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Chrysalis opens in downtown Hastings

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One of Hastings' new storefronts is all about hands - handmade specialty soaps and home décor, handcrafted jewelry, handmade tutus for kids - and to top it all off, massage therapy.

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Chrysalis, located at 110 E. Second St. in downtown Hastings, isn't Barb Odman's first venture into business, but it is her first formal storefront. For the past two years, she's operated her massage business, Barb's Therapeutic Massage, out of the Riviera building along Sibley Street. It was her landlord who asked if she would be interested in moving into another of his buildings where she could more prominently feature her jewelry for sale, and she decided to give it a shot.

Odman knew she wouldn't be able to support a retail business on her own, so she contacted several of her friends - other crafters she had worked with over the years. Together they've been able to put together an array of one-of-a-kind products for customers to see and buy.

The retail side of Odman's business has been growing for about seven years, since she and her sister started creating and selling jewelry to help raise money to pay for her grandson's medical bills following an accident.

When they had raised the money they needed, they decided to just keep going. They found an opportunity to sell their creations at the flea market by The Point and have been selling there ever since.

Chrysalis sells a variety of handmade jewelry, but its inventory has much more to offer. There are handmade soaps, alpaca goods, original artwork, quilts made from 100 percent recycled wool, colorful tutus and hair bows for kids and bunting for shoppers to browse through, and more is on the way.

"It's developing all the time," Odman said. "It's going to continue to grow."

Because they're handmade, the products Chrysalis sells are all unique, one-of-a-kind items that aren't likely to be seen again once they're sold.

"If you see it and you like it, you'd better take it with you," Odman said.

Another result of the store's handcrafted nature, however, is that customers can get items crafted specifically to their tastes. One woman, for example, found a necklace and matching set of earrings she liked, but wanted the earrings shorter and with a different accent bead. Odman took out her tools and went to work right away modifying the earrings, and the woman left a short while later with jewelry she knew she would love and wear.

Custom work is Odman's favorite part of her job, she said. Anyone can go to a big box store and buy a piece of jewelry, but it won't have any sort of personal touch to it, she said.

"I like the person to have exactly what works and fits for them," Odman said.

For now, the store is mostly an outlet for Odman's and her associates' work, but eventually Odman hopes to be able to make more pieces in-house. Currently they can do wire-wrapping, so if customers have a stone or item they'd like to turn into jewelry, Chrysalis can make it happen.

Behind the front retail area of the store are a few rooms dedicated to massage therapy. Odman has been a massage therapist for 19 years. She started working in Cottage Grove and still practices there as well as in Hastings. She has run her business here for about 10 years. Her specialty is in injury rehabilitation massage, and isn't so gentle as a typical spa massage, she said, but a second massage therapist specializes in the more relaxing work.

Chrysalis opened at 110 E. Second St. Dec. 2 after five months of interior renovations. The building was gutted down to its rock wall on the west, which was then patched and sealed. It remains exposed. New walls were constructed to create the massage rooms, and new sheet rock was put up on walls that were too damaged to leave exposed.

Chrysalis is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, or by appointment. Odman said she's still working on the hours, though, and is often open more than her regular hours. An open house is scheduled for Jan. 13-15. The phone number is 651-319-0584.

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Katrina Styx
Katrina Styx has been a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette since 2010. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Prior to coming to Hastings, Katrina reported for weekly newspapers in Jordan, Minn., and River Falls, Wis.
(651) 319-4501
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