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The 2 New Shops Adding Character to Downtown Guttenberg
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The 2 New Shops Adding Character to Downtown Guttenberg

Guttenberg’s newest downtown businesses are a pair of eclectic shops housed in the historic Albertus Building on River Park Drive. Four female family members opened the shops earlier this year, using their own personal style and ‘junkin’ hobbies to make up the stockpile of inventory.

Each occupies a former bed and bath unit, complete with a tiny kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and loft area. The limestone building was completed in the mid-1800s by the Albertus family, German immigrants who settled in Guttenberg. The husband, wife, and daughter trio used only materials they found within a 15-mile radius of the building site and managed to construct a three-story building with an arched limestone cellar below. 

Inside the south unit, and often spilling out onto the sidewalk, is Roots: a paradise of soft fabrics, handmade jewelry, and vintage décor.  Handmade soaps and candles are nestled inside primitive antique cabinets. Retro stuffed chairs, benches, and small end tables sit among racks of cozy capes, leggings, fringed leather tops and unique second-hand clothing items. A mannequin shows a pair of cat-eye sunglasses and a tasseled vest.

The small kitchen holds dishes, utensils, and gadgets from another era. Te bedroom overflows with intimates, plus-size clothing, and scarves. A stack of steamer trunks is opened to reveal vintage linens. Plants and pottery bring the windows to life.

Next door and recently expanded is Handsome Hound, the masculine answer to Roots. In fact, there is often a handsome hound lazing the day away in the store while shoppers browse flannel shirts, socks, and leather bracelets. Among a collection of vintage board games, customers can purchase a ‘handful of heroes’ (green plastic G.I. Joe figures).

A studious green desk lamp shines on a trio of wooden incense burners shaped as jolly men smoking pipes. Handsome Hound also boasts bundles of curly willow branches, which make excellent fall and winter outdoor décor.

Roots and Handsome Hound are open Fridays 12-4, Saturdays and Sundays 10-4. The shops are located at 224 S. River Park Drive, across from the school. 

Photo by Molly Moser

  1. Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    Thanks so much for this great post!

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