Stepping into Duetta Fine Finds (5005 Penn Ave. S., Mpls., 612-929-2325), a dainty little shop in South Minneapolis, the meticulous attention to minutiae, ambiance, and merchandising makes you feel like you’ve walked into an eclectic magasin on Rue Saint Honoré in Paris. From the vintage furnishings and chandeliers to the dark wood floors, pale apple green walls, and shiny black trim to the collection of mostly vintage or vintage-inspired merchandise, it is the details that assure that shoppers have a beautiful experience.
Duetta (a derivation of the word duet ) is a reference to the two friends and co-owners who started the store. Tabitha Courtemanche most recently worked as a designer at Room & Board and Julie Louris (wife of musician Gary Louris) has done everything from running a vintage shop to designing theater costumes. After some prodding by their husbands, the women decided to open up their dream shop. Duetta, while thoroughly edited, is full of one-of-a-kind girly gifts—tiny spools of ribbon collected from around the world, vintage buttons, oxidized silver rings, and letterpress note cards.
Most of the vintage things that enter the store are altered before they hit the sales floor because, as Courtemanche puts it, “we like to take ordinary things and make them extraordinary.” Vintage framed paintings are cleaned up and given a new paper backing, vintage buttons are displayed on scalloped-card stock papers, vintage ribbons are respooled. And then there’s the selection of pillows, which Louris makes out of mostly vintage and salvaged fabrics.
“There are so many wonderful stores in the Twin Cities, so creating something unique was a challenge,” says Courtemanche. But through inventive merchandising and presentation, they have given the shop charm. Good things really do come in small packages.