BY KATIE BETZ email@example.com
One of the best pastimes for a college student is exploring a new place.
As the Christmas season approaches, people shop online for gifts or visit their local stores. MSUM students may not know what shopping lies at their own back door. As an MSUM student, I was only vaguely aware of the Moorhead Mall. I have driven past it a few times going to and from Fargo, but I didn’t really know what was inside.
On a Friday afternoon, I decided to make a trip to the mall.
The first establishment I visited was Mane Impressions, a hair salon right inside the east entrance. A mom and her two boys were just leaving from a haircut. The owner Michelle Schindler chatted with her as she paid at the till.
Schindler has been working at the salon for 25 years and has owned it for 12. She started out doing hair from home for free and then decided to make a career of it.
“I had little kids, so it also worked well with my lifestyle and schooling,” Schindler said.
Mane Impressions offers primarily hair services, massage and facial waxing. They also offer an $18 deal for college students, which is four dollars off the normal price for an adult haircut.
The next place I stumbled upon in my exploration of the mall was an antique store. What I found there was an eclectic mix of old toys, glassware, decorations and comic books. The nostalgic sounds of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” added to the atmosphere of the store.
Deede Sonstelie, owner of FM Antiques, has owned the store for two years. Over 40 local vendors rent sections of the store to sell their merchandise.
“Name something, we’ve probably had it,” Sonstelie said.
She has seen everything from deer and buffalo skulls to Jimi Hendrix albums to comic books to Smurfs on her shelves. Looking around the store helps the visitors take a look at the past as they find items their grandmothers may have owned. The store is “fun, just a lot of work,” Sonstelie said.
“We bring a lot of happiness, I would say, because (the store) is just a good, memory lane type of thing.”Deede Sonstelie
Her brother Jayce Henrichs and his wife Rochelle own Jay’s BBQ in the mall, and her parents, Jack and Rose Henrichs, help out at both of their establishments.
Jayce Henrichs decided to open the BBQ restaurant in Moorhead because he has “always had a Moorhead thing.” He has a passion for BBQing and opened this restaurant after 25 years in the computer business.
Jay’s BBQ’s menu includes brisket and pulled pork with coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni and cheese for sides. They also offer street tacos and do catering.
The most unexpected thing I discovered in the Moorhead Mall was a racetrack. One of the store fronts had been adapted into a racetrack for remote control cars. PVC pipe outlined the track and cars launched off of ramps made of plywood. The small engines of the cars revved as they raced around the mini track.
A line of drivers holding remotes stood on benches at the edge of the track as they maneuvered the cars. Brandon Buschette is a member of the Mini Maniacs club. He races three different classes of cars, both electric and gas-powered RC cars.
The track will stay in the mall through May, Buschette said. The members of the club have not decided whether it will stay indoors or not. He said that people are free to show up and watch, whenever they like.
Though the Moorhead Mall is small, it was fun to look around and find the unexpected. I hope to be able to explore again—maybe watch a race or eat some BBQ.