Posts Tagged ‘Gaviidae’
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:
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.
At a time when Gaviidae Common seems to be losing stores faster than it is gaining (StyledLife, Drama, Jessica McClintock…), Len Druskinis becoming a hero: with Len Druskin Manperforming well, according to CEO Michael Druskin, the company has decided to give customers what they've been asking for: Len Druskin woman. Except the family thought that sounded a little cheesy, so the women's shop will be called LD Len Druskin (dad's going to have to add a few initials to his name if this keeps up). The shop will be similar to the women's selection at the original Galleria store, but with a downtown focus. It is scheduled to open in a separate storefront at Gaviidae by the second week of October (if it flies, look for men's and women's to merge down the road). Meanwhile, a second Len Druskin Outlet will open next door at City Center in downtown Minneapolis later in October.
From the moment StyledLife opened at the Galleria in Edina, the days seemed numbered for the boutique's original location at Gaviidae Center. Indeed, AliShops.com 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.
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!
Local retailers and a handful of designers gathered this evening for a boutique round table discussion put on by Gaviidae Common and moderated by yours truly. The conversation focused on service, service, service. Pricing and sales were barely discussed. The consensus seemed to be that stores stand a better chance of surviving the downtown when they stick with what they do best – even if that means selling luxury goods at a time when people are scaling back. Store owners are losing sleep trying to come up with ways to provide shoppers with a memorable experience and foster lasting relationships (do you want them to send you mail and track everything you buy? Discuss!). Even reps from Saks Off Fifth told me they are stressing service. Standing behind the counter waiting for customers just doesn't work in this economic climate.
The holidays bring temporary stores to the malls. Some of the more interesting ones worth checking out:
Twice the Gift at Gaviidae Common – More than 250 products supporting dozens of local non-profits
MNfashion at Gaviidae Common – Apparel and accessories from up and coming Minnesota designers
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Gift Store at the Galleria – Serving up everything from maple syrup and bird feed to toys, games, jewelry and apparel
Kathe Wohlfahrt at the Galleria – Traditional German Christmas gifts and decor
Treasures Within at Rosedale Center – Holiday decor and gifts from the Stillwater retailer
Sleigh Ride Home at Ridgedale and Rosedale centers – Decor and gifts for the home from Stillwater's Autumn Cottage.
Another blow to downtown Wayzata: home store Soleil Brule has moved to Gaviidae Common in downtown Minneapolis. As I recently reported on AliShops.com, 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.
Started talking about downtown Minneapolis shopping on the radio Saturday, but had to cut the conversation short. Ruth emailed because she wanted to add this to the discussion:
"Just heard you talking about what stops people from shopping downtown
and wanted to pass along my experience this week. My mom and 98 yr old
grandma LOVE to shop so we go out every Thursday somewhere. Last week
it was raining so my mom wanted to hit a mall but I suggested downtown
Mpls. We parked in a ramp and never went outside. Did all the big
stores and they both loved it. My mom said "I forget how nice it is
down here," As Minnesotans we get into a routine and its hard to get
out of our comfort zone. Malls are easy. Downtown is not as easy until
you learn your way around a little."
So is it skyways, or just some sort of general intimidation – rather than parking – that is the problem? Love to hear your thoughts.
I 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 to 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.