Photos by Hillary Ehlen
Out in Otter Tail County, there is a little shop named Elle’s (pronounced Ellie’s) Antiques. Now, not many people know about Elle’s, but we’re going to let you in on the big secret. This month, we met with the owners to find out more about the story behind their store.
A True Antique Lover’s Dream
Elle’s Antiques is an antique lover’s dream or a DIYer’s delight. Full of authentic, carefully-preserved pieces from around the world, a trip to this little shop is like stepping into a time machine where you can experience any decade from the past two centuries.
“I like the true antiques,” said Elle Habberstad. She is the owner for whom the store is named. During business hours, she serves as a knowledgable guide for curious visitors wandering about the shop. One of her favorite pieces to show guests is a pink, parlor sofa featuring walnut legs and arm posts with a matching foot stool. Habberstad enjoys researching and sharing the history behind all of the pieces in her store.
The Story Behind the Store
Several years ago, Habberstad retired from her career as a nurse and decided to open her own antique store (she had previously been a vendor at another antique store). Back then, Habberstad’s husband was planning on building a new garage, which he kindly offered up for her to use. However, the business soon expanded into her husband’s man cave as well. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be doing this,” Habberstad said, expressing her appreciation for her husband.
Then, three years ago, the couple purchased a log cabin to add even more space for displaying antiques and storing inventory. The previous owner actually agreed to disassemble the cabin, transport the logs and reassemble the structure in the Habberstad’s front yard.
A Not-So Hidden Gem Anymore
Because Elle’s Antiques is not located within the hub of local antique and repurposed markets, it has a sort of hidden-gem status. Habberstad often credits word-of-mouth for bringing visitors to her store. “I send people to the other antique shops, and I know they do the same for me,” said Habberstad. She likes to support her fellow vendors and local shop owners by sharing a brochure that serves as a guide to other antique and repurposed stores in Lakes Country.
Elle’s Antiques is open May 1 through October 15 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.