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Posts Tagged ‘grand avenue’

St. Paul Salons Head West

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Two popular St. Paul salons announced plans today to open second locations on the west side of town. phresh Salon Spa is opening a full service salon and spa at Shops at West End. That’s the St. Louis Park center’s second Grand Ave.-area get in two weeks, with Primp opening as well). phresh will offer hair, skin, makeup, nail and massage services.

Meanwhile, Root salon is opening a second shop in Linden Hills at the corner of 43rd and Upton–just upstairs from Extrados. Owner Jim Koktavy believes the two will complement each other, with Root’s hair expertise and Extrados’ waxing and spa services. Root plans to open in November.

Picky Girl Closing

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Picky Girl is closing after five and a half years on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. It’s happening fast: closing sale begins tomorrow, Oct. 25, with 30 percent off storewide. Doors will close for good at 2 p.m. Saturday–if not sooner, depending on remaining inventory. (949 Grand Ave.)

It’s always a shame to see a good local boutique close its doors, and it sounds like this was not an easy decision for owner Elizabeth Varghese, who has truly given it her all, from fashion shows and charitable events to supporting local designers and St. Paul retail. She’s moving on to other ventures, but keeping a toe (fashionable boot, more likely) in retail: Varghese is now the buyer for Details Style Lab, the store within her husband Brian Horst’s downtown St. Paul salon/spa. Horst recently decided to replace men’s fashion with women’s, and Details now offers well-priced sweaters, jackets and more from some Picky Girl lines as well as some of Varghese’s new favorites. Can’t bear to shop without Varghese’s expert advice? She will be available for private appointments and “Picky Parties.”

New arrivals at Details, 346 St. Peter St., St. Paul:

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

Guys Who Groom Together…

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Even more surprising than happening upon new men’s salon Gent at Victoria’s Crossing in St. Paul on Saturday: the place was hopping. One guy practiced on the putting green out front while a group of groomsmen sipped mimosas and watched sports highlights on the flatscreen. They were waiting for wedding day straight razor shaves.

The owner’s story is a familiar one: Local guy, unsatisfied with discount barber shops, but uncomfortable in girly salons. He’s created an upscale, masculine setting with haircuts starting at $29 (gray “blending” starts at $35). The staff includes both barbers and stylists. The salon is stocked with man toys: drinks, iPads, TVs.

Seems like a great idea, yet similar concepts for men have failed. One of the main Twin Cities competitors at the moment, Raze – with two west metro locations, is backed by behemoth Regis Corp.

Still, Gent has a great vibe. I like the decision to place it on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, where shoppers embrace local and men often get short shrift. What could give Gent that extra edge is retail. The front of the shop features cuff links and Leatherman tools. Grooming lines include Jack Black and Joe. Nothing too fancy or fussy – just cool stuff for men who care. Yes, guys, it’s cool to care. 867 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-797-4294

Wonderment Closing

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Wonderment, the “no batteries” toy store, is closing both of its locations in Linden Hills and on Grand Avenue. “We’re out of money,” says owner Lisa MacMartin. It’s yet another reminder that we may be coming out of recession, but the fallout is still very real. Wonderment, which had a devoted following especially among Waldorf School parents, opened its St. Paul store just three months before the recession hit and has just never met the projected goals that would have justified the high rent. “I don’t blame our customers,” MacMartin says. “Timing is everything, and you can’t control it.”

Remaining merchandise is 25 percent off at both stores. Grand Avenue will close first, by Feb. 14, with Linden Hills to follow by the end of the month.

This will not be the last we shop with MacMartin. “I still feel compelled to be a retailer,” she says. She’s already plotting a come back, provided she can devise a “creative funding solution.”

Amore Coffee has been told to clear out of  Milton Mall, 917 Grand Ave. in St. Paul by March 31 – to make room for Anthropologie, according to Amore co-owner Nancy Breymeier, who has been speaking directly to the Anthropologie folks. Exeter Realty, which owns Milton Mall, will neither confirm or deny, telling me in an email they have “no comment at this time.”

Breymeier and co-owner Cathy Hauser  aren’t waiting for permission to speak out, rather, they’re launching a public protest. They posted this message on the Amore website: “Help us try to stay…We have been on Grand for 18 years! Let (Anthropologie) know that you value independent, caring community shops and want Amore to continue to serve our neighborhood. Until then, please visit us often … and thanks.”

It’s tough to see a longstanding local business like Amore get pushed out. Breymeier and Hauser have been tireless advocates for shopping local. (They will keep their other Amore location, at 879 Smith Ave., West St. Paul). At the same time, it’s all about balance. The Grand Avenue neighborhood has fought against chains repeatedly, and, from North Face to Chipotle to Patagonia, they’ve lost the battles. But I don’t think they’ve lost the charm or the cache of Grand Avenue as a shopping destination – and the questioning of each and every chain has prompted high standards. A store is not automatically villainous because it is part of a larger, national company. I’ve long thought (and have said so publicly) that Anthropologie would be a perfect fit for Grand (my plan was to put them between Pottery Barn and J.Crew) – it’s got a boutique feel and sophistication that only enhances the shopping scene, but has the popularity to draw young customers who, frankly, are probably more likely to shop 50th & France or Uptown. Anthro will give them reason to visit Grand Avenue, where they will also discover Picky Girl, Karma and the many other local gems.


Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Here’s a bombshell: A plus size boutique is opening on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Imagine: being able to shop the charming avenue, filled with independent stores, for fashionable clothes in sizes 14 to 24. It’s a long-time dream for Denise Alden, who is tired of shopping online and bored with Lane Bryant. She’s calling her boutique Bombshell and plans to stock labels like Kiyonna, Igigi, Lucie Lu and many others. She’s staying away from basics – “The big box stores do casual well,” Alder says. “It’s the great dress or skirt; the beautiful fabrications.” Walls are being painted as we speak at 794 Grand, next to Bruegger’s. Hang tight curvy ladies – you’ll be shopping Grand by August.

Second closet for My Sisters

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Grand Avenue institution My Sister's Closet is bringing its mix of consignment and vintage…to Uptown! The sisters felt the retail-heavy neighborhood was missing a great resale store and they plan to fill that void with a second location. The store at 2741 Hennepin Ave. is scheduled to open – and begin accepting merchandise – Feb. 1. Watch for details on grand opening events.

Siji Kids closing

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Siji Kids, recently abandoned by Picky Girl and Flirt at the not-quite-great intersection of Grand and Hamline
in St. Paul, is closing Aug. 3. It's too bad – Macy and Kyle Johnson
have a great aesthetic and a passion for improving St. Paul. But
running a boutique is tough business – yes, the economy, but
especially, I think, with kids apparel. The grandparent demo just isn't
enough of a market for the pricier clothes that parents know will end
up muddied and ripped. I like my boys to look cute and try to avoid the
Old Navy uniform, but I had to leaveSiji empty handed many a time
because I just couldn't bring myself to buy a $40 shirt or $50 pants
for a 4-year-old. Still, I loved them being there. I know it's not
enough – thus, the end result. See Sales/Specials for closing sale details.

Hamline and Grand exodus

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

First, Flirt announced plans to move from 1330 Grand Ave. in St. Paul to Selby and Snelling. Now Picky Girl, 1326 Grand, is relocating to 949 Grand Ave., next door to Wonderment. Both moves will happen in June. Elizabeth Varghese of Picky Girl told me she'd been looking for a while, and she finally found a bigger, prettier space with better parking. I called Siji Kids, figuring they must be next to go, but so far, they're staying put – some moves are being planned, the owners teased, but nothing physical. Stay tuned! | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved