Discover Minnesota: Meet the two Ladies Who Repair Lamps in Bloomington – WCCO
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – From electrical outlets to sewing to painting and metalwork, it’s Lamp Mending 101.
Repairing broken lights is a skill that has become rarer over the years, but two Twin Cities ladies not only keep the trade alive, they do their best to keep up with customer demands.
Almost as soon as the lights come on in their Bloomington store, customers look to the store’s owners for a quick fix.
“I used to order three-way sockets, maybe 50 a month. Now I order between 100 and 150 per month, ”said Marge Gritzke from The Lamp Mender.
Gritzke and Jane Lordalen’s lamp repair business has always been busy, but things have really warmed up lately. The competitors either retired or closed the store and there weren’t many of them at first.
“We are almost unique. I don’t know anyone who does the level of repairs and restorations we do, ”Lordalen said.
For them it is a career change of the 180 degree variant. She was a medical technician, but years ago she started mending lamps in her spare time. It wasn’t long before she and Gritzke realized that they could do this on their own.
They opened their Bloomington location 35 years ago, and believe it or not, the old ability continues to bring new business. Electricians come to them for help, along with remodelers and designers.
As skilled workers seek their help, they joke that dogs and cats are really the ones who keep them in business.
“Dogs and cats chew string sets. Even gerbils, ”said Lordalen.
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“A woman set a new record this year. She brought her lamp with her three times in a week because her dog was chewing on the string, ”said Gritzke.
They repair lamps that used to run on oil or kerosene and have been passed on from generation to generation.
“This is an oil lamp from the 1880s,” said Lordalen as he took a closer look at a customer’s lamp.
Lights, wall lights, table and floor lamps. It’s all colors and shades. Many of their customers have been coming here for decades.
“We had burned out a dimmer on the bed and it burned out and they said no problem, we can fix it,” said customer Mike Zacher. “You fixed it. Big Box Store, we don’t know what you need. We don’t know what to do. “
Therein lies the genius of this couple of business women. When technology replaced catalogs, they stayed connected. Gritzke familiarized himself with a computer and even built her website.
“I found a domain company that could manage our website and then built it from there,” said Gritzke.
And there are no plans to slow down. Not when the customer’s request means burning the midnight oil … or at least burning an LED lightbulb.
“You want to fix it. You want to use them again. Put a nice shadow on them. It brings back good memories. We call it the restoration of your lighting legacy, ”said Gritzke.
The ladies said between them and their apprentice that they could fix a lamp in a day or two.