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Ali Shops Blog

Posts Tagged ‘goodthings’

The clothes must go on

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Twin Cities boutiques are feeling understandably cautious, but as always, spring will bring new fashions and new reasons to shop. Be sure to read my Savvy Shopper column on Sunday, Jan. 11 to find out how small stores are coping with the downturn (tease: more shopping events and rewards programs to come!). Until then, here's a look at what local retailers tell me they're getting excited about:
Stephanie's: Loose, thin layering tops in pastels and neutrals paired with skinny jeans for a laid-back, untailored effect. Also, nicely-priced knit line, Smitten.
La Rue Marche: Updated '80s looks – less hippie, more pretty. Lots of yellow and teal. Continued interest in statement necklaces.
Eco-tique: Daytime dresses in bold colors and modern prints.
Goodthings: Late '60s revival with long halter dresses, skirts that graze the ground, peasant tops with lace, crocheted and embroidery detail, plus more gladiator sandals and scarves.
Elodie: Disco Big T jeans from True Religion, Sevens Crop Dojos and Dojo shorts, Hudson flares.
Sorrayah Studios: Prints, ruffled sexy tops and dresses, eco-friendly fabrics and lots of accessories.
Arafina: Vibrant colors in
everything from tees to gowns, fabulous prints and
patterns.

Elan: New "green" lines, Know and EcoCentric, which plants a tree for every top, dress or jacket sold.
 

Shoppes at Arbor Lakes responds

Monday, June 30th, 2008

The execs at Shoppes of Arbor Lakes had a comment or ten about my recent "MG boutique crisis" post. (As did some shoppers – check out their responses and weigh in.) They were quick to point out that Hot Mama and Goodthings aren’t the only local stores – National Camera Exchange, North Star Home Fitness, Let’s Dish and Pittsburgh Blue are also Minnesota companies. I didn’t mention those because I was focused on true boutiques – clothing and gift shops that might draw shoppers from other parts of the metro.
But here are some other points worth sharing from the marketing team at Arbor Lakes:
-"Retail is constantly evolving as trends change.  We work with our leasing department in order to find tenants with concepts that best reflect the market and compliment the existing mix of stores."
-"Rents are competitive with market pricing.  While I cannot disclose the nature and terms of our deals, we work with local tenants to ensure that the rents will definitely allow them to ‘pay the rent next door to a Pottery Barn or Gap’."
-"Rising gasoline prices and the housing downturn have been a factor in local and national tenant sales performance.  Bombay and The Sharper Image closed stores nationwide as a result of bankruptcy.  The economy is forcing retailers– both local and national– to close across the metro, not just in Maple Grove."
-"Our retail district features successful retail stores and restaurants such as Anthropologie, Trader Joe’s, Pottery Barn, and P.F. Chang’s that have limited locations in the Twin Cities.  These tenants, coupled with successful locally owned tenants do create a distinct retail environment.  Maple Grove features the second highest square footage of retail in Minnesota, second only to Bloomington."

All valid, interesting points. And it should be said that I enjoy the Shoppes on a sunny day, and if I lived nearby, I’m sure I would shop it all the time. But I don’t feel compelled to rush there from other parts of the Twin Cities on a regular basis, since you can find most of the stores elsewhere. The setting is nice and neat, but because it does break from the traditional mall, I’d like to see the tenant mix do more of the same. One shopper commented that perhaps no one is interested in local boutiques – Maple Grove has so much else to offer. Maybe that’s true – and hey, of course there are days when it’s easier to dash into the Gap than to browse little specialty shops – but all that sameness gets a little boring.

MG boutique crisis

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Shoppes of Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove has become the place local stores go to die. One of the very few remaining, Pamper Me Pets recently bit the dust. Now it’s just a very small handful, like Shoesters, Goodthings and Hot Mama (a growing chain in its own right) amid all the national chain stores. I remember touring the "lifestyle" center before it opened and hearing the developer promise that the outdoor atmosphere wouldn’t be the only factor to differentiate Arbor Lakes from traditional malls. It was to feature a mix of national chains and local boutiques. The reality is, most independent retailers just can’t pay the rent next door to a Pottery Barn or Gap. There are occasional signs of hope in that sea of parking lots and strip centers, like the opening of Edelweiss Baby. Then again, it replaces Hey Diddle Diddle, another Maple Grove baby shop that couldn’t make it. Are Maple Grove shoppers really so content with the same ol’ chains? You get the feeling driving down Elm Creek Blvd. that you could be in any sprawling suburb in America. There’s nothing to make all that retail space distinct. Too bad developers don’t realize that size isn’t all that matters.


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