Biz buzz // Animal-friendly boutique

Animal-friendly boutique opens in Tangletown

The Animal Rights Coalition, the oldest animal rights organization in the state, recently launched its first store as a new way to garner funds for programming.

Every penny spent at boutique Ethique Nouveau (French for New Ethic), which will host a grand opening June 5 at 317 W. 48th St., will help pay for local animal advocacy programs. The shop sells a huge assortment of animal-friendly products, including handbags, jewelry and pro-animal books.

“Even if people can’t afford to make outright donations, they can still support a cause they believe in,” said Dallas Rising, program director for the coalition.

She said much of the merchandise comes from high-end designers. Everything is free of animal testing, ingredients, skins or furs.  

The Animal Right Coalition, like many nonprofits, was hit hard by the recession and the boutique was one way to fill the void, Rising said.

“In this economy there are challenges for nonprofits as well as businesses,” she said. “But we knew there was a demand for this sort of thing.”

Store hours are Wednesday from noon–8 p.m., Thursday from noon–6 p.m., Friday from noon–6 p.m. and Saturday from noon–5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 612-822-6161.


New credit union opens its doors

TruStone Financial Federal Credit Union opened its new building May 10 near 28th Street and Lyndale Avenue.

Interim CEO Sherri Stumpf said TruStone has about 4,000 members in the area and is hoping to attract more with a different approach to banking.  

“We wanted to create something that had a more warm and friendly atmosphere, where people felt invited to come inside,” she said. “Not the traditional cold barriers between people coming to do their banking and the folks who work here.”

The new facility features several modern touches including media screens, interactive teller pods and a computer in the children’s area that includes finance games. Stumpf said the credit union encourages kids to start saving early.

TruStone has locations in Golden Valley, Apple Valley, Roseville, Maple Grove and St. Cloud. Lobby hours at the new location are 9 a.m.–6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.–noon on Saturday. The drive-through opens at 8 a.m. Go to for more information.


Donuts come to Whittier

As a third generation baker, Ben To of Vietnam has continued his family legacy by opening Ly Sandwich and Bakery at 26th Street and Nicollet Avenue.

He learned about baking through his father and grandfather, and aims to begin a new trend with the first donut shop on Nicollet in recent memory. In addition to a variety of donuts, the new restaurant will offer fresh pastries, cakes and croissants daily, as well as an assortment of Vietnamese style sandwiches served on baguettes or French bread. To accompany breakfast and lunch, Ly Sandwich and Bakery serves 10 different flavors of tea and Starbuck’s Coffee.

“We’re into fun food, and a fun place to hang out,” To said.

To opened this bakery as a response to the declining economy. His goal is to offer quality foods at a reasonable price.

“What’s cheaper than eating a sandwich and drinking a cup of coffee?” he said.

He offers a full lunch for under $5, including free WiFi in the shop. The sandwiches and pastries are traditional Vietnamese style. To said his business is the first in his family to cater to the Asian community.

Ly Sandwich and Bakery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 a.m.–6 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m.–
5 p.m. To highly recommends his croissants: “They are unique. They come out hot, and you really get to taste the full flavor.”

The shop can be reached by email at [email protected]


Run a business for a week

Boneshaker Books is opening its store in a new way. Beginning June 2,
the new bookstore located at 2441 Lyndale Avenue will be open for weekly rentals from Tuesday to Monday until Aug. 2. The building includes a galley kitchen, bathrooms, a patio, a backyard with a garden, a meeting room, wireless Internet, a phone, air conditioning and street side signage with a customizable sandwich board.

The main room of the space is 750 square feet  (not including kitchen or bathrooms) and is available to anyone who wants to use a storefront for a week. While you cannot live in the space during your rental period, anything else is possible, from offering workshops to filling the space with baked goods.

Currently, the storefront is going to be utilized by a wide variety of customers.  During one week there will be a Pop Punk Emporium. At the weeklong emporium there will be shows and book readings, and the space will be transformed into a museum. Play-by-Play Theatre Bookstore recently lost their storefront in St. Paul, and is using the space to “remain visible in the community.” There will even be a week entitled “nerd party” where customers will be invited to engage in a sci-fi movie night and are provided with comfy chairs to sit in while reading comics.

Rent is set at $200 for the week, and includes utilities, wireless Internet, and phone. The space can be rented for more than one week, but the slots are filling up quickly. Customers are expected to pay $100 to confirm, and $100 upon moving in. PayPal, cash and check are all accepted. While the $200 rental charge is non-negotiable, Store-front-in-a-box welcomes their customers to share the space with a friend, and also allows their renters to accept donations or charge for their services. There is a reduced rent ($150) for the week of June 1 only.

In order to rent this space, customers can find an application online at It simply asks for contact information and the intentions for the space. Store-front-in-a-box will contact the customer to confirm the dates.

The rental period begins on Tuesday of the desired week, and store-front-in-a-box will send their customer a code for the lockbox first thing on Tuesday morning. The space is then available to the customer until the following Monday. The space must be cleaned upon moving out, but there are cleaning supplies provided.  

Store-front-in-a-box will help their customer to promote their weeklong sale/advertisement/etc. by posting the upcoming events on their website, but they also urge their customers to use social networking to promote their event. There is a sandwich board available as well to attract street attention.

For more information on the nine-week rental opportunity visit or shoot an e-mail with any additional questions to [email protected]



A new community-based yoga studio, Invisible Bee Yoga, has opened in the Armatage neighborhood.

The studio is at 2215 W. 54th St. near Café Maude. Invisible Bee Yoga offers classes in many varieties of yoga, including Jivamukti (“liberation of the soul” in Sanskrit), restorative, gentle and yoga for runners, among other types.

Margaret Gordon Schloegel is the founder and owner of Invisible Bee Yoga.  She is a small animal veterinarian and completed her yoga teacher training at the Yoga Center of Minneapolis. The studio also has a running club and plans to organize monthly community events.

For more information, visit