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Creative, vintage stock make shop a destination

Staff writer

Julie and Dwight Nelson’s shop east of Aulne carries on a tradition begun by her parents.

The Copper Shed, a popular destination for county visitors, grew from her father’s interest in tinkering with spare farm parts and turning them into something new.

“He started out making animals and doo-dads, then people wanted to buy them,” Julie said. “Both my parents were very creative, and Mom would suggest something, and he’d have it done by noon.”

Not only do the Nelsons carry on giving new life to old parts and bits of things. They also rescue vintage items from estate sales and auctions and sell them at the Copper Shed.

They do upcycling and recycling and still use some of her father’s patterns along with their own.

Her father created the floors at the Copper Shed, making one from concrete, wrenches and other tools, and another from pieces of salvaged wood.

Sometimes — often on weekends — Dwight and his brother, Kent Nelson, give metalworking demonstrations in the barn.

Some of the items on display are her father’s original work. Among them are a sculpture of a windmill, wheat, and sunflowers, and of a metal owl looking out of a knot in a wooden tree; other sculptures adorn the walls.

Rescued and vintage items include old manual typewriters, crank-style butter churns, early to mid-20th century kitchen furnishings, tableware, storage containers, washtubs, children’s clothing, and Christmas decorations.

The business sells old tractor grills, old hand-cranked water pumps, and a wide array of other unaltered rural items.

“We have a lot of antiques and vintage things, and they are very popular,” she said. “We’re finding people are liking the man cave stuff.”

Although the Nelsons live at 1832 140th Rd. south of Marion, it’s not always easy to reach them. “A good time to catch us is Friday or Saturday,” she said. “Other times, it’s chance or call.”

Last modified July 1, 2021

 

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