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Black Friday Debrief

November 25th, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

I’ve been up all night and I have a DVD and two pairs of pajamas to show for it. I spent most of Black Friday eve and overnight broadcasting from MyTalk107.1 and the calls from shoppers never stopped–even at 3 a.m. Here’s what we know:

1. Yes, people will shop on Thanksgiving. Mall of America reports 15,000 shoppers showed up for its midnight opening. By 10 a.m., 81,000-that’s right–had walked through the doors, almost halfway to last year’s total of 200,000 Black Friday shoppers, a record MOA expects to break today. Target had 1,500 in line when the Bloomington, Minn. store opened at midnight. In California, a Target line topped 6,000. Retail analysts are already predicted midnight may be the new normal for Black Friday openings.

2. TVs are big. In size, and Black Friday popularity. The prices we’re seeing today are rock bottom, and experts don’t expect them to go much lower, even as the Super Bowl approaches. So if you can still find a deal on a LCD screen, take it.

3. Wal-Mart needs to regroup. Truly, the only negative shopping reports we heard from the front lines were from Wal-Mart. Shoppers did not have to wait outside, since the store was open all Thanksgiving, but that may have actually led to more problems. The “doorbuster” items, which went on sale at 10 p.m. and another round at midnight, were on shrink-wrapped palates in the aisles. So customers gathered around them, leading to pile ups, traffic jams and walking hazards in the crowd. We talked to many shoppers who left empty handed.

4. Speak up. Yes, it’s a crazy day, but that hasn’t stopped some super shoppers from asking for price matches, and often, they get them. My favorite pay off story came from a caller who was annoyed by a “Buy One Get One” offer. He expected if he bought one, he’d get one. Right? Turns out, it was buy one, get one 50 percent off. When he complained at Menards, they gave him the second item for free.

5. Black Friday this year is truly about hitting the stores. Retailers are saving their best online deals for Cyber Monday.

6. Shopping is the American way. Shopping for themselves, shopping with friends, shopping just to be part of event. We entered an alternative universe where people gladly spent the night out, in crowds, spending money, waiting in lines and not even complaining about it.

More Boutique Sales-Black Friday and Beyond

November 24th, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

The sale announcements keep pouring in. We couldn’t fit them all on our Boutique Black Friday sale list, so here are even more deals from specialty retailers:

Sun & Ski Clothing Outfitters is hosting a Black Friday trunk show featuring Heidi Comfort Bags. (See one of the fab furry bags in the Mpls.St.Paul Magazine December gift guide!). 701 E. Lake St., Wayzata, 952-873-7282
Maha! is offering 50 percent off all activewear on Black Friday. 631 E. Lake St., Wayzata, 952-873-7001

Cooks of Crocus Hill will be 20 percent off storewide on Black Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 877 Grand Ave., St. Paul and 3925 W. 50th St., Edina, 952-285-1903
martinpatrick3 is keeping us warm with 20 percent off cold weather accessories on Friday, open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 212 Third Ave. N., Mpls., 612-746-5329
Melly is offering 25 percent off all sweaters–including cashmere–Friday and Saturday. Galleria, 952-929-9252

Grethen House is offering 30 percent off on Black Friday. Ann Lambrecht jewelry is 30 percent off all weekend long. 4930 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-926-8725

gh2 is offering 25 percent off on Black Friday and Saturday. 318 E. Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-378-0509

Pumpz & Co. is having a stock up sale: buy one pair at 30 percent off and get 50 percent off the second pair. Select styles only. Friday-Sunday. Galleria, 952-926-2252
Brightwater Clothing & Gear is offering 25 percent off Patagonia ultra-light down shirts and jackets. Friday-Sunday. 256 Water Street, Excelsior, 952-474-0256

Corset is taking Black Friday off. The store will re-open for Small Business Saturday with 20 percent off all accessories and complimentary gift wrapping. 715 Mainstreet, Hopkins, 952-224-2495

Allee Metro Chic will give you a $25 gift card when you spend $100. Saturday only. Limit five per customer. 493 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-414-0274
C’est Chic Boutique is offering 20 percent off all capes and coats. Plus drawings and refreshments while you shop on Small Business Saturday. 200 Third Ave. N., Mpls., 612-339-1600

Great Gift: Minimergency Kit

November 21st, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

You’ll find five full pages of great gift ideas from Twin Cities stores in the December issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. And still, there were more worthy items we couldn’t fit in print. Here’s one I just love: the Minimergency Kit from Ms. & Mrs. The compact patent pouch comes in a fabulous array of bright colors, each adorned with a good luck charm. Inside, find 16 must-haves on the holiday party circuit, including hairspray, clear nail polish, lip balm, earring backs and a deodorant towelette. Makes a perfect hostess gift or stocking stuffer among girlfriends. $15 at Epitome Papers, Galleria

Black Friday Store Openings

November 21st, 2011
by Allison Kaplan
Midnight is the new 4 a.m. this year, but there’s plenty of shopping happening before midnight on Black Friday…and after. Here are some key openings to know as you plan your route. And yes, you should have a plan.
9 p.m.
  • Toys ‘R Us opens
  • First wave of openings at Albertville Premium Outlets
  • Best Buy starts screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in parking lots of select stores, including Eden Prairie, Maple Grove and Richfield stores
10 pm.
  • Wal-Mart starts its Black Friday deals
Midnight
  • It’s the new 4 a.m.! Store openings including Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Herberger’s and more than 100 retailers at Mall of America. Click here to see the MOA deals.
4 a.m.
  • Southdale Center and Maplewood Mall open* (select stores opening earlier)
  • Sears opens
5 a.m.
  • Rosedale Center, Eden Prairie Center, Burnsville Center open*
6 a.m.
  • Ridgedale Center opens*
7 a.m.
  • Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Saks Off 5th, Woodbury Lakes open*
*select stores opening earlier

Saturday.

November 21st, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

11 a.m.: We put our turkey caps on to talk Black Friday with retail guru Tina Wilcox of Black Retail, on Shop Girls, myTalk107.1. From the left: Wilcox, my co-host Alexis Walsko and me. Wilcox says tweens are the ones to watch this holiday season–they have long wish lists and few practical concerns about spending. (Check out the December issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine for more shopping insights from Wilcox.)

2 p.m.: Costume change! Slipped into Michael Kors sequins to host Herberger’s fashion show–a splashy way to mark the opening of the Southdale Center store.

Oh my. It’s Will Deifel, whom you may recognize from the Calvin Klein ads. (Of course I look possessed.):

Right. The fashion. Lots of faux fur, sparkle, shades of grey, and more sparkle and faux fur:

7 p.m.: One more change, this time to my own dress (from the BCBG clearance rack)…for the Fraser Gala, where I “judged” a fashion show of dresses from Glitz at Mall of America with the evening’s emcee, designer and Project Runway alum Christopher Straub. (Look for his first collection for Maurice’s in stores on Friday.)

Blown Away

November 18th, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

Leave it to Jon Charles to blow the competition out of the salon. The Twin Cities blow dry king is taking his talent on the road. His new Hairstream mobile blow dry bar hits the road tomorrow. First stop? Obvi: Minnesota Valkyrie football game, 8 p.m. Saturday at Target Center, where Charles and his crew will do blow outs for players from the Lingerie Football League and women from the stands. The decked out Airstream mobile unit, with Philippe Starck furnishings and six styling stations, will be available for hire. Call 612-724-2444 for details.

Kiehl’s MOA Opening

November 17th, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

Love it when a respected brand brings its A-game to Minnesota. Kiehl’s opens at Mall of America today, and this will be an apothecary store like none of its others nationwide. Highlights include a complimentary photo booth (with pics displayed on a projection screen facing out into the mall), a men’s shave bar for grooming tips and demos, and a recreation of the Statue of Liberty—a nod to Kiehl’s New York roots—commissioned by the artist Shepard Fairey. Of course, the full product line will be available, including the new Midnight Recovery eye treatment (I’m on night two and have high hopes), Rosa Artica, Kiehl’s first foray into serious anti-aging products and a limited edition Creme de Corps with packaging designed by Jeff Koons.  Stay tuned for details on a grand opening event in just a couple of weeks. First floor, north side

Joynoelle’s Caged Bird Sings

November 15th, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

Joynoelle designer Joy Teiken unveiled her new ready-to-wear collection Monday evening in an intimate and elegant show at the Grand Cafe in Minneapolis. She was inspired by the idea of caged birds, interpreted as criss-cross fabrics, feathered skirts and delicately stripped overlays. The bigger idea behind Teiken’s designs was triumph over hardship–breaking free of the cage. She succeeded there, as well. Teiken has long been adept at executing a cohesive and clever theme–no small feat–but this collection is her most promising to date–confirmed by the oohs and ahhs of the ladies in the attendance. Her latest bridal designs have already attracted some attention from New York fashion editors. It would be nice to finally see that enthusiasm reinforced by an investor or retailer with the resources to take Joynoelle to the next level. Her hometown fans would love nothing more than to say we knew her when…

MNArtists at Walker

November 14th, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

Minnesota artists have a new mini-store of their own within the Walker Shop. The museum store teamed up with mnartists.org to create mnartists.marketplace, a curated assortment of local art, artistic wares, and art inspired objects. Experts from the Walker and mnartists will select the merchandise, and twice a year, artists will be invited to submit designs for objects that would be produced in limited run and sold exclusively at the Walker Shop. The first collection, opening Thursday, Nov. 17, includes wool felt toys by Fantastic Toys of Minneapolis, concrete jewelry by Raine Design of Moorhead, and Minneapolis-based Sixdot Braille Products (pictured).

Mnartists.org is a Walker Art Center New Media Initiative offering Minnesota-based artists a central gathering place, marketplace and community hub on the web.

Faribault Pop Up

November 11th, 2011
by Allison Kaplan

Faribault Woolen Mill Co. opens a holiday pop up store today at Mall of America (second floor, west side). The company, established in 1865, has enjoyed a whole lot of attention and encouragement since firing up the mills on the banks of the Canon River again earlier this year. Some leftover stock blankets have shown up around town at a couple of shopping events this fall. But the MOA store is the first chance to experience the reinvigorated brand in a store setting. Shop Faribault’s new line of blankets, throws, and scarves in wool and cashmere/wool blends.

A peek at the MOA retail space, before the shelves were stocked:

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