WALHALLA — On a quiet afternoon at Walhalla’s Blu Soul Design, the sound of saws signals that another refinishing job is in full swing.
Desiree Kintyhtt is the shop’s owner and only employee. The store aims to refinish and redesign farmhouse-inspired home decor and furnishings. Not only does she run the store, she also has a booth at her Marketplace in Midtown Grand Forks. For custom orders, such as remodeled kitchens and repainting old furniture, she asks clients to book six months in advance.
This business started as a hobby for Kintyhtt. She used to repair furniture herself, but then she turned it into her job because she knew a small town like Valhalla would benefit her.
“There is nothing like this in Walhalla,” she said. “Not any provincial city…there was no place in the area where people could get gifts or home decorations or anything of that nature. So there was a high demand in the area.” “
According to Kintyhtt, Blu Soul Design opened on the last Saturday of September 2017 during Walhalla’s annual Pumpkin Festival.
“[It was] It’s unbelievably crazy,” she said. “There were a lot of people in town and I had amazing results and it didn’t stop. The locals have been very good at coming out and supporting me and keeping the business going.”
The name Blu Soul Design came from Kintyhtt’s feelings after her husband passed away.
“When I started this business and actually had it in store, I had to come up with a name, but I wasn’t in a very good place emotionally yet, so the word ‘Blu’ was emotional. It’s a game of..
Since then, the journey from 2017 to 2023 has been “very exciting and overwhelming.” Locals as well as people from afar have supported her business. According to Kintyhtt, people from Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck all come to the store primarily through word of mouth.
“I have a lot of little grannies in town who joke that when their kids come to see me in town, they really just come shopping with me,” she said. “We sent packages to Pennsylvania and shipped boxes to Colorado because they brought their family here and they loved it and wanted to take it home. It’s something unique that you wouldn’t expect to find in Walhalla.”
Blu Soul Design’s relationship with Midtown Marketplace began when Kintyhtt’s vendor friend reached out to see if she would be interested in participating, having its own booth in Grand Forks’ former Kmart building. It was a market shared by about 30 vendors. She “jumped” on the offer and has her own booth and attends from time to time.
Kintyhtt was currently working on adding a coffee shop to what Kintyhtt originally wanted, but other parts of the business prevented her from making it. Customers have expressed interest in the coffee shop, and Kintyhtt said she thinks it will be a complement to her current outlet.
“They don’t just come here to shop and walk away, they come and visit,” she said. “I think the coffee shop just offers something else to stop by… It’s a complementary service, something that she doesn’t have here at Walhalla, I think.”
As the store’s sole employee, Kintyhtt has a lot on her plate. She said she works seven days a week.
One thing she hasn’t been able to do since COVID is hold DIY sessions. It used to be from 5 to her 20 or so participants where people could get together, create something and enjoy each other. company.
Kintyhtt still enjoys connecting with the people of Walhalla, especially other businesses nearby. April hosts the Junk Shop Hop, where customers get a map detailing small businesses in the area and win prizes for completing the route.
In addition to running his own business, Kinthytt is also a board member of Walhalla’s Chamber of Commerce. She said she appreciates being able to work with other businesses around her, as well as her community itself.
“Any small town, Walhalla really has to come together, be part of the community, and support each other to bring people together,” she said.
For the rest of North Dakota and beyond, Kintyhtt wants people to remember small, remote towns like Walhalla.
“I just want people to know that Walhalla has a lot to offer,” she said.
Otto recently graduated from the University of North Dakota and is an intern at the Herald.