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Posts Tagged ‘Hot Mama’

Hot Mama Expansions

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

The mamas need more dressing rooms! Construction is underway to double the size of the Hot Mama store at Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. Work should be completed by the end of October. Meanwhile, at Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, Hot Mama is moving into the former Sharper Image space the first week of November. Expect a bigger selection and wider aisles. And one last update (today, anyway) on the rapidly growing Edina-based chain: the new store at Woodbury Lakes is now expected to open in September.

Baby! New stores at Woodbury Lakes

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Forget women’s fashion. Woodbury Lakes is finally targeting the eastern suburb’s more influential demographic: BABIES! A local baby boutique and a national baby retailer new to Minnesota will open at the lifestyle center in the coming weeks.

buybuyBaby, a competitor to Babies ‘r Us with perhaps a more stylish edge, is building a 28,000 store at Woodbury Lakes that will offer the full range of baby needs from car seats and strollers to cribs, toys and clothing. Check it out online. buybuyBaby was acquired by Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2007. The store will open this fall.

But first, butters & beans (pictured). the eco-friendly baby apparel brand designed by local mom Ann Evans, is opening its first boutique at Woodbury Lakes on July 21. Beyond its own line, the boutique will offer other local lines like Pop Frocks and national boutique brands including Tea Collection – plus accessories, bedding, toys, gifts and more. (Stop by 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 22 for the grand opening, including a performance by Tim Mahoney).

Of course, mom’s needs haven’t been entirely forgotten. Proven magnet Hot Mama is also opening next month at Woodbury Lakes.

There’s a reason for this sudden burst of focused momentum from the center that has struggled to draw tenants and shoppers: RED Development. The company that originally developed Woodbury Lakes – and the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove – is back at the helm and clearly making smart decisions about what will play well to east suburban residents. They already brought on Charming Charlie accessories super-store as well.

Hot at West End

Monday, June 13th, 2011

It’s a mystery why the Shops at West End is still struggling to fill its St. Louis Park lifestyle center when several of the businesses there are already expanding. The latest is Hot Mama, which plans to add space behind the current store. Founder/CEO Megan Tamte says she has been pleasantly surprised by the traffic at West End and the store needs more room to keep up.

Hot Mama joins Cooper, which is adding square footage to its dining room, Rojo, which took over its own pizza spot to add a party room, and Crave, which opened a second concept, Sopranos, at West End.

Meanwhile, there hasn’t been an announcement of a retail opening to fill one of the many lingering vacancies since White House/Black Market, which opened in May.

Hot Mama Eliminating Maternity

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Sorry, mommies-to-be: You’ll have to wait until the bun is out of the oven to shop Hot Mama. The Edina-based chain is getting out of the maternity apparel business.

Maternity has always been a smaller part of the business in comparison to women’s contemporary fashion. But in the past five years, maternity dropped from 20 to 10 percent of company sales, says Hot Mama CFO/Chairman Mike Tamte. Meanwhile, non-maternity grew an impressive 40 percent annually during that same period. When Hot Mama quietly removed maternity from some stores last summer, sales actually surged, Tamte says. ”We were able to add faster-moving non-maternity apparel.”

Spring maternity is in stores now, but no orders were placed for fall. Hot Mama is consolidating what remains of maternity apparel – in the Twin Cities, you’ll still find a good assortment at the Edina, Maple Grove, St. Paul and Roseville locations as well as online.

Despite the store name, this decision is a return to Hot Mama’s roots, Tamte points out. When his wife Megan Tamte opened the first store in Edina six years ago, there was no maternity section (that confused me at first, I recall). “Only when we saw a lot of bellies walk through the door did we decide to bring in contemporary maternity lines,” Tamte says.

So what happened to all those bellies? I’m already hearing the desperate cries of pregnant women who feel like they have no boutiques to shop. Strikes me as being a bit like retail’s petite problem: Women complain about a lack of options, but tend not to buy what’s available. Hot Mama has noticed many pregnant women wearing non-maternity apparel as long as possible.

“There are very few maternity boutiques in the Twin Cities, and the nation, for that matter,” Tamte acknowledged. “We debated whether to keep maternity in one or two stores in each city, but decided that would be too confusing to the customer. There is plenty of maternity business for an independent maternity boutique, though.”

There’s your invitation, aspiring store owners. Meanwhile, Hot Mama will focus on what follows those nine short months of fashion challenges: Motherhood. Says Tamte, “The vast majority of our customers understand Hot Mama as a contemporary clothing store for moms who want to look and feel hot.”

Hot Mama currently has 19 stores in seven states with three under construction and plans for another 18 in the next two years.

Another Twin Cities Hot Mama

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Hot Mama is hitting Woodbury. The fast growing Edina-based chain (yep, I think it’s officially time to call it a chain) will open its eighth Twin Cities store – fifth new location this year – at Woodbury Lakes. In six years, Hot Mama has grown to 19 stores in seven states – with three under construction and plans to open another 18 stores in the next two years. The magical formula: casual contemporary clothing and premium denim for moms in a manageable boutique setting.

Hot Mama now employs 250. Even as it becomes a national retailer, it hasn’t become sterile. The focus seems sharper than ever. From Wayzata to West End to Edina, I’ve been impressed recently by the appealing mix of basics and trend pieces at reasonable price points. But what makes it memorable is the attentive service – both getting me what I want, and watching my kid so I can actually try it on. I’ve never known Hot Mama to run out of animal crackers.

In a recent survey, Hot Mama found that half its customers were in their 30s and 40 percent were 40 or older. Founder Megan Tamte is her own best customer: “I need clothes that are quick and easy to wear, that can take me from a board meeting to my son’s baseball game, to a date night with my husband.”

So simple, really. Why didn’t we think of it?

Designer Animal Crackers

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

I love a store that feeds my kid. Regular nosh stops include Len Druskin, StyledLife and Hot Mama. No pressure to those already so generous, but Melly at the Galleria has truly upped the ante with a treat perfectly fitting its Palm Beach aesthetic. Behold: Lilly Pulitzer animal crackers. Currently a gift with purchase.

Personal Shoppers

Friday, February 25th, 2011

There aren’t many services you can count on being free, so you really ought to take advantage of professional shoppers who will do all the heavy lifting for you at better department stores and some specialty stores like J.Crew and Anthropologie. There’s no obligation to buy, and no requirement that you shop for expensive merchandise. Call ahead, be specific about your wants and needs, and feel free to say no if it’s not for you. Of course, often, it is exactly what you need – and what you didn’t even know you wanted.

So who are the Twin Cities’ best personal shoppers? Shop Girls listeners weighed in last week with their recommendations:

  • Mary Sickel at Nordstrom, Mall of America. “She will pull things ahead of time, but also, once she gets a feel for what you like she keeps pulling things as you are in the dressing room. She’s also great with accessories!” – Cori
  • Meg at Nordstrom, MOA. “She does an outstanding job,” – Jen
  • Hot Mama, seven Twin Cities locations. ”Not necessarily personal shoppers, but they do a good job of helping you pull looks together.” – Jen
  • Heidi Melena at the Armani counter at Nordstrom. “She loves to help with gifts on top of being a tremendous makeup artist.” – Nia
  • Who is your favorite?

Mama wanna model

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Motherhood could be the launch point for your modeling career: Hot Mama is looking for a mom over the age of 35 with a daughter over the age of 5 to appear in a print advertising campaign. The casting call takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 12 at Hot Mama’s 50th & France flagship. Top finalists will be voted for on It’s a smart way for this fast growing mini-chain with 16 boutiques in the Twin Cities and beyond to connect with its core customers and get them invested in the brand.

West End update

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Caught up today with the developer of The Shops at West End who has been working against odds to lease the new outdoor center at Highway 100 and 394 in St. Louis Park that broke ground just before the economy crashed. It's taken considerably longer than expected, but that's partly because they are sticking to their original upscale concept, targeting fashionable, urban women 20-55 who want the latest – as long as parking is convenient and free. The payoff will finally start to be realized in April and May with the opening of Lululemon Athletica yoga wear and Republic of Couture, a boutique-y chain offering trendy labels like William Rast and Hugo Boss for women and men. Both are new to the Twin Cities – an admirable goal of the developer's. (Anthropologie and Love Culture are currently holding down the retail front along with local fave Creative Kidstuff.) The other priority: a mix of local boutiques, and to that end: Uptown retailer Ini Iyamba has signed on to do an Ivy women and men's store and Amy Briesemeister will resurrect her Long Lake boutique Pink Champagne. Also opening this spring: Uber Baby and Hot Mama. Raze, a men's hair salon from Regis, is scheduled to open March 1, followed by Toby Keith's bar and grill the third week of March with more food concepts to come including Mexican, pizza, crepes, a wine bar and – fingers crossed – a local coffee/dessert joint that would be open late. As the action picks up this spring, don't be surprised if a few national chains flee their current Minneapolis or west metro (watch out, Ridgedale) homes to join West End.

Their hotness knows no bounds

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Add three more addresses to Hot Mama's ever expanding empire. Today the Edina-based boutique chain announced plans to open in Eden Prairie (next to Kona Grill) in March, with two more openings to follow in April at Hilldale Mall in Madison, Wis. and the new Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. That will bring the total to 16 Hot Mama stores throughout the Midwest – seven in the Twin Cities.
It's great to see a local husband and wife team succeed – it was just five years ago that Megan and Mike Tamte opened their first store in 50th & France, having not even decided whether or not to offer maternity apparel. Now, they've got the formula down: serve moms during pregnancy and beyond by making it easy for them to shop for hip, contemporary clothes. That means sales associates that double as babysitters, toys, video games, plenty of seating and a free flow of animal crackers. Genius. Hot Mama was the pioneer – even Old Navy has play tables now. But Hot Mama has figured out how to make moms – and kids – comfortable. And apparently, they've figured out how to conquer a recession. The Tamtes told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in October that their strategy is to expand when no one else is, which gets them lower rent and more flexible deals. They've also lowered their price points.
I just hope they don't lose focus on the fashion. The last few times I was in, the selection was underwhelming. The racks were messy. Animal crackers are great and all, but if the jeans and tops don't make me feel hot, I'm not buying. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved