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Ali Shops Blog

Breaking news: Anthropologie Coming to Grand Ave.

February 3rd, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

Amore Coffee has been told to clear out of  Milton Mall, 917 Grand Ave. in St. Paul by March 31 – to make room for Anthropologie, according to Amore co-owner Nancy Breymeier, who has been speaking directly to the Anthropologie folks. Exeter Realty, which owns Milton Mall, will neither confirm or deny, telling me in an email they have “no comment at this time.”

Breymeier and co-owner Cathy Hauser  aren’t waiting for permission to speak out, rather, they’re launching a public protest. They posted this message on the Amore website: “Help us try to stay…We have been on Grand for 18 years! Let (Anthropologie) know that you value independent, caring community shops and want Amore to continue to serve our neighborhood. Until then, please visit us often … and thanks.”

It’s tough to see a longstanding local business like Amore get pushed out. Breymeier and Hauser have been tireless advocates for shopping local. (They will keep their other Amore location, at 879 Smith Ave., West St. Paul). At the same time, it’s all about balance. The Grand Avenue neighborhood has fought against chains repeatedly, and, from North Face to Chipotle to Patagonia, they’ve lost the battles. But I don’t think they’ve lost the charm or the cache of Grand Avenue as a shopping destination – and the questioning of each and every chain has prompted high standards. A store is not automatically villainous because it is part of a larger, national company. I’ve long thought (and have said so publicly) that Anthropologie would be a perfect fit for Grand (my plan was to put them between Pottery Barn and J.Crew) – it’s got a boutique feel and sophistication that only enhances the shopping scene, but has the popularity to draw young customers who, frankly, are probably more likely to shop 50th & France or Uptown. Anthro will give them reason to visit Grand Avenue, where they will also discover Picky Girl, Karma and the many other local gems.

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4 Responses to “Breaking news: Anthropologie Coming to Grand Ave.”

  1. Maureen Flahaven says:

    Losing the charming Amore cafe is one more blow to the small independent stores that made Grand Avenue a success. When shoppers can go to these chains inside a weather protected mall, they will not be coming to Grand Avenue to shop. When there are almost all chains with the exact same ambiance, layout and merchandise, the unique quality of Grand goes out the window. The neighborhood is exhausted of fighting the same battles over and over. There is definitely a need for a unique community coffee shop and gathering space; no need for one more chain except extra $$$ for the rental. Very sad.

  2. amy says:

    Actually I could not be happier to hear this. I would rather spend my money in my neighborhood than have to drive to Edina…We have how many Starbucks and Caribou coffees? Really??? Why not have something that will bring in more people to St. Paul and spend money. I am a small business owner too and I suspect there might be more to the story??? A lease perhaps??? I hope the owners of the coffee shop can relocate to a place that may even make more sense? Good luck to them for sure and I a excited about our new addition.

  3. Kit says:

    Very dismayed to hear Amore will be booted out for Anthropologie. The loss of a small indie coffeehouse to a national chain is not a positive development for Grand Avenue. I’m a Minneapolis resident who loved Amore for its unique vibe; I’ve been there many times–meeting friends, stopping for coffee, or taking a shopping break. Such a warm and appealing place. It always felt like it pulsed with the life of the community.

    It’s hard to overestimate the value of a local anchor business like Amore. And hard to underestimate what’s lost as Grand Avenue is paved with Pottery Barns and J Crews and Anthropologies. We already have the Galleria. Grand Avenue is something entirely different. Very sad. Any chance Amore can relocate? I’m sure that is very challenging to do in this economy. And the loss of the Milton Mall location they have held for 18 years is of course huge.

    City of St. Paul, will you act to protect Grand Avenue before it is ruined by national chains?

  4. Kristen says:

    I’m a bit slow to the gate on this one but I’m also really disheartened to hear that Amore is being booted from Milton Mall. That mall has been sitting with empty storefronts for years – why can’t they take over the empty space and leave little Amore alone? It’s truly sad that the only place you can get coffee now is a chain store (of which there are many on the Ave.) and the unique atmosphere and neighborhood-friendly places are kicked to the curb. It seems that Grand Ave. would prefer to be the St. Paul 50th & France than a uniquely St. Paul neighborhood as it once was. Sad news.

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