By mary macdonell belisle, wording for you
The buzz of appreciative customer voices is music to Dee Holsinger’s ears. Visitors to her Bumbledee’s shop have replaced those of her former music students, heard over 35 years as
an instructor to middle and high school students at ROCORI in Cold Spring. Relocating to downtown St. Cloud after her retirement in 2010 was an opportunity for Dee to pursue her second dream: to run her own shop, catering to tourists. This bubbly businesswoman loves downtown and her “shop of shops,” an art, boutique, and antiques’ enterprise on St. Germain Street.
Dee appreciates downtown for many reasons. Tourists are number one. She’s welcomed visitors from overseas and from every state in the union. Many folks have families in the St. Cloud area, and exploring Bumbledee’s provides them an enjoyable activity. The downtown has some of the best food establishments and unique shopping experiences around, notes Dee. Also, many downtown businesses owners are women, providing Dee retail colleagues to converse with and compare notes. Foot traffic is good, although she’d like to see more convention attendees from River’s Edge Convention Center. Dee is pleased her place is an attraction for the antiques’ lovers driving from the Twin Cities’ northern suburbs as well, many
of them repeat customers.
Bumbledee’s, owned by Dee and her husband Tom, is a draw. Dee knows she markets the best vintage jewelry in the city (her specialty), and the largest inventory of antique lighting, through a vendor relationship, backed with 40 years of experience. In fact, Bumbledees taps the expertise of 30 antiques dealers who stock her shop. They specialize in furniture, kitchenware, garden items, toys, artwork, glassware, crystal, quilts, etc. Each oversees her/his own inventory, handling the dusting as well. When asked how many pieces she carries in total inventory, Dee laughs and says, “I don’t have a clue.” Suffice it to say, “LOTS!”
Dee appreciates art and creativity, personally choosing each item displayed at Bumbledees. “When I find something that sells, I stick with it,” she says of her business sense.
Tom and Dee’s decision to lease their building seven years ago continues to bring joy. The building was originally a dry goods store, then, a J.C. Penney’s. The couple lovingly (and with plenty of “elbow grease”) restored the tin ceiling, maple floors (originally, painted red), and the
brick wall. They love the look, and every nook and cranny filled with their wonderful assortment of art and antiques.
Still, what Dee loves most about Bumbledee’s is the variety of people who visit with her downtown and make their selections from her diverse collections. “I feel bad when a customer wants something one day and comes back the next day to find that the item is not here,” confesses Dee. So, stop in to visit Dee (and Tom) and meet Penny Lane, their golden-doodle best friend, who keeps watch at the till. But if you see an item you want, better snatch it up, quickly, or you’ll be singing a sad song when another patron walks away with the treasure!
711 W St. Germain | 320.257.3387 | www.bumbledees.com