Twice each year we show the season's new lines for one of our favorite designers, Sympli. We host a great group of our favorite customers, offer a little wine and some great hors d' oeuvres and then put the pieces on real people and give our opinions on how to wear them. This season we'll start with the social hour at 5:30 and sashay into the style show as close to 6:15 as possible. We've chosen to host our biannual event at a place that is near and dear to my heart - at Matz & Greiff on Main Street in Perham. What is the story behind that? Well, I'm glad you asked...
In 1925, my great-grandfather and his brother (my great-great uncle..whoa!) opened an automotive repair shop at 318 West Main Street in Perham and named it Greiff Brothers Garage. And on December 31, 2015, my father closed the business (by then called Matz & Greiff) after a great run of 87 years.
My dates wouldn't be accurate because I wasn't alive during the first almost 50 years of the business, so I won't give any more of them....but somewhere along the line, Walter Matz joined in the ownership of "the shop" and the name changed to Matz & Greiff. They sold Chryslers and Plymouths for many years and then they didn't - too much drama with new cars in the later years. So at some point, my grandpa, Melvin Greiff, took over the business over from my great-grandpa, Oscar. During their teenage years, my uncle, Alan, and my dad, Pete, worked at the shop on the weekends (if you know Al, ask him about the mornings in the pit...he loves to tell that story) and then my dad ended up working with Grandpa until Grandpa left us in 2010 to be with Grandma (who many of you know is the Dorothy behind the Dot in Dot & Minnie's). Up until a few months before he left, it wouldn't have been a surprise to walk into the shop and find Grandpa tucked under a hood - or at least having a cup of coffee with a friend. The coffee breaks were pretty frequent (not sure I would have wanted to drink out of one of those cups, but I guess it's what you're used to!).
My favorite memory of the place as a kid comes from the summers when my brother and I (pretty sure I was the ring-leader, but would never admit it in public) would ride our bikes downtown just before noon. Matz & Greiff closed every day for lunch from noon to 1 - probably announced by the noon whistle that still blew in Perham - so my brother and I would pedal quickly to get there in time to hitch a ride to "the lake" with Grandpa so we could crash the meal and then spend the rest of the afternoon playing in the water and all-around torturing Grandma. If we were really smart, we'd pack a change of clothes and spend the night - still remember those pancakes with little faces in them that we smothered with fresh raspberry jam or applesauce. Oh! Another fun memory is of Grandma driving us to town in Old Nellie...the 1950's Plymouth that is still parked outside the building.
Anyway! My brother joined the fray for a few years and then ventured off on his own and opened his own shop in Fargo which grows stronger every year (Adrian's Autocare - in case you're looking for a good, honest mechanic). That left Grandpa and Dad again. Dad always felt lucky because he got to spend almost every day of his life with Grandpa. Good family is just good and we've been blessed.
After Dad retired and had cleared out most of the paperwork and things he wanted to keep, it was time to sell the building. Along came the new owner (Dirk) who loved the buiding for what it was and was excited to keep it as original as possible. He started a media group (brand identities, design, publishing, production) and asked the family if it was okay if he kept the name - of course and how fun! The new look still has plenty of the old, but with an unknown number of hours of elbow grease and who knows how many gallons of degreaser....the transformation is amazing! It led me to ask Dirk if it would be possible for me to hold a Dot & Minnie's event in the space. His answer was a resounding, "well of course! We're family, aren't we?"
So I'm proud to announce that Dot & Minnie's Fall 2018 Sympli Trunk Show will be held at Matz & Greiff. Yet another Greiff doing business in the old family building, but this time with a completely different goal and intention - to show you how you can and should feel good in the clothes you wear - not just the car you drive :)