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The Northbound Q&A: Carousel + Folk

Vintage lovers Lindsey and Mike Cason on thrifting, road tripping, and living their best #lakelife

The Northbound Q&A is a new series from Minnevangelist that picks the brains of Minnesota’s most interesting residents. First up: the husband-and-wife dream team behind one of our favorite local stores.

Lindsey and Mike Cason know how to fill an empty house. Carousel + Folk, their well-edited vintage home goods and clothing boutique in South Minneapolis, was one of our five go-to spots when buying furnishings for our new place. (The others were SouthSide Vintage, Arlee Park, MidModMen+friends, and Covet Consign & Design.)

The more we shopped at Carousel + Folk (and stalked their addictive Instagram feed), the more we came to appreciate Lindsey and Mike’s impeccable taste. It was nearly impossible to leave their their sunny, plant-filled shop without a double-headed vintage floor lamp, groovy tiger cross stitch, bohemian macramé wall hanging, boxy Woolrich flannel, cheeky bolo tie, or a flourishing Dracaena. And because the prices were so fair, we could justify returning again and again.

The Casons are tight with the North. Mike was born in Rockford, Illinois but moved with his mom and siblings to Eden Prairie in grade school. Lindsey, meanwhile, was raised in Orono and Watertown. And though they lived fairly close to one another growing up, Lindsey and Mike didn’t officially meet until 2008, when mutual friends introduced them at Lollapalooza in Chicago. Mike was just passing through, but Lindsey lived there. A few weeks into getting to know one another, they took an impromptu road trip to Wisconsin’s House on the Rock — if that’s not a recipe for love, nothing is.

After graduation, Mike made pizzas while Lindsey managed a retail boutique. The couple enjoyed thrifting together and decided to launch Carousel + Folk as an Etsy shop in January 2011. A year later, they hightailed it back to the Twin Cities and now they’re happily rooted down in Longfellow. Their lovely fixer-upper, which has its own Instagram account, is located five minutes from Carousel + Folk’s brick-and-mortar storefront, which they opened in June 2018. Having an IRL shop was a dream of theirs since they first began selling, as the couple loves interacting with customers and styling and displaying their second-hand finds.

If you stop by the shop now, you might notice Lindsey working the floor by herself. That’s because Mike is back in the kitchen, helming Cason Italian Eatery at Pryes Brewery. The meatballs are his pride and joy, he says, but the pizza is pretty tasty, too.

As much as Lindsey and Mike enjoy working in retail and food, their longer-term goal is to move to rural Minnesota and run their own hobby farm. Lindsey’s step-grandparents had one when she was younger, with miniature horses, goats, and ducks. “I even had a miniature donkey named Domino,” she tells us. Until that happens, the Twin Cities’ “picturesque lakes, prairies, and countryside” will have to do. Says Lindsey, “So many people who aren’t from Minnesota don’t realize how vast the scenery is here.”

What follows are some of the couples’ favorite scenic getaways, plus other Minnesota musts….

You have to leave Minnesota tomorrow and you can never come back. Where and how do you spend your last 24 hours in the state?
Driving up north to our family’s cabin, thrifting along the way, grilling dinner, and then heading out on an evening boat cruise. Mike’s mom and step dad recently bought a cabin on Lake Ossawinnamakee, so last summer was the first full season we spent up there. It’s such a beautiful area. We’re just starting to get acquainted with it and we find new places each time we go. Our favorite thrift store so far is the Goodwill in Cross Lake.

We also take an annual trip up north to a resort in Akeley with Lindsey’s dad and step-mom’s families. This has been going on for over 25 years and we have become very close with the owners — so much so, our family sometimes calls it ‘our cabin.’ The resort, Crow Wing Crest Lodge, is idyllic and close to Park Rapids, Walker, and Bemidji. Park Rapids has a great thrift store (Bearly Used), a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and our favorite spot, Linda’s Recycled Goods. Linda is the best!

What Minnesota stereotype annoys you the most? Which is the most accurate?
Minnesota Nice is probably the most accurate. The stereotypical accent can be a bit annoying.

