The holidays bring temporary stores to the malls. Some of the more interesting ones worth checking out:
Twice the Gift at Gaviidae Common – More than 250 products supporting dozens of local non-profits
MNfashion at Gaviidae Common – Apparel and accessories from up and coming Minnesota designers
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Gift Store at the Galleria – Serving up everything from maple syrup and bird feed to toys, games, jewelry and apparel
Kathe Wohlfahrt at the Galleria – Traditional German Christmas gifts and decor
Treasures Within at Rosedale Center – Holiday decor and gifts from the Stillwater retailer
Sleigh Ride Home at Ridgedale and Rosedale centers – Decor and gifts for the home from Stillwater's Autumn Cottage.

Kiddywampus is the latest local toy store to broaden its reach with a partnership. A Kiddywampus shop opens Saturday within College Nannies & Tutors (3948 W. 50th St., Edina) at 50th & France. (See Sales/Specials for event details).
Others trying the same strategy:

  • Uber Baby now sells is gifts for babies and moms at most Kowalski's stores.
  • Wonderment natural toy store has opened a holiday outpost next to Native American bookstore Birchbark Books (2115 W. 21st St., Minneapolis).

Another blow to downtown Wayzata: home store Soleil Brule has moved to Gaviidae Common in downtown Minneapolis. As I recently reported on, East Lake Street is looking a bit sleepy with the former Bumbershute and Indulge & Bloom spaces sitting empty. The addition of Dichotomy in the former Watermark  space just isn't enough. The lakeside setting is picturesque – a true escape without leaving town – but winters a long in Wayzata. The locals flee and ice fishermen aren't known for posh shopping. Frankly, the owner of Soleil Brule told me foot traffic in Wayzata was marginal year round. She's hoping to get more notice downtown. If the store stays open past the holidays, you'll know the move was a good one.
If you visit Soleil Brule at its new location, be sure to take advantage of an exclusive discount for AliShops readers. Get the details at Sales/Specials.

Fashion designer Joy Teiken with her brother 

You'd think there wasn't a store for miles around. More than 1,700 women attended Maiden Minnesota at the super cool W Hotel Thursday night. The event, which raised money for WomenVenture, is a celebration of creative women owned businesses. And the Twin Cities really is a hotbed for great ideas. Eighteen local companies set up shop, including Hollywood Fashion Tape, The Thymes and Alora Ambiance.  Joy Teiken (pictured), designer of Joynoelle, was there selling her lovely dresses, as was Laura Nelli (pictured below), whose pretty Nelle handbags are becoming a hot commodity. The new Corset was there, selling jewelry and signing women Handbag designer Laura Nelli

up for styling sessions. As the mother of boys, I was drawn to Ciao Marco, a new line of stylish dress shirts for little boys. Apiary Design had a delightful 
display of stylized stationery, including pretty thank you notes and gift tags. And Elin & Clara seemed to be reeling women in with their fabric belts. It was an inspired evening that makes a gal proud to live in a city populated by so many clever women.
Funny footnote: Had to stop by the rockin' lobby bar for the delectable grilled cheese and tomato soup. The place was swarming with women from the event, but next to my party was a man who was inundated with well-wishers. Not only because he was one of the very few guys there, I soon realized. It was Senator Dean Barkley. What a hipster.

No need to wait until Saturday and battle the crowds: the American Girl store quietly opened early today at Mall of America. It's a two-level shop just off the Rotunda and Nickelodeon Universe, next to QVC. I was a bit disappointed that the store seems to lack the luster of the one on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. This one is huge, no doubt, but the store itself feels glaringly bright and generic. The merchandise, however, is overwhelming. And expensive. There's a cafe upstairs with a pretty impressive menu. But my favorite can-you-even-believe it feature: the doll "spa." A half dozen adult sales associates were busy at work, combing the hair of various American Girl dolls. Not sure if they realized they were giving makeovers to dolls. But five bucks will give you a chance to find out, and get your doll a new 'do. That's cheaper than the princess makeovers at Club Libby Lu.
Only in America.

If you're not a girl who loves dolls, you might want to stay far, far away from theMall of America rotunda on Saturday, when American Girl opens its flagship store. It's going to be big. Very big. But there are some other noteworthy openings at MOA in the coming weeks: Columbia opens its first company store outside of headquarters in Portland on Nov. 21 (why, you ask, when you can buy a Columbia jacket virtually anywhere? Advertising). Also opening next week: NikeStore, American Apparel and True Religion. Not bad, MOA.

If you're planning a 2009 wedding, you might want to hold off buying your dress until the Goodwill Bridal Showcase on Feb. 21. Goodwill will have more gowns for sale than ever before – including a big shipment from a local bridal retailer of new and sample gowns – many designer. The dresses are being inventoried now, but at least one Reem Acra – original price, $6,000 – has already been accounted for!

Here's the scoop: A new vintage shop is opening in St. Paul on Thursday, Nov. 6. Mellissa Deyo, the former owner of Jerabek's New Bohemian, is launching REfind vintage at 1105 Payne Ave. Refind will feature vintage wares culled from auctions and sales locally and nationally. Local artists will restyle and repurpose vintage items into unique new one-of-a-kind pieces. I'm intrigued! Watch for more details on the store and the grand opening planned for Nov. 22 and 23.