This past weekend Victoria and I headed up to Northeast Minneapolis to check out this year’s NorthernGRADE. NorthernGRADE is an annual menswear pop-up shop (semi-annual if you count SnowGRADE) featuring ONLY American-made products. Many of the companies at NorthernGRADE, such as Red Wing Shoes, Faribault Woolen Mills and Duluth Pack, are crafting their products right here in Minnesota.
I first became aware of and interested in this new “Made in the USA” movement a few years ago and have been impressed to see how it has grown in that short period. Victoria seems to have caught my “Made in the USA” fever over these past few months, so she was happy to make the trip up to Architectural Antiques, the site of NorthernGRADE.
Architectural Antiques is an interesting space absolutely filled with…well…architectural antiques. If you’re looking for vintage drawer pulls, door hinges, sconces or even an old church pulpit, you’ll find it at Architectural Antiques.
The lovely (and local) Byrd & Belle was well represented with a wide selection of handmade woolen and leather cases for your electronics (iPhone, iPad, e-reader, etc.).
One of my favorite “booths” at NorthernGRADE was that of J.W. Hulme, a maker of fine leather and canvas luggage, bags and accessories. I’ve cyber-stalked J.W. Hulme for a while, and have been wanting to visit and tour their factory here in St Paul since I moved here, but for whatever reason just haven’t gotten around to it. Having seen and handled their goods in person, I can say they are every bit the premium product their prices indicate. These are bags you will have for the rest of your life.
The people at the booth were lovely as well, and proudly spoke of the company’s recent revival.
While I didn’t make any purchases, I had a wonderful time browsing the different booths, admiring some of the fine products being made today right here in the US.
And even though I didn’t buy anything, someone else found the perfect wall hanging for her new office.
If you are in the Twin Cities and believe in paying a premium for high-quality products from companies proudly making their goods in the US, I highly recommend checking out next fall’s NorthernGRADE. And if you find you can’t wait that long, keep your eyes peeled for SnowGRADE – NorthernGRADE’s winter sibling – this coming February.