Do you have a favorite day trip or weekend getaway?
Day trip: Stillwater. Our favorite antique spots are the Stillwater Antiques Mall, previously the Cosmopolitan Bank (a Prairie-style building built in 1968 and designed by Kislstofte & Vosejpka Architects). The building alone is reason to check it out! We also hit up the Midtown Antique Mall and Staples Mill Antiques, another cool and historic building. We love grabbing breakfast at the Chilkoot Café & Cyclery; the cornmeal pancakes are our favorite pancakes ever. And we have a tradition of going to dinner at Phil’s Tara Hideaway. It has the feel of a supper club within a cabin. Lindsey’s go-to dish is the seared duck and potato gnocchi or the Taste of Greece platter. Highly recommended for a date night!

Weekend getaway: Duluth. Our most recent trip was one of my favorites. We stayed in the new Hotel Pikku, a beautifully designed Airbnb owned by the nicest people. It’s in the Lincoln Park Craft District of Duluth, conveniently located next to OMC Smokehouse. Awesome barbecue at great prices and local craft beer and wine. We also like to hit up Duluth Grill or Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe for breakfast. Oh, and we love bringing our dog to Chester Bowl park and then heading over to Enger Tower for the best view in town.

What’s the most underrated neighborhood in the Twin Cities and why?
Longfellow has a bit of everything: great restaurants, parks, and tons of local businesses to support. We love the Peace Coffee just a few blocks from our house—it’s the perfect spot to go for a morning walk with the dog and grab some cold press coffee to go. Gandhi Mahal is our favorite take-out spot and our all-time favorite Indian restaurant. We love that they use hydroponics to grow as much of their own produce as possible. Every dish we order is always delish!

Oh, and we can’t forget the Minnehaha Mile. This great selection of vintage shops is what drove us to move to Longfellow in the first place. We were once vendors at Junket: Tossed & Found and fell in love with the area. We love the sense of community that the Minne Mile brings. Big shout out to Toni Johnson, owner of Turquoise Vintage, who has been a huge cheerleader and supporter of Carousel + Folk since we opened! Lindsey also loves to shop at E’s Emporium; she has great style.

We also love how walkable Longfellow is and that the people are all so nice. It’s truly the definition of community. We feel lucky to live here.

We just handed you $200 to spend anywhere in the Twin Cities. Where are you shopping and what are you buying?
We would hit up our favorite thrift stores and hopefully a couple of estate sales along the way. We’d be buying textiles, vintage planters, men’s wool shirts, and hopefully a sweet piece of furniture.

The Minnesota State Fair: Love it or hate it?
We love it, but hate that we haven’t been in a long time! Best people watching ever.

Who is a local artist, maker, or other creative who inspires you?
Amber Grice of Lady Vamp Artistry. Her creative vision, her drive to build her business, and her ability to balance it all while having a family is admirable. I love seeing how she styles our pieces in her studio.

You’re eating out at every meal. Where are you going and what are you ordering?
Breakfast: Hi-Lo Diner for coffee, eggs, and pancakes. Lunch: Centro for chips and gauc and carnitas tacos. Dinner: Blue Door Pub in Longfellow for beer, Buffalo wings, Blucys, and tots.

Wine, beer, or cocktails—pick your poison and the local bar, brewery, or distillery that does it best.
Young Joni. Lindsey drinks wine and Mike drinks beer, so we can grab a pizza and then head to the Back Bar for a nightcap.

You’re in charge of a 5-year-old and a 12-year-old for the next 10 hours. Where do you take them?
Hot Plate for breakfast; we love the paint-by-numbers and retro decor adorning the walls. Then we’d head to Como Park Zoo & Conservatory for the afternoon, rounding it out with some ice cream at Izzy’s.

You have $100,000 to film a documentary about anything in Minnesota. What’s it on?
The vintage scene here in the Twin Cities. There are so many incredible and inspiring shops, all with unique backgrounds, aesthetics, and ways to source their goods.

You have five minutes with the mayor to state your case. What do you bend his ear about?
What the future of the Franklin/Hiawatha Encampment looks like.

What makes you proud to be Minnesotan?
The vintage scene here in the Twin Cities. There are so many incredible and inspiring shops, all with unique backgrounds, aesthetics, and ways to source their goods.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Last great book you read…
Forbidden Archaeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race, by Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson

Last great movie you saw…
The Preppie Connection

TV show you’re bingeing on…
“Fuck, That’s Delicious” 

Favorite museum or gallery…
The Tweed Museum of Art in Duluth

Favorite local Instagrammer…
@ashleymaryart

Something you look forward to every year…
Fourth of July fireworks on Lake Minnetonka or Bay Lake!


Carousel + Folk
4205 S. 31st Ave., Minneapolis, MN; info@carouselandfolk.com.