by Dennis Dalman
Many people have asked the owners and employees of Modern Barnyard if that store will have to close down when the Sauk River bridge is removed and rebuilt in the coming months.
The answer is a resounding NO.
The store will not only remain open, but there will be roadway access to it from both directions on CR 75. During the bridge project, engineers will remove the median on CR 75 west of the bridge so motorists traveling in both directions (east and west) can turn into the huge, newly redone parking lot of Modern Barnyard. The store is located to the right along CR 75, just past the Sauk River bridge. Its address is 7285 CR 75, east of St. Joseph.
The store is not hard to miss visually from CR 75. It is a 12,000 square-foot building, with an extra 6,000 square feet added last April. The store, which opened nearly seven years ago, is owned and operated by Jim Beck and John Malikowksi, both of St. Cloud.
A visit to Modern Barnyard is quite an experience, like being inside a vast sprawling museum with every kind of gift item from A-Z. Last year, the store won a statewide award for a “Best Place to Buy a Gift.”
Modern Barnyard specializes in furniture (much of it restored, repurposed) and a stupendous variety of décor and personal items. They include kitchen table sets, candles, lotions, soaps, purses, clothing, knick-knacks, table centerpieces, puzzles, blankets, pillows, gourmet coffee and foods, antique items of every description and vintage/repurposed old furniture. The furniture is restored in a huge workshop attached to the back of the building.
From now until right up until Christmas, Modern Barnyard is hosting “Winder Wonderland,” the store brimming with multiple show-room areas featuring 20 Christmas themes and virtually every kind of holiday gift, decorative items like nutcrackers, snowmen, deer, trees, penguins and even a “Blue Christmas” area twinkling and glowing with blue lights.
“Blue has become very popular for Christmas decorating,” said Jim Beck during an interview with the Newsleaders.
As long-time antique enthusiasts, Beck and co-owner Malikowski have practically a sixth sense for finding and restoring antique objects and furniture. The have a knack for finding beauty and utility in cast-off items.
For 11 years, the two men owned and operated a flower shop in Waite Park, which they sold to a new owner.
Beck said he is very proud of Modern Barnyard because so many customers can find exactly the “right” item they were in search of, or they will see items in the store they realize would look “perfect” in a room, on a table, on a wall or in a yard. Because of the huge variety of items in the shop and the way they are displayed, so many customers can visualize décor ideas they’d like to see in their own homes.
Visiting the store is an “experience” for people, Beck said, like visiting a museum that exhibits old and new, rustic and glitzy.
Modern Barnyard has five employees and 12 local vendors who sell their wares in the store.
It is open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
To learn more, visit its website at modernbarnyard.com.