Roger Barrett and Sam Beberg are the co-owners of Pharmacie, a new home furnishings, accessories, and gift shop in Uptown in Minneapolis. I worked with Roger at the Science Museum of Minnesota years ago, and am really excited for his and Sam’s new venture. Both still work at their day jobs in addition to running the shop, so they’ve been insanely busy. But all the hard work has been paying off. If you haven’t stopped in yet, you should! It’s got a different vibe than any other shop in the Twin Cities, and I love it. (Oh, and yes, disclaimer, they do carry my work!)
Hey Roger and Sam! What are your guys’ backgrounds?
We’re both Minnesota natives. Sam is from Grand Marais, and I (Roger) am from Brooklyn Park. My background is in graphic and exhibition design, and Sam’s is in the restaurant business. He worked previously as a chef at Chez Bananas and Table of Contents, and currently co-owns Hot Plate in South Minneapolis.
What is Pharmacie?
We’re not a drug store! But we like to think, in a way, that we’re offering the same idea—a place where people can come fill a prescription…for design. In all seriousness, we’re a modern home furnishings, accessories, and gift store with a focus on up-and-coming small designers from around the country, layered with select vintage finds. We have a varied and eclectic mix of products at all price points. Offerings range from jewelry to sofas, glassware to backpacks, lighting to bottle openers, side tables to soap dishes.
When did you start talking about opening up a shop, and why did you want to?
We’ve been dreaming of this, separately, for a lifetime. But together, we’ve talked about it for at least three years. And we’ve been actively researching product, vibe, and location for the last two years.
Why did you want to open a shop?
Because we love and appreciate well-designed objects and environments, and want to share that love with our friends, neighbors, and customers.
How did it come about, and how long did long did it take?
I’m not exactly certain how the idea was born. Probably during some late-night furniture re-arranging in our apartment. I probably told Sam, “You’re really good at this. You should open a design store!”
As for the name, it was initially conceived over two years ago when the old Burch Pharmacy space in Uptown became vacant. We thought it would be the perfect spot for a home design store. And why not give a nod to the history of the building and call it Pharmacie? Obviously, we didn’t take that location, but the name stuck. We love the tongue-and-cheek nature of being named something that we’re not, but in a way still providing the same services: a prescription for design; an RX for a beautiful life.
What kind of research did you do?
The internet, gift shows in New York and San Francisco, the internet, friends, scoping out shops and products wherever we travel to, the internet…. Thank god for the internet, and for the husband and wife making furniture in their garage!
Who and/or what has been helpful in getting this going?
Without a doubt it’s been family and friends. People have been incredibly supportive of our idea and this project. And since we’ve opened, it’s been amazing how much support we’ve gotten from the neighborhood. People are pretty stoked that we’ve moved in.
You did a lot of the work in the shop yourselves. Can you tell us about that?
All I gotta say is we need better tools.
After you passed up the Burch spot, how did you choose your current space?
We looked forever at locations all over Minneapolis, but always knew we wanted to be in a vibrant neighborhood, and be close to restaurants, bars, and other shops.
What’s great about your location?
We couldn’t be happier with where we landed. We have great neighbors—World Street Kitchen, SooVac, Moxie—that have all been incredibly supportive of our venture. And the neighboring residents are really excited about the addition to the ‘hood. The space itself is perfect, too. We love all the great windows and the raw finishing of the space.
What’s “Home” to you?
Home is a delicious meal, a good drink, easygoing friends, a good joke…and some items from Pharmacie!
How do you choose your products?
We love objects that are sexy, funny, beautiful, unique, hand-crafted, modern, luxurious, expensive, a good value, fragrant, comfortable, black, pink, white, brass…or any combination of the above.
What are some of your favorite products?
Right now our favorite products are a box of condoms imprinted with “Thanks for nothing,” and the 3D-printed skulls.
What’s in store in the near future?
Oof. We have big dreams. But for now, it’s all about getting through the holidays.
Why should people shop at Pharmacie?
We have a great selection of unique objects presented in a warm, welcoming, modern environment.
Do you have any events coming up we should know about?
We’re doing a Small Business Saturday happy hour from 6-9pm on Nov. 30.
Read all of the interviews I’ve done for redshoes news on my blog, redshoes news 2.6.