A store like Mary Poppins’ carpetbag. Or Hermione Granger’s purse in the final Harry Potter installment. Or what you’d find when you go through the looking glass or down a rabbit hole. Where it seems like the inventory would end, there’s something more to encounter. Something even more delightful or whimsical to behold. Something more to put on my wish list. Something to crow about. Perhaps like Peter Pan.
Gerry Seiler has a store in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis that reminds me of all sorts of literary wonderlands and magical accessories. But would the actual moniker of Peter Pan apply to him as the owner and proprietor of Cockadoodledoo? Is he the boy who never grew up? Hardly. He’s the man who grew up, followed a career path to one of our Fortune 100 companies in Minnesota, and then symbolically chose to go to the second star to the right and then straight on till morning. No, it didn’t lead to Neverland, but where he first opened his shop on Main Street in Stillwater.
Years later and having relocated to Bryn Mawr, he presents his neighborhood and customers with a curated inventory of goods that span from vintage furniture and collectors items to brand new gifts and decor pieces. A broad array of tastes for any of us who grew up, but still enjoy plenty of the playfulness that humor, irony, and history can give us. There is a menagerie of animal heads to hang on the wall, including stone pig heads and a mosaic cow head. Coasters shaped like toast. Makeup bags with curse words. T-shirts advertising Twin Cities throwbacks like Dayton’s, Moby Dick’s, and Porky’s. Signs and lawn chairs for the backyard or lake, a congratulatory dishtowel for the brides (or one for the grooms), or even a dishtowel that says “You can’t say ‘happiness’ without ‘penis.'” Mugs, candles, lotions, jewelry, art, lawn ornaments, and enough irreverence to make some folks blush. Perhaps this is also a good first-date destination; head to Cuppa Java for some coffee then stroll over to Cockadoodledoo…if your date doesn’t laugh, then skip the second one.
People come through the door, greet Gerry (who seems to know all of them), and ask or look around for what’s new. I imagine that’s one of the signs of a well-executed curiosity shop. The goods stay fresh to keep people coming back. With vintage items, particularly, there’s a good chance to see something from your childhood that will strike with exactly the same pang of nostalgia as hits when referring to Cockadoodledoo with so many storybook references from my own childhood (and before).
With a hug when I met him and a kiss on the cheek from him as I left, it’s a place I’ll want to return to so I can see what else he’s managed to fit into his shop. I’m certain I will be as entertained as I will be compelled to buy things for both myself as well as pretty much each and every person I know.
403 Cedar Lake Rd. S, Minneapolis