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Stained glass artist teaches in his St. Cloud studio

Stained glass artist teaches in his St. Cloud studio

ST. CLOUD — Michael’s Stained Glass Studio offers a little bit of everything.

Owner Michael Lauer said the business creates commissioned art, restores and repairs stained glass windows and sells retail supplies.

“I survive because I do both,” Lauer said. “I do retail. I do commissions and restoration. So you combine the two and that’s what you have to do to survive in this business.”

Stained glass adorns the storage room of Michael’s Stained Glass Studio at 720 Osseo Ave. on Friday, June 28, 2024.

Trent Abrego / St. Cloud LIVE

Another big part of the business is the classes that Michael and his wife, artist Beatriz Guimarey Lauer, teach. Lauer estimates that 70% of his business currently comes from retail or classes.

In terms of revenue, it’s retail, because we’re the only store that does that. It’s just (that) we have a really good inventory of stained glass stuff,” Lauer said. “We’re starting to get people from the Twin Cities, because the two big companies there are both retiring.”

Michael’s Stained Glass offers classes for children and adults, teaching them to make everything from garden posts to lamps, mosaics and gnomes.

This project was completed in 1977 by Michael Lauer of Michael’s Stained Glass Studio, as seen in this undated photo.

Contributed / Michael Lauer

Lauer began his adventure in the stained glass industry nearly 50 years ago, while still a student at St. John’s University.

The St. Paul native enrolled in 1969 for a pre-engineering degree, but dropped out for three years to work at his father’s greenhouse construction company, Albert J. Lauer Co.

During that time he went on a skiing holiday to Aspen, Colorado, where he first encountered stained glass.

“I saw a glass studio there and I talked to the guy for about an hour and a half and I thought, ‘This looks interesting,'” Lauer said. “So I can cut glass and I can make art, so it kind of came together … All those things together made it interesting and something I was good at.”

Lauer eventually graduated from university in 1977. That same year, he got his first assignment and started his company.

Beatriz Guimarey Lauer teaches Kathy Sussner during a class at Michael’s Stained Glass Studio at 720 Osseo Ave. S., in St. Cloud, as seen in this photo taken on Friday, June 27, 2024.

Trent Abrego / St Cloud LIVE

At the time, the studio was located in a 9-by-22-foot space next to the lobby of the Germain Hotel in downtown St. Cloud.

“That’s where I made my name known,” he said.

His name continued to gain recognition through commissions and a shift to retail around 1980. Today, his space has grown significantly in the former North Star Granite Corp. office on Osseo Avenue.

While Beatriz Guimary Lauer is active in the studio, she also runs her own store, VitralesPeru, from her home country of Peru.

Where to see his work…

Pieces from Michael’s Stained Glass Studio are spread throughout the space.

Most notably, some of his stained glass creations are on display at St. Anthony Catholic Church in St. Cloud. He has also commissioned pieces for residential homes.

Lauer enjoys his job, but he also wonders what the future holds.

“I’m 73, so I was hoping that someone would come along who wanted to continue the way I do business here,” Lauer said. “… It has to be the right person doing the right thing.”

  • What: Michael’s Stained Glass Studio
  • Where: 720 Osseo Ave. S., St. Cloud
  • When: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, Saturday from 9am to 2pm
  • Price: Classes range from $45 to $550.
  • Contact: 320-251-2330
  • Online:

    michaelsstainedglass.com

Trent Abrego is a business reporter for St. Cloud LIVE and can be reached at [email protected].