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The Red Door brightens Duluth’s East Hillside

Photos by Jamie Merideth

Photos by Jamie Merideth

Hibbing native Sharon Kangas has been a Head Start teacher and cosmetologist. Now she’s an entrepreneur. In September 2013 she opened the Red Door, an ornate consignment shop in Duluth’s East Hillside neighborhood.

The Red DoorLocated in a renovated house at 720 E. Fourth St., the store features a variety of local art and used items. Throughout the two-story store is a surplus of clothing, bathroom and kitchen accessories, small furniture, local art and jewelry, and plenty of miscellaneous vintage items.

“We have so many local artists coming in and asking us to sell their work,” Kangas said. “Right now, one of my favorite pieces are the vinyl record journals made from an employee at Positively 3rd Street Bakery.”

Kangas wants her shop to have a welcoming atmosphere. In the kitchen, tea and coffee are on the counter with a chalkboard sign that reads, “Help yourself!” She says there will be complimentary chocolates and other treats from local shops coming soon, and by this summer the back deck will be open with patio furniture.

“I want this to be a place where people can relax and take their time,” she said.

Red Door merch 1 Red Door merch 2 Red Door merch 3

Kangas found inspiration from similar stores she has visited, family members who also own stores, and the excitement of a new challenge.

“After visiting Minneapolis one day and seeing how many people were opening their own stores, I started planning for the Red Door immediately,” she said.

Kangas acknowledges it hasn’t been easy attracting customers so far.

“We’ve spent a large amount of money on marketing,” Kangas said. “We’ve invested too much in advertising and it doesn’t seem to be working.”

She remains positive, noting that having a business on the bus line with heavy traffic is helpful.

“Plenty of people are driving past the Red Door every day. It’s not going unnoticed.”

Although attracting new people has been a challenge, local residents and other customers continue to visit the store regularly.

The Red Door’s employees include Kangas, her daughter Julie, and their family friend, Nicholas McGee. The store is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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