MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Shopping at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is taking off with consumers, and one small business saw an opportunity to take their own business to new heights.

St. Croix Promotions and Retail now has five stores at MSP, all with different looks and concepts so the 33 million people on the go at the airport can always pick something up with a Minnesota connection.

“Really we’re memory merchants,” CEO Pady Renier said. “We’re the anti-‘moose on a T-shirt’ company.”

Pady Renier started the company two decades ago after losing her job when the company she worked for went out of business. It was a love of Minnesota sports that kicked things off.

“Sports Minnesota is all major league brands for the Minnesota Sports Fan,” Renier said.

It then led to Toys and Treats at Sugar Pop across the hall. And this last year brought a number of new concepts. The first is for the beer lover.

“We make it for the brewers to have here and in their taprooms,” buyer Nancy Gross said.

Another stop for the woman on the go is Grand Avenue, which is stocked with accessories all categorized by color.

St. Croix’s main shop, Uptown, connects consumers with a Minnesota passion for art. It was, in fact, inspired by the Uptown Art Fair, and everything sold there is made by a Minnesota artist.

Travelers love bags from Urban Junket with chargers inside, and Dock Six makes beautiful fused glass hostess gifts.

“We also have a line of jewelry called ‘No Whining’ that takes corks from local and national wineries to make jewelry from,” Gross said.

Each product comes with a card describing the artist and his or her work.

And don’t think you’re getting gouged; MSP Airport’s street pricing rule means the stores can’t price 10 percent above street value. The artists get new exposure while working with different vendors to keep prices low.

“This is really our love, to develop our concepts,” Reiner said.

The concepts have landed at the airport, but can be seen throughout the Twin Cities. If you’ve ever shopped at the Science Museum or SeaLife at Mall of America, you’ve probably picked up product found by St. Croix Promotions and Retail. They also do pop-up retail concepts and help companies like Best Buy stock their headquarter stores.

If you’re an artist looking for a new way to showcase, they want to hear from you. Click here for more information.

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