No Passport Required: Ahlgren's Old World Accents

Ahlgren's Old World Accents owner, Mika Ahlgren

Traveling the world is at the top of many people’s bucket lists as they grow older. College graduates are now taking a year off to travel to far away places as they seek new adventures while filling up their passports with stamps. They want to capture photos, try different foods and meet people from different walks of life. Traveling can be great, but many people don’t have the luxury to travel that often and find themselves living vicariously through friend’s Instagram stories and Facebook posts. But there is a gem located on Hayward’s historic Main Street that has been allowing people to travel the world on a rainy Saturday afternoon with no passport required; Ahlgren’s Old World Accents.

Ahlgren’s is owned by Mika Ahlgren and while there have been many changes to Main Street over the years, Ahlgren’s has solidified itself as a staple in the Northwoods. The store hasn’t always been located in the heart of Hayward and it wasn’t always called Ahlgren’s either. Mika opened up her first store called “Interior Accents” back in 1999 on Hwy 63 (where the Verizon building is now). She started off small with a simple inventory, but grew as time went on as the business became more successful. She moved to Main Street around 2001. “I needed to be where the traffic was,” she said. Mika at one point was operating three different businesses on Main Street. “It was a lot of work, but very rewarding,” she added. Although running all of these different businesses at one time caused her to log plenty of hours on the job, she still believed in a “family first” mindset.

Mika and her husband, Brian Ahlgren, raised three children in the Hayward area. “Running a business and being a mom definitely has its challenges, but family comes first and work comes second. Everything else comes after family.” She tried her best to make it to her children’s games and events as often as she could, while still maintaining successful businesses. “Maybe the house didn’t get picked up as much as it should’ve been,” she laughed. Brian and Mika also made it a point of emphasis to take their children with them when they traveled. The trips many times weren’t for business, but they longed for more of the family experience together. “Finding balance is key,” she said.