I suppose the writing was on the wall when Excelsior boutique Cynthia Rae opened its second location in Uptown a few months ago. Now, the veteran independent retailer is closing its original, decade-old lake shore shop. Owner and designer Cynthia Rae Magnuson says it wasn’t her plan to close the Excelsior store when she opened in Uptown, but her quick success on Hennepin Avenue opened her eyes to possibility.
“I honestly think there was a ‘bigger’ plan but I didn’t know it at the time…My own designs sell like wild (in Uptown), the customer is a bit more adventurous, and I love it!”
Closing the Excelsior store will give Manuson more time to focus on designing clothes and taking her Cynthia Rae label beyond her store. She also plans to launch a new website in February.
“I have had some wonderful years here in Excelsior,” Magnuson said. “It is a beautiful retail community with much to offer. The customers here have been good to us and us to them.”
Cynthia Rae was a bright spot in Excelsior – always first to join the party and last to turn the lights…especially during the popular Excelsior Girls Night Out events. But the move makes sense: Cynthia Rae plays to a young, urban girl who is aware of trends but wants to dress like an individual…on a budget. That girl is shopping in Uptown year round. Excelsior, charming as it is, gets quiet in the winter. I hope Water Street powers through the freeze. Across the street from Cynthia Rae, tween retailer Zelaz is about to close. And judging by the pre-Christmas sale and empty back half of the store, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Zelaz neighbor La Petite Parfumerie had a similar announcement soon to come. (I hope I’m wrong.)
Still, there are so many reasons to shop Water Street, new and enduring: Brightwater, Omorphia, Meredian Ltd., Martin’s, Gray Gardens, Petunia’s–and the list goes on. Hope to see some new concepts fill the vacancies in this destination shopping town before boating season.
Meanwhile, the Cynthia Rae closing sale is on through Wednesday, Jan. 4 with 50 to 75 percent off everything, including clothes, jewelry, boots, and store furniture. 244 Water St., Excelsior, 952-401-4484