Photos by Paul Flessland
When opening the door to Grace 1972, it’s hard to say if you are walking into in a shop that sells repurposed furniture and decor or a gluten-free bakery. The answer is both–or rather, you are standing in a store that is half Grace 1972 and half Mehl’s Gluten-Free Bakery, both run by the Mehl family. While Mehl’s Gluten Free Bakery is owned by by the Mehl Brothers, Grace 1972 is owned by married couple Matthew and Audra Mehl.
Meet Audra Mehl: saleswoman, mother to three and the mind behind Grace 1972.
Though she has a successful career in so ware license and consulting sales, Audra Mehl has had a passion for decorating ever since she could remember. Audra Mehl recalled her childhood, which she spent rearranging the living room furniture while her mother was away at work.
Matthew Mehl takes care of day-to-day operations in the store so that Audra Mehl can continue her current career and express her creativity through Grace 1972.
The concept of Grace 1972 started with the intention of having a small cabinet in the corner of her husband’s bakery selling products from her blog, but it soon grew into something bigger. Open since February 6, 2017, Grace 1972 features vintage and repurposed pieces, some made by local artisans and others sourced from all over the United States.
For example, one of Audra Mehl’s vendors is a nurse who makes farmhouse signs on the weekends. “I really wanted Grace 1972 to be a place for local artists to showcase their work,” Audra Mehl said. “You find that artists aren’t typically people who do that for their livelihood. I want this to be lucrative for my vendors, so I buy their pieces outright.”
Though she only has a handful of vendors, Audra Mehl didn’t have a hard time finding inventory for Grace 1972. “I’ve naturally gravitated toward people who are like- minded with similar interests,” Audra Mehl said.
Audra Mehl even has a picker who brings primitive pieces all the way from New England and the southern United States.
Naming the Store
“Everything has a story and has history,” Audra said, standing beneath old windmill blades turned wall art.
Even the name Grace 1972 has a story. When Audra Mehl realized her dream of opening a home decor store, she struggled to come up with a name that felt right. Finally, she chose a name that honors both her husband and her mother.
“Grace” is a word that helped Audra and Matthew Mehl reconcile their marriage in 2015, which you can read more about on her blog. Meanwhile, 1972 is a reminder of how Audra’s mother, a pretty “town- girl” who married a farmer, was living in a trailer in the middle of a dirt field with a baby on her hip in the year 1972. Audra’s mother now lives in a blue farmhouse on the same land, sewing pillows for Grace 1972.
For more information, please contact:
Audra and Matthew Mehl
1404 33rd St. S. Unit H, Fargo
You can follow Grace 1972 on Instagram at @_grace_1972_ and read Audra’s blog at audramehl.net.
You can also find the store on Facebook by searching Grace 1972.