Knowing Your Neighbors: Practicals, Collectables & Antiques

Practicals, Collectables & Antiques is located at 5437 Scenic North Shore Drive in Duluth.

DULUTH, Minn. – Halfway between Duluth and Two Harbors is a hidden gem located on the iconic North Shore.

The shop owner says he initially wanted to open a a junk shop or thrift store.

He didn’t think it would grow and become what it is today.

You never know what you’ll find at Practicals, Collectables & Antiques.

“Books are number one, records are number two, glassware and hardware are number three,” said Co-owner Edward Eino Johnson Jr.

It’s been 26 years since Johnson took his passion and turned it into his purpose.

“I’m more of a collectibles shop than an antique shop,” said Johnson.

Customer’s reactions have varied when they walked through the door.

“I think the word is overwhelmed,” said Johnson.

But Johnson says this place is anything but practical for some.

“People enjoy coming here,” said Johnson. “Mother’s Day, some mothers will say what do they want for mother’s day? Well they want to go to practical collectibles.”

Over the years items have come and gone off the shelves, but customers coming in with their children and seeing things that remind them of their childhood have stood the test of time.

“This is meant to be a fun place for the kids,” said Johnson. “They dig into boxes upstairs. I can hear them running back and forth.”

When asked his most unique finds in 26 years, his answer is not what you might think.

“The people are fantastic,” said Johnson. “Some Minneapolis people, they want me to put aside the ugliest things I can find for presents for their friends.”

At 76 years old, Johnson says he knows this isn’t a forever thing, but his love for the chase continues to keep him here.

“I might enjoy another summer or two, depending on if I can discourage people from buying,” said Johnson.

Johnson says he never thought Practicals, Collectables and Antiques would become a destination place for many, but it has and he’s humbled by the outpouring support from the community.

“The amount of time and effort that goes into this putting this shop together, you have to do it because you really like doing it, not because you want to make money,” said Johnson.

Practicals, Collectables & Antiques is open this season until Oct. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Johnson says if you run Grandma’s Marathon, he’s usually at mile 11 and will greet you with coffee and a donut.

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