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Patty's Beach House opens with second-hand style

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Patty Mollberg of Detroit Lakes has usually been spotted around town either at school or a sporting event of some kind.

But the middle school physical education-health teacher and mother of two is enjoying a change of scenery this summer, as she bebops around her new beach house -- Patty's Beach House, to be specific.

That's the name of the boutique she opened on Washington Avenue near the Pavilion -- in a little, yellow cabin that lay empty as part of the Capri Hotel.

But it's far from empty now, as Mollberg has it bursting at the seams with all sorts of fun, beach things, antiques, consignment items and local artists' creations.

"I've always loved little shops like this," said Mollberg, who hunts down and buys things that she, herself would want.

"Old, nostalgic lamps, pottery, bright dishes, old chairs, little shelves and end tables, antique phones and typewriters -- just shabby-chik stuff," said Mollberg, who also sells some new items, created by local artists.

She says one of the best parts of starting up the business is all the socializing she gets to do.

"I see people coming in here that I haven't had a chance to see in a long time, and it's just fun to visit with all the customers," she said, adding that she loves to hear about all the "fun things" those customers do with the unique knick-knacks and items she sells.

"I just sold an old, cool-lookin' chandelier with ruffed up paint, and she ended up taking the light bulbs out and putting candles in it and putting it in her porch for when she entertains," said Mollberg, who is happy more and more people seem to be falling in love with the same type of little shops, consignment sales and garage sales that she's never been able to pass up.

"It's almost like going green," she said, laughing, adding that while this sort of recycling might have once been looked down upon is now considered the in-thing, "especially for cabins and porches -- it's all fun, bright colors on old antiques and kitchen items. It really is fun."

And this growing appreciation of used items is showing at Patty's Beach House, too, because Mollberg says she's got her hands full keeping up with the flow of inventory.

"Well, I've had a lot of compliments on how affordably-priced everything is, and so I think it's all about the pricing -- it's tough to keep with all the inventory, but that's a good problem to have," she said, adding that she does have visions of something bigger in the future.

"We hope to be here next year, too, because I really love the location, but we might need something bigger in the future so that we have more room for inventory and a little place for me to work," she said, "but this is a good stepping stone."

Mollberg has been "mulling" over the idea of owning a business like this for about 10 years now, but this seemed to be "the right time", as her daughter, Katie is graduating from college and her son, Joe, just graduated from high school.

Mollberg even recruited her husband, Kent (also a Detroit Lakes teacher) to contribute to her new house.

"He took this old TV and stuck a poster of Lucy and Ricky in it with a light and put it on wheels so that when you swivel it, on the other side is a refrigerator," she said, "so we really get some unique things in here."

But as summer comes to a close, so will Patty's Beach House, as she heads back to school.

Until then, though, she will have the door to her new beach house open, awaiting all the "guests" wanting to browse around.

Patty's Beach House is located at 1134 Washington Avenue in Detroit Lakes, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.