SAUK RAPIDS — There’s more space, more windows and more storage, but at its new location, Copper Pony is focused on giving you more of one thing they know you love: more Copper Pony.
“This place just kept calling us,” Brandon Johnson said. He and Josh Hoffman own Copper Pony, and on Wednesday, the new space at 208 N. Benton Drive in Sauk Rapids was a hive of staff activity as they prepared the space for opening next month.
“This is step two of a multi-step vision,” Johnson said.
Hoffman said he’s excited to show people the creative displays they’re putting together in the new store. It’s chaos, but it’s also a good time.
“I want to enjoy the process,” he said. “I want to be able to enjoy this, looking at the products and seeing, OK, is this telling a story? I wanted to be here and enjoy it. This is my favorite part — ordering the product and setting it.”
The biggest shift demarcating “step two” is the addition of The Kitchen at Copper Pony, a spot for coffee, soups, sandwiches, salads and “heavy on the baked goods,” Johnson said.
“Most people refer to the kitchen as the heart of the home,” Johnson said. “You need the heart to really kind of live into that. And so that’s really why we wanted to do that.”
This is new territory for Copper Pony.
“We’re hoping that people can offer us some grace as we launch into basically adding a business to our business,” Johnson said.
With three times the space than before, there’s room for almost everything but the kitchen sink — no, scratch that. They installed a farmhouse sink.
It’s to “reinforce the narrative” in the space Copper Pony has dedicated to kitchen items (plus, it’s a place to try-before-you-buy their luxury soaps).
Johnson said they expanded their offerings in every category of items Copper Pony sells, though their collection of giftable items probably expanded the most. Johnson said though clothing likely won’t be in stock right away, they have dedicated changing rooms set up and are considering how they’d like to offer apparel — for instance, potentially through partnering with local boutiques to bring in pop-ups within Copper Pony.
“It will give us the opportunity to keep things really fresh, but we can cross-pollinate our audiences a bit,” Johnson said.
Customers can also expect to see books on cooking and home décor and design at the new store. After all, the sales floor is twice the size it was downtown.
“We just had to kind of grow every category to fill it,” Johnson said.
They also grew their team, which now also includes food service staff for The Kitchen at Copper Pony. Between their Sauk Rapids location and Copper Pony in the Gardens, the team is close to 30 people.
But Johnson and Hoffman both said they are still focusing on maintaining the essence of what their customers have come to love about Copper Pony.
“We didn’t want to lose who we were,” Hoffman said.
Customers can still expect creative and artful window displays, for instance, facing out at the intersection of North Benton Drive and Second Street North.
“We’re hoping to really double down on that,” Johnson said.
The downtown St. Cloud store had the atmospheric assist of some exposed brick, but the new location incorporates “accent space” with reclaimed barn wood in various locations throughout the store.
Copper Pony announced in April its plans to close its downtown St. Cloud location after four years there and move the business to Sauk Rapids so it could continue to grow. They closed their downtown store Aug. 14.
“We are just super excited,” Johnson said. “We hope that we can live up to people’s expectations, because we know that people have come to expect a certain type of experience at our store downtown. And we also know that this is a vastly different environment. … But we’re hoping that it’s unique enough … that it feels special.”
Sarah Kocher is the business reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Reach her at 320-255-8799 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SarahAKocher.
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