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Not Your Average Gift Shop Opening in Hovland

Bob and Shel Busch are opening a unique gift store, Objects to Crave, on July 1 in the small village of Hovland, MN at the north­west corner of Hammer Road and US High­way 61.

The Busch family has been part of the Hov­land community for three generations. Home for Bob and Shel is near the Twin Cities, but they’ve owned a house near the new store for more than 22 years. Shel says that her three, now adult, children were virtually raised in Hovland. Bob still works for Honeywell, but is looking to retire in the next few years and make Hovland his retirement home. “We love this area,” he said.

The building was built in 1965 and has housed several different businesses including The Chicago Bay Cafe in the 1970s and Run­ningen’s Furs and Bear Camp in recent years.

Some of the items found in a wall of the building during renovations. (photo credit: Objects to Crave Facebook)

Shel’s grandparents, Darold and Janet Lar­son, operated an antiques and gift shop in the same building in the 1980s called Treasure Cove.

Objects to Crave is part museum, part an­tique shop, and part traditional gift shop. It is a perfect business for Hovland, an area be­loved in Cook County for its eccentric and eclectic residents. “We like weird and differ­ent,” Shel said.

Shel said the store will be selling, “Vin­tage, nature based, and historical items.” She promises some curiosities as well.

Shel often thought about her grandparents’ shop and dreamed of the day when they might be able to acquire the old store and operate a similar business. That opportunity came in January of this year and the Buschs jumped at the


The building needed extensive renovation and the work has been a total family affair according to Bob.

The family has a photo of Darold and Jan­et standing on the porch in front of the store from the 1980s. Before that old porch was removed, Shel’s mother had the two of them recreate that picture. Bob said that without thinking about how to stand, he and Shel look the same pose as the Olsons, right down to his hand on the railing. The two pictures are posted on the store’s Facebook page.

Shel’s father made the sign that will be at the front of the store.

In the process of renovating the interior, the Buschs found numerous treasures including a time capsule of sorts left in a wall in 1974 by Fritz Sobanja, a local carpenter and artist who was part owner of the Chicago Bay Cafe almost 50 years ago. On its Facebook page there is a picture and list of the items recov­ered including a piece of board showing 1974 and Fritz’s name carved into it. This, along with old coins and other treasures, will be on display and some will be for sale in the store.

“As a child I was always fascinated about the people and things happening in Hov­land,” Shel said. “There are so many wonder­ful stories and we’ve scoured for pictures and knowledge of this building and Hovland.”

The opening is scheduled for July 1 to co­incide with the annual Hovland Arts Festival. Bob and Shel say that the store will be open from Spring through Fall on Friday, Satur­day and Sunday. They have a website under construction at www.objectstocrave.com and they can be found on Facebook.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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