Woman responsible for magical displays at Minneapolis' Wild Rumpus Books set to retire

The woman who has created countless wonderful displays around a Minneapolis bookstore is set to retire after 17 years.

Ellen Ourada didn’t mean for it to be like this -- that the part-time job she took when she retired from teaching would last this long and mean so much.

"It’s my love, it’s books and kids and... don’t make me cry!" Ellen said.

It all makes her second retirement so bittersweet.

"It's been so enjoyable that the time has flown by and I got to a point where I thought there’s got to be some end to this," Ellen said. "And I better make it sooner than later."

For 17 years, Ellen’s worked Tuesdays and Thursdays at Wild Rumpus Books in Linden Hills, which is considered one of the best children’s bookstores in the country.

Two years ago, it was named by Publishers Weekly as the number one bookstore -- period -- in the United States.

"But, really, what she brings is the visual style of the store is her," said Katie McGinley of Wild Rumpus Books.

Anyone that’s wandered through and been tickled by the decor, taken in by the displays, or transported by the front window -- all of that has been Ellen.

"Like all the little knick-knacks around, she will find stuff, and she’ll go out on her weekends and come back and say I found this and I’m going to keep it in my store closet downstairs for when it’s the perfect thing," said McGinley.

In fact, she’s built a storeroom in the basement. The props are perfect for any occasion or to highlight a particular subject or author.

"Just making our store special really," says McGinley

She’s made a mark but feels it’s time. "I just feel like everyone’s replaceable and it’s my turn to be replaced."

But no one here agrees that’s possible.