as well, as a way for them to express themselves and make some money by selling their work at the store. 


Petalina Mercantile Co. will have a soft-open beginning May 17 and a grand opening at the beginning of June. The store is currently hiring employees.