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Posts Tagged ‘Parc Boutique’

Changes at Parc Boutique

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Men, you had your chance. Parc Boutique tried offering you something other than a chair to sit in while your girlfriends and spouses shopped. Owner Thao Nguyen wanted to help you look cool for the weekend in premium denim, Ben Sherman shirts and Alternative Apparel tees. But you didn’t buy enough – and interestingly, your gals were too busy shopping for themselves to worry about outfitting you, despite the convenience. Women will shop wherever there is stuff to buy. Men won’t bother – even if it’s right in front of them and they’re bored, waiting for you to decide if you look fat in those jeans. When they finally do muster up the energy to shop, guys tend to go somewhere that has everything they need, rather than a women’s boutique where they might find one shirt. So, like many women’s boutique owners who tried it before her, Nguyen is discontinuing men’s apparel. Everything remaining is now 50 percent off.

As one department closes, another opens: Getting men’s out of the way will give Parc Boutique space to add handbags and shoes. Like the apparel, expect smaller, contemporary lines, priced under $100. The goods will arrive in August!

The Gray Season

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Harmonie cardigan at Hot Mama, $88

Every season has its color, but never has its seemed more pervasive than this year’s gray. As neutrals go, I love the gray. It’s rich. It’s flattering. It’s not brown. But once you’ve got the gray leggings, the gray jeans, the gray trousers, the gray chunky knit, the long cardi in gray, the short cardi in gray and, oh yes, the gray bag – how much more does a girl need? I’ve been walking out of stores empty handed lately, despite feeling antsy about my wardrobe, because it all feels so much the same. The styles, too, fell so uniform: the open cardigans and long knits – they’re everywhere.

Dex knit at Covered, $110

I was chatting with Thao Bui about the grayness of it all at her newly expanded Parc Boutique in Northeast Minneapolis and she agreed, but said, gray and black sell. Over and over and over. And when she does sell a bright alternative, she says her shoppers tend to return remorseful, wishing they’d purchased the dark version instead.

So perhaps its our own insecurities we’re seeing reflected back from the store racks this year. Sure enough: I left Parc with two new sweaters and a dress – all gray and black. I do pledge to pop ‘em with bright tights and camis and belts and bags.

The shoppers have spoken

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Parc Boutique and Belle Reve opened around the same time on East Hennepin Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis – before the bottom fell out of the economy. Belle Reve was flashier, designer focused and all about the fab dress and killer heels while Parc Boutique offered the more reasonably priced ruffly tops and cool jeans you knew you’d wear a thousand times. Belle Reve is gone. Parc Boutique is expanding and will reopen this week in Belle Reve’s larger space at 320 E. Hennepin.

I was sad to see Belle Reve go, but the truth is, I never bought anything there. It was out of my league for every day wear and just not the place I (or apparently most women) thought to shop for special occasion pieces. Meanwhile, Parc owner Thao Bui – in her sweet, understated way – has listened to the marketplace and responded successfully. Her customer wants the latest fashions with a point of view and the accessories to make it all pop – but on a budget. The new jewelry lines she’s picking up: Vintage City Classics, KR Designs, DeVintage jewelry and others, are all priced under $75. As are most of the clothes from new lines Minkpink and Kensie. Parc Boutique is also adding local designers Kjurek Couture and Amanda Christine for cost-conscious couture. For men, basics from Alternative Apparel will be complimented by an influx of belts, watches and jewelry – easy ways for the hipster to update without breaking the bank.

It’s nice to see a young retailer evolve and succeed. It’s reassuring to know that what shoppers want (or perhaps need) does count.

Details on Parc Boutique’s re-opening can be found at | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved