Loving the Hunt for Retail


Debi and Mimi Canfield, owners of Larkellen in Reno, Nevada.

When Mimi Canfield describes her retail gift store Larkellen www.larkellenreno.com located in southwest Reno, NV, one can sense her passion for retail.

“Larkellen is 850 square feet of pure joy,” she said.

Mimi and her mother, Debi, operate the store together.

“Retailing flows through our veins,” Canfield said. “My mom grew up helping both of her parents in the retail world of downtown Los Angeles. She shared her passion, tricks of the trade, and love of the industry with me.

“We both love the hunt of retail … finding unique items you can’t buy in big box stores, connecting with people and hearing the stories of the products they produce is what makes gift stores like ours one of a kind.”

Early on, Debi and Mimi understood the value of connecting american made artists to their customers.

Customers entering the store can’t help but notice the bright red floor and white walls, which off the perfect contrast and background for displaying items, which, she said, are mostly American-made products.

“Larkellen is eccentric in its own way,” Canfield explained. “One can find anything for both men and women’s bath and body to leather goods, housewares and Nevada-themed apparel.

“We like to call ourselves the retail smorgasbord because there is something for everyone here,” she added. “Our wide variety of products bring in so many people – men, women, young and old – shopping for grandparents, kids and everyone in between.”

Early on, Mimi and Debi picked up on the importance of carrying American made items. “People wanted to buy American made but, didn’t know where to go, and I think we brought something different to our area. Gift boutiques are making a comeback and we are happy to be a part of that.”

Mimi and Debi especially enjoy telling customers about the designers whose products they carry.

“You can really feel the passion that they have for their product and it says something to the buying customer,” Canfield said. “It’s about bringing back lost trades, and embracing working with your hands. We have a local blacksmith that makes fantastic dinner bells for us, something that you forget about in our modern tech world. When you buy American made, it’s helping out so many people in your community…your neighbor…your brother, a teacher …the list goes on and on.

“Our success isn’t just ours, it is those that have shared their products and passion with us as well,” she added. “It’s a unit of people that share their passions that make all of the business we work with successful. We have a relationship with all of our vendors, we send holiday cards and gifts…it really is such a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

Mimi and Debi work very hard to keep their store looking fresh.


“Our store is re-arranged on a daily basis, sometimes three times in a day,” Canfield said. “We are constantly receiving new goods and with that comes a change. We have a sort of theme to Larkellen. We do a lot of earthy tones with a mountain feel. We really like to tell a story with our products.”

After so many years of success, Canfield feels at least more comfortable offering other retailers advice about finding success.

Keeping point of sale displays fresh is a crucial element of success at larkellen.

“Honestly, I would just tell others to know the area in which you decide to open your business. Larkellen transformed because we really listened to what people wanted and we went from there,” she said. “Changing your store regularly and adding new products weekly really helps for those customers that shop weekly. We are always on the look-out for the next thing or spinning ideas off of each other to keep up to date with everything going on. We try our hardest to pay attention to what is going on in our community and that helps us in our business. Anyone can put a price tag on an item and throw it on the shelf, but not everyone can project the maker’s intention or tell a story.”

And looking ahead, Canfield sees a bright future.

“It’s only going to get bigger, and better. We are so happy to be a part of the small business community. We have already seen a change in people shopping locally and we can’t wait to see where it takes Larkellen and others like us,” she concluded.