Visitors to the antique shop B. Lawrence Ramsey receive a warm welcome from several members of the Nelson family: curator Marta, her son and day-to-day manager Alexander, poodles Denver and Carmen (who have an office of their own in back), and a cockatoo named Lonnie.
The atmosphere isn’t unlike the family’s busy Linden Hills home, where Marta and her husband Randall raised three boys with the help of Marta’s late father Lawrence Ramsey Becklund — the store’s namesake — and a slew of turtles, guinea pigs, dogs and fish.
Berglund helped cultivate an artistic mood in the house, listening to jazz with his grandsons and introducing them to instruments they would go on to play professionally. Berglund gave Alexander his first flute, and Alexander studied music in London at age 17 and later moved to Sydney to study and play with orchestras like the Rockdale Opera Company.
One of the family’s favorite activities is visiting flea markets. Marta has hosted occasional sales every two weeks out of her home since the spring, until she decided it was time to find a proper storefront. She found the Nicollet Avenue space within days of looking, and the family spent a brief two weeks cleaning, painting and moving in — Alexander said he keeps a toothbrush in back.
The dogs in particular are settling in quickly: Denver moseys over to Beadhive to hang out.
“He goes next door to schmooze if they have more customers than we do,” Marta said.
Marta said she mixes new and old, displaying antique pieces alongside new furniture previously used as showroom samples. She loves the vintage jewelry she keeps on display in an antique hutch. She works to keep all of her prices reasonable and frequently turns over the inventory.
“The whole antique market has really changed,” said Marta, whose parents also collected antiques.
People have moved away from seeking Victorian-era dark wood pieces and are now hunting for mid-century modern pieces and funky furniture, she said.
“We try to keep a diverse selection of things,” Alexander said. “We hope anybody who comes in can find at least one thing they would like to buy.”
The shop is currently open daily from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. A grand opening wine and cheese night is Oct. 16 from 7-10 p.m.
B. Lawrence Ramsey has taken over the former Robin’s Nest storefront at 5456 Nicollet Ave. S. Robin’s Nest continues to sell online thru Etsy.