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Green Retro Goods: Minty Keen

Angie Seabert, "Retail Therapist'

Angie Seabert, "Retail Therapist' /Terry Johnston

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Minty Keen Details

Hours: Tues., Wed., Thurs. 10 a.m - 6 p.m.; Fri. and Sat 11 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Closed Sun. and Mon.

Location: 125 Ottawa NW, near Pearl Street in the Ledyard Building Suite 170

Check out: The vintage dime store cash register

Decking the Halls at Minty Keen

Decking the Halls at Minty Keen /Terry Johnston


BREADthwise /Terry Johnston

Like its carefully selected name, Minty Keen is fresh (as in minty) green (as in minty), filled with vintage goodies (as in keen) and Michigan-made goods (the MI in minty). All this thinking about a name, a location and what she would sell, kept Angie Seabert awake at night for a couple of years before she opened the shop.

Now in its third month of business, Seabert is enjoying the role as shopkeeper and finder of clever things. "I want to feel good about what I'm selling, so everything is either hand made in Michigan or vintage. I love collecting and the hunt and finding the unique treasures we can pass along," she said. "Vintage is the ultimate eco-friendly."

She spent a lot of time hunting the perfect location, and a previous job inside the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel made her realize that there was an untapped market of visitors looking for downtown shopping. The location she chose, the former site of Modern Day Floral in the Ledyard Building fit the bill. "I didn't want to do a lot of renovating, I wanted something that was eco-friendly," she said. The storefront already had bamboo floors, which was appealing.

Minty Keen carries cash-and-carry flowers which Seabert loves to arrange. Another speciality item she carries is cat-eye glasses. She wears the '50s style specs and has a lot of people ask for them, too. She also features items that are created by artists who she finds on Etsy, a website of handmade goods.  "A lot of what I carry are things I personally like or find interesting. I follow the trends, too, but most of it is my own preference," she said.

For the season, the shop has a small forest of aluminum Christmas trees, complete with shelf elves and other new and old Christmas goodies. She also has vintage books, dishes, patterns, lamps and furniture; she carries new greeting cards, jewlery, magnets and art objects. She keeps a stash of nifty handmade Grand Rapids souvenirs, too.

Seabert understands the rigors of retail, she's worked in flower shops, created displays for Marshall Fields/Hudson's in clothing and at a Body Shop store. The founder of the Body Shop, Anita Roddick, serves as a model for Seabert. Roddick was also a mom when she launched her stores and Seabert's kids can sometimes be found in her shop in a desingnated play space.

"She really put into the stores what she believed in, she stood behind her products and values," she said. "Like her, I don't want to compromise about what I'm going to sell."

Seabert wanted to carry a line of bath and body products that were organic and made in Michigan. She struggled to find something that worked in her shop and is pleased to have brought them to Grand Rapids.

She opened Minty Keen during ArtPrize and is now riding the wave of the holiday shopping season.

"The true test will be how it goes after the holidays," Seabert said. "I'm starting to see repeat customers and that's good. I feel like I'm a matchmaker, people see vintage things and they talk about their first memory or what they love about it."

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 good to see Amy getting into her thing so well. GR needs more of this kind of attitude and ethic. Enthusiastic people doing interesting things in the community are what keeps me here.

I've been into the shop a couple of times and really love the vibe.  I bought one of my wife's birthday presents there.  I'll be back.