By Per Peterson
A relationship that started and developed through their trade eventually grew to a new level and, as it turns out, ultimately secured the future of a downtown Tracy staple.
Jim and Ade Miller’s popular niche store Lights & Beyond, a business they stepped away from at the end of 2017 and has been shuttered since, is being revived by friends Al and Lori Guza, business owners from Marshall, and Tammy Baun of St. Peter, who owns a business in Nicollet she eventually could move over to Tracy so she can focus on just one store.
“I remember we were standing right there at the front door, and I said, ‘Al, why don’t you just buy it?’ said Ade, who was selling furniture to Al. “You don’t have to worry about dragging all the furniture out.”
And then, “he called me,” Baun chimed in. “He said, ‘Hey, check this out.’ So I went online and saw Jim and Ade, who I had met at auctions. I thought, ‘Hmm, I gotta go there.’ So Al and I did.”
Al said the biggest attraction of the business, to him, is the lighting aspect, because of the business potential. Baun — “a California native with a Minnesota heart” — agreed, but said the real draw for her was what the Millers built over their years of running the store.
“They built a foundation for us to be able to build upon,” Baun said. “That’s what was attractive to me. They worked really hard to make a place in a small community and put a lot of love and care into this place. The three of us, we just want to continue to build on what they have done.”
Baun, who has been in Minnesota for 14 years, said building on what is already there and continuing the store’s strong tradition will hopefully encourage others who are looking to start a business to consider joining the Tracy community. And selfishly, she is excited about taking over the basement at Lights & Beyond — space that is part storage part artist’s studio.
For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.