Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Food + Dining Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Shopping + Style Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Arts + Entertainment Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Travel + Visitors Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Homes Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Health Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Giving Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Weddings Parties + Nightlife
Ali Shops Blog

Archive for the ‘Twin Cities retail’ Category

Jonathan Adler Uptown Update

Friday, February 17th, 2012

It’s been the worst kept retail secret for months, but finally, Jonathan Adler, the home furnishings and design company, has confirmed that it is building a store in Uptown at 1436 W. Lake St.–across the street from American Apparel. It could open as soon as March. A splashy opening party is in the works, too, and Mr. Adler intends to be there. Stay tuned for more details.

Cupid Strikes at Arrow

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Arrow, the hotly anticipated North Loop boutique from Intoto alums Michael Basham and Sarah Dwyer opened briefly on Valentine’s Day for a VIP preview. The store officially opens Feb. 23, although you may catch the lights on here and there until then.

Former Intoto shoppers seemed relieved/giddy at the array of casual luxury apparel–slouchy sweaters, chic blouses, understated–but clearly high-end–accessories from fashion forward (they call it “directional”) brands. Several more spring collections are expected to arrive in the next few weeks. This opening elevates the growing retail scene in the North Loop tremendously. 121 N. First St., Minneapolis

New in Stillwater

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Stillwater has had a rash of retail changes lately. I have to be honest, I was underwhelmed on a recent visit to Main Street, but I’m holding out hope that by springtime, there will be renewed excitement in this charming riverfront downtown–one of my favorite day trips in the Twin Cities.

Forget Me Not, selling fresh flowers and home accents, is now open in the former Doozie space. 402 Main St. S., 651-430-8113

Rose Mille has moved into a smaller spot in the Grand Garage. It has charm, but lacks the wow factor of the old location…and has a much more edited assortment focused on paper goods, ribbon and the like. This could be a temporary arrangement–an  employee told me Rose Mille is considering a second location for DIY classes. 324 Main St. S., 651-439-0205

Also in the Grand Garage, is Grace James Boutique, selling contemporary women’s fashion, from denim to dresses. I liked some of the pieces–and prices–I saw, but wanted more. We’ll chalk that up to being between seasons. I’ll definitely be checking back–both for Grace James, and another new store opening this spring with fashion aimed at women over 40. 324 Main St. S., Stillwater, 651.430.8000

Venture up the hill to Karma Clothing Co. This trendy consignment store has a new owner, and looks better than ever. Find designer pieces, contemporary fashion, accessories and even some new gifts from local brands. 126 Second St. S., Stillwater, 651-342-1004

Galleria Nabs a New Salon

Friday, January 27th, 2012

The Galleria has signed a deal with a local salon to replace Rocco Altobelli. Lili Salon Spa will offer cuts, color, nail and waxing services and skin care. It’s a niche the Edina center could not go without, especially for guests at the adjacent Westin Hotel.

Lili will open in late spring in a 5,000 square foot space. That’s smaller than the Rocco salon, which Galleria vice president and general manager Jill Noack says has not yet been leased. The Rocco nail salon on the lower level is also up for grabs. (Meanwhile, Rocco is opening a new salon/spa a block away.)

Galleria will be the third location for William & Friends, whose salons include Lili Salon Spa/Minnetonka and Tonic Barbers, opening soon in Minnetonka.

The announcement comes amid a flurry of changes at the usually stable center. Schmitt Music, Que Sera and Pea in the Pod are leaving, while Ohio-based furniture chain Arhaus and national shoe retailer Marmi are coming in. Several current retailers are moving within the mall.

“This is unusual,” Noack says. “We just had several things come to a head. So much planning always goes into this. I first talked to Marmi 10 years ago.”

Noack is known to be extremely choosy about Galleria’s tenants and has a long track record of making decisions that add to the center’s appeal.

Marmi, she says, hits a lower price point than designer shoe store Pumpz & Co., and complements the dugo and Chico’s customer. “You can never have enough women’s footwear, and we were light there.”

The Galleria was not light on furniture, with Gabberts, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn, but Noack believes the popular Arhaus rounds out the mix. No doubt, there’s also a defensive element to the move. “There’s the old adage, you either fight ‘em or join ‘em,” Noack says. “If they’re going to be in Edina on France Avenue, I’d rather have them all under my roof so the customer doesn’t need to go anywhere else.”

All the shuffling still leaves Galleria with a few holes to fill—notably, the large Smith & Hawken space in the center of the mall. Rest assured, Noack has candidates in mind, and in talks. More options for the 25 to 34-year-old customer who shops at BCBG is a priority for Noack.  “We don’t want her waiting until she’s her mother’s age to shop at Galleria.”

That’s JCP, Thank You

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Just when it seemed there wasn’t a new idea in retail, J.C. Penney laid out an ambitious plan to overhaul its stores and brand. Some highlights:

- Fewer sales, lower prices. J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson confirmed what we already know: Very little department store merchandise, like 2 percent, sells at full price. So rather than go through the motions of pricing it high only to put it on clearance, J.C. Penney will price most merchandise 30 percent lower to start, with month promotions on select goods.

- Shops within the store. You know it: J.C. Penney is blah. Following its success with Sephora shops within JC Penney, the entire floor will be gradually reconfigured into mini shops.

