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Ali Shops Blog

Archive for the ‘Recreational Gear’ Category

New: Pure Jill Fit

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Everybody’s getting sporty–including J. Jill, which is touting a new fitness inspired line, Pure Jill Fit. Intended for running, and running around, the line includes stretch yoga pants and tank tops, casual fleece and cotton tees, all in J. Jill’s easy style. The line has been introduced at just a handful of stores nationwide, including J.Jill at the Galleria in Edina. Through Monday, Jan. 16, get 15 percent off Pure Jill Fit purchases in store or online.

Lululemon Hits St. Paul

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Lululemon Athletica opens its first St. Paul store Friday, Oct. 21 at Grand and Victoria. The fast growing Canadian company also has stores at West End in St. Louis Park and Mall of America. Lulu has already named its St. Paul “ambassadors;” they are six local fitness instructors, including Amelia Ruth (pictured) of CorePower Yoga. At lululemon, selling lifestyle is as important as each pair of essential black yoga pants. This store, like the others, will offer complimentary in store classes and host a running group led by the local ambassadors. Click here for upcoming events. 870 Grand Ave., St. Paul

Athleta Picks MN Location

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Fitness over food! There’s been much speculation about what would take the place of Ann Taylor Loft at the coveted southwest corner of 50th & France. Several local boutiques looked at the space, but couldn’t afford it, and there was some talk about a restaurant. I’m happy to report that upscale fitness brand Athleta is taking the spot. Nothing against the food industry – I just think 50th already has a robust dining scene, and adding another store–especially one new to the Twin Cities–makes this shopping district even more desirable. It’s also nice to see a chain pick a neighborhood location over a mall.

Known primarily for its catalog/website, Athleta was purchased by Gap Inc. in 2008 and is now aggressively opening stores, with eight to 10 openings nationwide planned for this year. (Watch out, Lululemon–and at 50th, Title Nine.) Athleta offers chic active apparel for yoga, hiking, golf, triathlon, travel, and more. Coming soon to 5001 France Ave. S., Mpls.

I Almost Want to Camp

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

There are stores that do a good job catering to a specific demo. And  then there are stores that do their thing so well, you can’t help but want to do it. Even if it’s camping.

Hi, I’m Ali. And I love Midwest Mountaineering. It’s just so homey and welcoming. It feels cozy, and yet, the assortment runs deep, including national brands and interesting locals with a story. One room leads to another, and then another, filled with boats and skis and socks and jackets and packs and strange hooks and cords and carrying cases, and all the gear you never knew you needed to enjoy the great outdoors. At least, I didn’t. I walked in last week (in heels), looking for a functional bag to use as a prop in a photo shoot tomorrow. I had my pick: Patagonia messenger bag in orange, Duluth Pack red and black plaid, Jansport backpacks in a rainbow of cool color combos I’ve never seen at department stores. (Many of them are currently 20 percent off – just in time for back to school!) The help is not only friendly but inspirational: The manager I worked with is headed to Haiti soon on a volunteer mission to bring supplies…much like what you can buy at Midwest Mountaineering.

More to love: Thrifty Outfitters, a store within the store, offers great deals on closeouts, factory seconds and used apparel and gear from top-rate brands.

Yoga at the mall

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The Mall of America is a lot of things – biggest shopping center in the nation, one of the busiest tourist destinations in the country, home of the SpongeBob roller coaster – but a place of Zen, it is not. Or at least it wasn’t. Powerhouse yoga retailer Lululemon opens at MOA on Friday, Oct. 15 and will show off its sculpted booty in the mall rotunda Sunday for an 8 am. yoga session led by phillyd’s Inspirational Hip Hop Yoga. Imagine how well equipped you’ll be to handle the line at Nordstrom Rack after that.

Title Nine, the store

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Titlenine Title Nine opened today in the Edina 5-0 building at 50th & France and women were quick to step inside. This is the 15th store (first in MN) for the retailer, which specializes in women's active wear, both casual and performance. You'll find sports bras and yoga pants alongside cotton dresses and cardigans. Practical, sporty clothes that look cute on the go: from the gym, to the park to the grocery store. Perfect for Twin Cities women. (For more casual, active and eco-friendly apparel, try locally-owned Sundog Trading Co. at Mall of America.)

North Face opens on Grand

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

What is it about the urban Grand Avenue in St. Paul that makes retailers think hiking, skiing, outdoorsy apparel? I'm still campaigning for Anthropologie in that sorry space between Pottery Barn and J. Crew. But this week, I'll settle for North Face, which opens Friday, April 24 at 799 Grand (where Smith & Hawken used to be) – effectively bookending the avenue with Patagonia at 1648 Grand. No buzz about it, but then, there's already a North Face in Uptown. The company stores feature more than outerwear – clothing for men and women, shoes and bags.

Get your Sigg

Monday, May 26th, 2008

This whole plastic scare has aluminum Sigg water bottles flying off shelves – as I reported in my weekly "cool product alert" on the Pioneer Press’ new site. But there are many places around town to find the stylish, safe and environmentally friendly bottles. Just this week, I’ve spotted them at the new Corepower Yoga & Spa, Twin Cities Green and for the adorable Sigg bottles for kids, try Bebe Babble or Creative Kidstuff.
Bebe Babble and Pacifier are also hot spots for BPA-free plastic baby bottles – but boy, are they pricey. (Go to Peapods for glass bottles.) I’m surprised Target, in all of its trendiness, has yet to jump on the bandwagon with some new line of eco-friendly bottles. Bet that’s soon to come.
For more environmentally conscious shopping in the Twin Cities, click here.

North Face in Uptown

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Seems fitting that North Face opened its first Twin Cities store on a blustery, snowy day. Located next to Urban Outfitters and the new Victoria’s Secret at 3008 Hennepin Ave., the store is a good get for Uptown, which hasn’t given us a lot of reasons to shop in recent months. Of course, North Face isn’t exactly an exclusive brand anymore, but don’t let that deter you. The company store features the full line of North Face apparel for women, men and children, plus shoes, sandals and even quilted tote bags that don’t look the least bit outdoorsy. The shop is bright and spacious, but just one level and with none of the circus-like attractions we’ve come to expect at recreational gear stores. The merchandise speaks for itself. The staff, however, needs to work up some enthusiasm. Two associates stood by the door on opening day when I stopped in, yet neither welcomed, or even acknowledged, me. Good thing the jackets are warm. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved