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Wander Minnesota: Ax-Man Surplus

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Amy Rea Amy Rea
Amy Rea is a freelance writer and author of Minnesota, Land of 10,000...
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Cabin fever setting in? The impending return of the frigid temps got you down? Can’t shake the winter doldrums? You just need to take a little trip to Ax-Man Surplus.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

This Twin Cities company has four locations (St. Paul, St. Louis Park, Fridley, and Crystal), and you just never know what you might find. For more than 50 years they’ve provided shoppers a unique experience every time they visit. Ax-Man is very much a surplus store, with the surplus coming from just about anywhere: factories that over-produced, businesses that are changing gears, people who are cleaning out Grandma’s attic. Because the inventory changes frequently, you could visit once, then go back a few months later and find a completely different inventory than you saw on your first visit.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Those who like stores to be tidy and boutique-like will probably not enjoy a visit here, but if you like exploring and poking through piles of things looking for the unexpected, you will have a blast. Besides, what if you find something you had no idea you really needed until you saw it?

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Like woolen hats from Lithuania.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

School and office supplies. Stock up!

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Costumes. Very bright and cheerful costumes.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Old-style salon hair dryer.

Arguably the best part about exploring Ax-Man are the product signs, hand-written by the staff, and they’re often very cheeky.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

If you haven’t watched Dexter, this may not tickle you. Or if you’re not old enough to remember Ally McBeal:

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Suffice it to say, the quirky humor is wide-ranging (and not always kid-friendly).

But really, where else are you going to find one of these?

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Ax-Man Surplus. Go for the entertainment, come home with treasures you had no idea you wanted.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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