- Monthly themes more in line with our lives rather than the retail calendar. So January might be about “renewal,” as WWD reported, with special merchandise to support the theme. (Can’t wait to see if they can really resist breaking out the Christmas decor the day after Halloween).

- Ellen DeGeneres as the new spokeswoman in ads.

- New brands, like Nanette Lepore creating a juniors dress and sportswear line called  l’amour nanette lepore.

- Every brand makeover requires a P. Diddy move: J.C. Penney wants be known as JCP. The initials were revealed today on new red, white and blue logos.

It would be nice to think the stores can really evolve as dramatically as Johnson, a retail visionary credited with major change at Target and Apple,  as dramatically as described. At the very least, J.C. Penney-er, JCP-has retailers talking about (and no doubt defending) promotional pricing and in a meaningful way.

This is going to be fun to watch.

MN p.s.: J.C. Penney was my first guess at a replacement for Bloomingdale’s at MOA. Industry response to that theory was tepid…but with today’s news, I can’t help but think what a perfect place MOA would be to unveil a completely reinvented JCP. Say 90,000 square feet or so?

Maplewood Mall Departures

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Gap closed its Maplewood Mall store yesterday, and there will be more exits before the end of January: Old Navy, New York & Company and Suncoast Motion Pictures are all checking out of the east metro shopping center within the week. This comes on the heels of recent renovations to the east metro mall by Simon Property Group, the nation’s largest mall owner, which also owns Southdale Center in the Twin Cities.

Jonathan Adler Flirting with Uptown

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Jonathan Adler is currently hiring an assistant manager and sales associates for a Minneapolis store listed on the company website as “coming soon.” Two local retail authorities have told me that Jonathan Adler plans to open a store in Uptown, near Lake and Hennepin. A company spokeswoman said this week that discussing it would be premature since the deal is not finalized. But the job listing does suggest negotiations are headed in the right direction.

Jonathan Adler is a home design company known for colorful, modern home furnishings and accessories. A company store would be a coup for Minneapolis, and in particular for Uptown, which is trying to position itself as a destination for contemporary design.

Ann Taylor’s New Look

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Ann Taylor revamped its collection in 2009–showing the career girl how to step out of her suits–and now its time for store updates to match. Mall of America will get a new Ann Taylor concept store this year, scheduled to open in May. Think white washed maple hardwood floors, crystal chandeliers and modern furniture. A more residential look and feel will give Ann Taylor places for new product, like fashion books, framed images and jewelry vitrines (that means cases).

New “styling rooms” will feature floral wall coverings, luxe ottomans, plush carpeting and a new proprietary lighting system with back lit mirrors that are supposed to be extra flattering. A private lounge area near the fitting–oops, styling–rooms will feature a large touch screen monitor with direct access to (The website carries additional professional styles, more shoes, petites and tall sizes and the weddings and events collection).

Service is getting an overhaul, too. Store “stylists” will be available for appointments.

Ann Taylor has been rolling out its updated stores since fall 2010. New concept stores have already opened in major cities including New York, Boston, Miami and Seattle.

Abercrombie & Fitch Closings

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Funny how retailers don’t issue press releases for store closings like they do for openings.

There are no “store closing” signs at Abercrombie & Fitch, and the current storewide sale is not being labeled a liquidation. But any young, flannel-clad employee will tell you that the Abercrombie & Fitch stores at Southdale Center and the adult and children’s stores at Ridgedale Center are closing, and soon–last day: Saturday, Jan. 28.

(Update: Despite earlier reports, and confirmation by a store employee, an Abercrombie & Fitch spokesman told the Star Tribune that the Arbor Lakes store will remain open.)

Southdale Center confirmed the departure, and alluded to plans for a “very pleasing” replacement that they are not yet ready to announce. (Abercrombie kids closed at Southdale last year).

It’s been widely reported for more than a year that Abercrombie & Fitch, which has struggled recently against lower priced rivals, planned to close more than 100 stores nationwide–many, as leases expired. Abercrombie & Fitch also operates stores at Mall of America and Rosedale Center, and has Hollister and Gilly Hicks stores in town.

Making a Statement in the North Loop

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I’ve been a fan of jewelry designer Stacey Johnson since I first stepped into her charming, closet-sized store around the corner from Patina in South Minneapolis. Her designs are modern and understated–perfect for a touch of everyday pretty at an extremely reasonable price. The first pair of dangling gold hoops I bought from her remain in regular rotation. Johnson’s store burned down with Patina in 2010, and since then she’s popped up–not often enough–at shopping events or for trunk shows. You can find her jewelry at Bibelot and her husband’s downtown Minneapolis boutique Bahu (popular with travelers staying at the Hilton, but under-shopped by locals).

Johnson is about to raise her profile. She plans to open a boutique next door to martinpatrick3 in the North Loop. Great news for her fans, and for the budding North Loop shopping district, which will also welcome new fashion boutique Arrow next month. In addition to her own designs, Johnson will broaden the mix to include jewelry, handbags, accessories, gifts and clothing from other designers. “We plan to have a nice focus on local designers and companies while offering the best and unique brands from around the world,”said Johnson, who is on her way to New York for a buying trip.

The store will be called Statement. An April opening is planned. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved