Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Sweet finds in Montgomery, Part IV: Discovering LaNette & Carol’s shops April 13, 2013

A shot of First Street in Montgomery with LaNette's on the right.

A shot of First Street in Montgomery with LaNette’s on the right.

YOU NEED ONLY STEP inside LaNette’s Antiques ‘N Lace to experience her passion for antiques, window treatments, chocolate and coffee.

Shoppers can relax with a cup at a table and then buy the table and chairs if they wish. Note the beautiful wood floor, which is not original to the store. LaNette bought some pine planks at the lumberyard to recreate the vintage look.

Shoppers can relax with a cup of jo or other treat at a table and then buy the table and chairs if they wish. Note the beautiful wood floor. LaNette bought pine planks at the lumberyard to stain and seal in creating the vintage look. Also notice samples of LaNette’s custom window treatments.

They’re all there in her inviting corner shop in downtown Montgomery which features everything from her customized window treatments to local artisan products to antiques and collectibles, plus coffee, tea, ice cream and chocolate.

That's LaNette behind the counter.

That’s LaNette behind the counter.

Add owner LaNette Kuelper’s friendly welcome—she’s a genuine people person—and you’ll feel like you’ve known her for years, although you’ve only just met her.

Shoppers can settle in and watch activity along First Street in this cozy corner of LaNette's shop.

Shoppers can settle in and watch activity along First Street in this cozy corner of LaNette’s shop.

Colorful comic books found in a tiny back room of the store.

Colorful comic books found in a tiny back nook at LaNette’s.

Vibrant handcrafted clothespin bags and glassware are among the merchandise offerings.

Vibrant handcrafted clothespin bags and glassware are among the merchandise offerings.

LaNette's delightful vintage cash register.

LaNette’s delightful vintage cash register.

LaNette is among the array of hospitable shopkeepers my husband and I met on a recent Saturday visit to this south-central Minnesota community of some 3,000 known as The Kolacky Capital of the World, tracing to the area’s rich Czech heritage.

The presence of the Czech heritage is so strong here that Montgomery celebrates with an annual summer Kolacky Days celebration, hosts the annual Miss Czech Slovak MN Pageant and is home to a Czech import shop.

Cjay's Czech Imports, 506 Fourth St. S.W.

Cjay’s Czech Imports, 506 Fourth St. S.W.

At Cjay’s Czech Imports, we met owner Carol Kotasek, raised by her Czech grandmother and fluent in Czech. You can hear a hint of dialect in her speech, a comforting connection to The Old Country.

Beautiful glassware imported from the Czech Republic.

Beautiful glassware imported from the Czech Republic.

Carol regularly travels to the Czech Republic to purchase the handcrafted artisan merchandise which graces her cozy shop on the southwest side of Montgomery along Minnesota State Highways 13/21. She knows her artists by name—Bohunka, Myška, Krupička…

Being 100 percent German, and once fluent in Deutsch, I find the names foreign. Carol must spell the names, pointing out the accent marks above consonants.

There’s something particularly endearing in this exchange—the spelling of unfamiliar names, the hint of dialect, Carols’ appreciation of fine Czech craftsmanship—that touches my soul. That we should all cherish our heritage with such passion.

Caps popular with Czech girls.

Caps which are very popular with little girls in the Czech Republic.

Handcrafted toys and information about the craftsman from the Czech Republic.

Handcrafted toys and information about the craftsman from the Czech Republic.

More stunning Czech artisan glassware.

More stunning Czech artisan glassware.

FYI: Cjay’s Czech Imports, 506 Fourth St. S.W., is open daily from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Click here to link to the store’s website.

LaNette’s, 225 First St. S., is open from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Thursday and from 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. Friday – Saturday. Closed Sunday. Click here to reach LaNette’s Facebook page.

Please check back for one final post from Montgomery. I’ll take you to a local pizza place and inside a one-of-a-kind museum. If you have not read my earlier posts, go back to Sunday and start reading about Montgomery. Also check my March 4 – 8 archives for stories published after a previous visit.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling