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Main Street Mall offers a variety of goods

Deb Johnson, left, and her daughters Arianna and Kika run the Main Street Mall, which opened in June in Somerset. Deb Johnson said she hopes to make the Main Street Mall a place where the community can gather and have fun.1 / 2
Kika (left), Deb, and Arianna Johnson pose with their staff near the Main Street Mall's sign.2 / 2

Deb Johnson, owner of the Main Street Mall in Somerset, said she wants her business, which opened in June, to be a family-oriented place where parents can bring their children and their pets.

"I just want it to be a community center where everybody comes without alcohol," Johnson said.

She said there are enough bars in town to serve the community's alcohol needs, and she wanted to offer an alcohol-free place that families could enjoy.

Main Street Mall is so named, Johnson said, because of the variety of businesses it holds under one roof. These include a coffee shop and restaurant, a thrift store that also sells consignment clothes, a room with a stage that Johnson hopes local bands and theater groups will perform on, and an auction house.

The coffee shop and restaurant will sell Italian food starting on Friday. The coffee shop/restaurant is also a bakery, and Johnson said all the food is fresh and organic.

The thrift store, Johnson said takes items for consignment, but she said anyone who donates new or unused animal food or supplies will get 10 percent off their thrift store purchase. The animal supplies, Johnson said will go to helping hands, which brings the pet supplies to the local food shelf.

"We are trying to put pet food on the shelves," Johnson said, "The people who go to the food shelves can't afford food for themselves, so that leaves their dog without any food too."

Johnson said it is her hope that through bringing more pet food to the food shelf, people will be able to keep their dogs, instead of having to give them away, send them to a shelter, or adopt them out.

Johnson said she is also giving away free dog sweaters of all sizes to all comers until she runs out.

What Johnson said makes her collection of businesses a community center is the way she tries to reach out to the community. She hires local high school students to help work in her business, and she said high school kids can work off their required 80 hours of community service at the Main Street Mall.

Johnson said she also has an area where families and children can watch VHS tapes or DVDs, and a toy section.

"The families are loving it," said Johnson. "The kids come in and have smoothies and play with the giant Jenga."

Johnson said she hopes to have a series of plays in the theater area, but she is going to start with a Christmas comedy, which she hopes Somerset residents will try out for. Auditions will be in September.

"I'm hoping that instead of driving all the way to the cities to the Ordway or the Orpheum, that they can just come here," Johnson said.

Johnson also has space she will allow Scout troops or other groups to have meetings in.

The auction house, Johnson said, is open to anyone. There is no charge to get in the door, or to get a paddle, but Johnson said she charges 15 percent of the selling price to anyone who enters an item in the auction. There will not be an auction in August, but Johnson said there will be auctions on the second Wednesday and Sunday and the fourth Wednesday and Sunday of the Month starting in September. Auctions will be at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and 11 a.m. on Sundays. The next auction is Sept. 30 at 11 a.m.

Johnson also has an ice cream social coming up on Sept. 16.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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