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Local boutiques burn in major South Minneapolis fire

Two of the Twin Cities' most popular, locally-owned gift boutiques - Patina and Shoppe Local - were involved in a major fire Thursday afternoon at the corner of 50th and Bryant Ave in South Minneapolis.

WCCO-TV reports that a grease fire at nearby Heidi's Minneapolis spread quickly, engulfing the adjoining shops in flames. At 4:30pm, the roof of Patina's flagship shop - which carried creative gifts, toys and books - was ablaze. It was the first of five Patina locations when it opened in 1993. Patina - along with Heidi's - is expected to be completely destroyed by the fire.

Next door, Shoppe Local - a store launched last year by Patina to showcase locally-made apparel, jewelry, gifts and kids' items - was reported to have broken windows but not be on fire during the afternoon. Other nearby businesses affected by the blaze include Blackbird Cafe and Stacey Johnson Jewelry.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Minneapolis firefighters would likely be fighting the fire, which began around 1:00pm, into the evening.

2.19.10 Update:  A city inspector told KSTP-TV that the building at 50th and Bryant is off-limits this weekend until crews can determine the extent of the damage. Patina co-owner Rick Haase, who also owns the building that housed all five damaged businesses, says he plans to rebuild as soon as possible. In the meantime, he told KARE-11 that he hopes to find employment elsewhere for the several dozen employees of the Lynnhurst neighborhood businesses.

On Patina's web site, a message was posted for concerned fans that reads, in part: "Thank you everyone for all your support and well-wishes. Stay tuned for the next chapter as we look ahead to the future." Meanwhile, Heidi's owner Stewart Woodman also posted a touching thank-you note on his blog for patrons and employees.

Photo by Patina

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