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Ali Shops Blog

Posts Tagged ‘downtown minneapolis shopping’

Pacifier’s Good Move

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Once you visit the new downtown Minneapolis Pacifier store, you won’t have to wonder why the baby boutique jumped across Nicollet Mall from the street level of Gaviidae Common to a skyway storefront in City Center, near Macy’s (one of the busiest downtown skyways). The place was absolutely hopping at lunch time, and you could tell many shoppers were discovering the 7-year-old local retailer for the first time. Husband and wife owners Jon Witthuhn and Quyen “Wing” Tran had the opportunity to build the new space exactly as they wanted, and their modern aesthetic shines through. Becoming parents in the last two years has only improved their assortment of well-designed baby gifts, gear and toys. (For more serious parent purchases, like strollers, bedding and children’s clothes up to size 12, visit their Northeast Minneapolis store at 310 E. Hennepin Ave.).

My latest favorite find at Pacifier: Chewbeads–non-toxic jewelry for moms, safe for babies to tug, touch and chew. Having lost no fewer than four necklaces to grabby little guys, this is genius:

Special Delivery

Monday, February 7th, 2011
This week, shop Gaviidae Commons and have your purchases delivered to your sweetie’s doorstep within hours – for free. It’s true. Apparently, Gaviidae has had  delivery program for years (who knew), but typically there is a $100 minimum purchase. As a Valentine’s Day treat, Gaviidae is waiving the minimum.
There are some parameters: Metro delivery only, and no perishables. But I’m told both Cocoa and Fig and Indulge and Bloom have their own delivery programs. Pays to ask!

Another Gaviidae loss

Monday, January 4th, 2010

FinnStyle is packing up its Marimekko fabrics, Iittala vases and the like and leaving Gaviidae Common at the end of the month. The local retailer, which does 90 percent of its business online, will relocate to the same building as Designer Marketplace, 160 Glenwood Ave. N., near International Market Square. The new location will house FinnStyle's office, warehouse and store. Meanwhile, the Gaviidae store is worth one last visit for the semi-annual Marimekko sale. Click here for details.

Why don’t we shop downtown?

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

From the moment StyledLife opened at the Galleria in Edina, the days seemed numbered for the boutique's original location at Gaviidae Center. Indeed, broke the news today that StyledLife will close its downtown Minneapolis store at the end of the month (see Sales/Specials for closing sale details). SL owner Kevin Quinn has been a big proponent of downtown shopping and I know he really wanted to hang on, but it just wasn't financially feasible – and I don't think the current state of the economy is the only factor. I know I've visited SL at the Galleria more times in the few months since its opening than I did at Gaviidae in the last year. I feel bad about that – I want to live in a city with a thriving downtown district, but the reality is, the 'burbs are easy and Galleria is really inviting. I also feel bad for Gaviidae because they've really been trying to champion the small boutique and do their best to create an interesting, unique shopping mix. They've also done what they can to make downtown shopping more appealing, by waiving parking fees and hosting events. Of course there are still plenty of reasons to go to Gaviidae – FinnStyle, Drama, Off Fifth, to name a few. But StyledLife was clearly a point of pride for the center, and the kind of stand-out, luxury boutique that should be able to thrive in downtown Minneapolis. It's a shame, all around.

Things that make you go hmmm…

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Just months after opening at the Galleria in Edina, StyledLife is planning a bigger and better Galleria flagship. Locations are still being considered, owner Kevin Quinn tells me, but he plans to open the store by fall. Meanwhile, the semi-annual sale which was supposed to end Feb. 23 continues at the Gaviidae Common StyledLife in downtown Minneapolis, no spring arrivals are on display and the Laffy Taffy is down to an ashtray-sized bowl of apple only. Quinn isn't commenting. Draw your own conclusions – and take advantage of the jewelry, scarves, belts and handbags at 50 to 70 percent off!   

Bye, bye, Wayzata

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Another blow to downtown Wayzata: home store Soleil Brule has moved to Gaviidae Common in downtown Minneapolis. As I recently reported on, East Lake Street is looking a bit sleepy with the former Bumbershute and Indulge & Bloom spaces sitting empty. The addition of Dichotomy in the former Watermark  space just isn't enough. The lakeside setting is picturesque – a true escape without leaving town – but winters a long in Wayzata. The locals flee and ice fishermen aren't known for posh shopping. Frankly, the owner of Soleil Brule told me foot traffic in Wayzata was marginal year round. She's hoping to get more notice downtown. If the store stays open past the holidays, you'll know the move was a good one.
If you visit Soleil Brule at its new location, be sure to take advantage of an exclusive discount for AliShops readers. Get the details at Sales/Specials.

A reason to shop downtown

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Stepping into the new J.B. Hudson store on opening day Tuesday, I felt like I’d been transported to Chicago’s Michigan Avenue – and that’s saying a lot for Nicollet Mall, which recently weathered the closing of Crate & Barrel and just can’t seem to find the shopping groove you’d expect in a respectable downtown. The jewelry store has a big city, luxurious feel that is desperately lacking in downtown Minneapolis shopping. Let’s hope this is the beginning of more good shopping to come. While I like convenient suburban parking as much as the next shopper, there’s just no substitute for a stately downtown presence. Read more about J.B. Hudson on

The ultimate wardrobe maker

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Cuffluvgraytied_4 Cuffluvgrauntied_2I was so surprised this weekend to find what appeared to be a charcoal gray textured sweater dangling from a post at StyledLife, the hot downtown accessories shop that has stayed away from apparel – preferring to help women and men find new ways to jazz up what’s already in their closets. But the Cuff Luv Wrap ($128) is not any old sweater. Nor is it a scarf. Or a jacket. Or a simple wrap. It’s all that, and more. Store owner Kevin Quinn (I love that he works Saturdays. His enthusiasm for helping customers look their best is what makes shopping here so much fun. That, the great dance music and free Laffy Taffy.) excitedly showed me how the piece can be worn at least nine different ways. Put it on upside down, it ties at the waist. Backwards, it looks almost like a cape. The chic piece is an instant wardrobe, and one size really does fit all. For a pregnant girl like myself, looking for clever ways to to avoid the baggy sweater syndrome, it is ideal. Kevin advised me Cuffluvgraybeltedto belt it while I still can, and try the tie-at-the-neck, flowy style as I grow. Of course, I know myself well enough to realize that without Kevin to tie it on me this way or that, I’ll be lost. While it would be fab to start every day at StyledLife, I had the staff print me off a copy of the tutorial that shows all the different ways to wear my new wardrobe maker. 

Drinking in Len Druskin Man

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007


I stopped by Gaviidae Common Thursday for a sneak peek of Len Druskin Man, which opens to fashion followers (and everyone else) on Friday. Given the downtown locale and men’s-only apparel, I’d been thinking this store was going to be more about dressing up. But much like the Galleria Len Druskin store for men and women, it’s more about dressing well — on your own terms, which means a display of vintage-styled North Stars, Vikings and Minnesota Wild tees by the front door (guess what I’m getting my husband and bro for the holidays!), tons of premium Lendruskinman1 denim, cashmere sweaters, fitted and funky shirts and fashion forward lines like Modern Amusement. "We had to stay true to ourselves," says CEO Michael Druskin. True to the Druskin vibe, the store is packed. But it seems more manageable than Galleria. Don’t miss the refrigerator in back, stocked with free sodas and Len Druskin-brand water. Oh, and if you know a guy who doesn’t like to golf, tell him to consider bonding with his buds over a private shopping party at Len Druskin Man. Can’t wait to hear if that catches on! In other Len Druskin news: watch for an expanded swimwear section at the Galleria store. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved