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Youth-focused shop closes after 25 years

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business Cottage Grove, 55016
SWC Bulletin
651-459-9491 customer support
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

She may be 71 years old, but Tina Luymes can interact with ease with the "goths," "emos," "metal kids" and anyone else who walked through the doors of her 25-year business In Concert.

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"Some people come in and they see the kids and they're a little scared," Luymes said. "These kids are harmless ... it's all fad stuff."

On Friday -- one of the store's last days in business -- Luymes joked with shopper Andy Rowe that his oversized ear piercings could save him should he ever get shot -- the bullets could pass right through the around-3-inch diameter of the holes. That was before suggesting his friend Bryce Courneya try painting his face like Marilyn Manson when he got home, because he shared some of his features.

Luymes closed down her store -- her hobby, as she called it -- Monday.

She opened the shop, which sold merchandise like video games and CDs targeted at children and teens, after her youngest of three sons went away to college. 

"I had to do something, or I'd be devastated," she said. If she'd had to make her living on the store's profits, she said she probably wouldn't have lasted. But for her, it wasn't about the money.

"It's always been a hobby business for me. My husband understood," she said of the store, which has been in a few different locations in the retail strip next to Rainbow Foods.

As trends changed over the years, so did her stock. She'd keep up by talking with the kids that came into her store, and watching what they wore. That's how she knew to stock crazy bands -- colorful, shaped rubber bands -- a recent craze, she said. Magic Cards have been another big seller, and she also stocked hair dye in a rainbow of colors.

"Some of the stuff is crazy to me, but not to them," she said.

The east wall of the store was filled with pictures of the youth that have shopped there. She asked people to stop by the store in its final days and take their pictures home. She feared she'd sit over them crying every day if she took them home herself, she said.

She rarely had any problems with the young people who shopped at In Concert, and only had to call the police a handful of times over the years, she said.

"The kids are wonderful," she said. "They make me feel young."

In some cases, her teen shoppers were the second generation. Their parents had also been there in their youth, she said.

Although Luymes is closing up shop, it's hard to imagine she'll be sitting around much in retirement. She already has four trips planned, one of which is a 21-day vacation in China.

"I don't just want to sit at home and wait to die," she said. "I want to keep busy."

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Scott Wente
Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
(651) 459-7600
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