Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Food + Dining Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Shopping + Style Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Arts + Entertainment Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Travel + Visitors Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Homes Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Health Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Giving Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Weddings Parties + Nightlife
Ali Shops Blog

Posts Tagged ‘southdale’

Abercrombie & Fitch Closings

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Funny how retailers don’t issue press releases for store closings like they do for openings.

There are no “store closing” signs at Abercrombie & Fitch, and the current storewide sale is not being labeled a liquidation. But any young, flannel-clad employee will tell you that the Abercrombie & Fitch stores at Southdale Center and the adult and children’s stores at Ridgedale Center are closing, and soon–last day: Saturday, Jan. 28.

(Update: Despite earlier reports, and confirmation by a store employee, an Abercrombie & Fitch spokesman told the Star Tribune that the Arbor Lakes store will remain open.)

Southdale Center confirmed the departure, and alluded to plans for a “very pleasing” replacement that they are not yet ready to announce. (Abercrombie kids closed at Southdale last year).

It’s been widely reported for more than a year that Abercrombie & Fitch, which has struggled recently against lower priced rivals, planned to close more than 100 stores nationwide–many, as leases expired. Abercrombie & Fitch also operates stores at Mall of America and Rosedale Center, and has Hollister and Gilly Hicks stores in town.

10 Reasons to Shop Herberger’s Southdale

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
Herberger’s opens a new flagship store today at Southdale Center, and we’re excited. No, really. Let us count the ways:
  1. Shoes! More than 15,000 square feet devoted to footwear for women, men, and children
  2. EMU shop. Boots, outerwear, sweaters from the popular (Ugg-like) Australian brand
  3. Handbags. Coach, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren will all have their own “shops” within the handbag department
  4. Contemporary brands. The One Philosophy shop will offer trendy brands such as Kensie, Willow & Clay, and Research and Design
  5. Intimates. Find lingerie from Betsey Johnson, Wacoal, and others
  6. Fine Jewelry. Huge selection of gemstones
  7. Men’s. John Bartlett, Woolrich, Kenneth Cole, and others offer on-trend options for casual and dress
  8. Self-serve kiosks. Order online-only products in store and get them shipped to your home for free
  9. Two weeks of opening sales, designer appearances, and shopping events
  10. It’s nice to see Southdale look alive again

Southdale Ready to Fix Itself

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

A press release has been issued, renderings have been released. This time, it’s more than talk: Southdale is finally, and I mean, finally, ready for the Big Fix. Or at least, first steps to restore the relevancy of nation’s first enclosed shopping center. Simon Property Group has got to put some money into modernizing the center if it is to attract prime stores. (You can be sure Michael Kors and Herberger’s–both opening in November–knew improvements were coming when they signed on.) These renovations are scheduled to begin in January:

  • Redesigned Food Court: The food court is moving to the second floor JC Penney wing. Southdale promises new vendors, new seating, sky lights and new restrooms. (The mall says the current third floor food court will remain open during construction, which is startling news, considering most shoppers assumed it closed years ago.)
  • New corridor. They’re busting through the wall that has closed off the JC Penney wing for better access and flow.
  • Remodeled mall entrance between JC Penney and Macy’s with a covered area, sliding doors and more modern look.
  • New play area. Now we’re talking. Southdale is planning an indoor/outdoor play area for kids near the remodeled entrance. It’s one of the simplest improvements that goes a long way toward being a community gathering spot…as I pointed out way back on Feb. 23, 2007 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press:


To whom it may concern at Simon Property Group, Inc.:

I’m really glad to hear you guys are buying Southdale Center. The place is a mess.

While other malls have found new anchors, the old Mervyn’s space remains vacant at Southdale. The food court is a ghost town, as is the JC Penney’s wing. One of the few new stores to open in recent months — Image — turned out to be a front for a drug operation. The latest blow came this week: Crate & Barrel — one of the few remaining draws — announced plans to move next door to the Galleria.

Understanding how things got this bad is difficult. Not to diminish the expertise it takes to run a successful shopping center, but managing Southdale seems like a no-brainer. The mall is located in affluent Edina, which has long been known as a regional shopping destination. It has one of the best Macy’s stores in town, plus premium retailers like J. Crew, Apple, Coach and Aveda. There’s a megaplex with stadium seating and the best row of upscale restaurant chains in town, including Minnesota’s only Cheesecake Factory, where it seems the wait is always an hour and a half. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, Simon, that Southdale has a national reputation as the country’s first enclosed mall.

What the mall needs now is a loving, monogamous relationship. Southdale has been bounced from owner to owner to owner in the past five years, and each has been too consumed with its own financial woes to give this mall the attention it needs. Do I sound emotional? Well, Southdale is my mall. It’s where I got my first hair cut, my first bra, my first job. It’s where I met up with boys (OK, watched them pass by) and tried on prom dresses with friends. It’s where I took my own baby on his first outing because I knew where all the bathrooms were located.

It’s sad to watch your hometown mall fall apart like this. Southdale was once the premiere Twin Cities shopping center. Now, there’s no compelling reason to visit — beyond the restaurants and movie theaters. And you don’t even need to walk through the rest of the mall to get to them. What a dumb design.

Something must be done to save Southdale.

I’m counting on you, Simon, to bring some much-needed stability to this local shopping institution. You did a competent job running Mall of America. (Until those renegade Ghermezian brothers snatched it back. Sorry to bring that up.) And Maplewood Mall, which you continue to operate, seems to be thriving. So I know you’re quite familiar with this market and our sophisticated taste. Living in the tundra doesn’t prevent us from being fashionable. We want the newest, the latest, the best.

Still, swooping in to heal the damage of neglect must seem a monumental task, even for an enormous retail real estate conglomerate like you. I’ve prepared a to-do list to get you started.

– Woo a high-end department store. We’ve all heard the rumors that Neiman Marcus is interested in Southdale. Jump on that! Or see if you can talk Saks Fifth Avenue into giving the Twin Cities another go. We’re drowning in moderate stores. Southdale built its reputation on distinction. It’s time to regain that crown.

– Gut the remains of that pathetic third-floor food court. Bring in vendors more appetizing than Sbarro and create an inviting space. For guidance, take a look at Eden Prairie Center, where a fireplace and leather sofas give the food court some actual atmosphere.

– Treat the gaping spaces throughout the center as an opportunity to once again create a unique tenant mix. Bring in some of the new retail chains that are looking for real estate at other upscale malls across the country. Forth & Towne, Gap’s new concept for women over 35, ought to be a great fit. An A/X Armani Exchange would certainly boost Southdale’s — and the Twin Cities’ — shopping image. Even a French Connection would help. Lacoste, which is hot once again on the coasts, would fit in perfectly in this preppy part of town.

– Find a way to open up that cavernous JC Penney wing, or at least make shoppers a little less scared to venture down there. No, I don’t have specifics — you’re the experts. Aren’t you?

– Add a free children’s play area. During the winter in Minnesota, malls become a substitute for parks. Parents go out of their way to frequent places where their children can burn off energy in a designated space. Rosedale, Ridgedale and Eden Prairie Center have figured this out. Time to catch up.

– While we’re on the subject of kids, some clean new family bathrooms would be a big improvement as well.

I’ve been told that even with competent management, it could take years to turn things around at Southdale in any meaningful way, so I’ll try to be patient. But be aware that Martin & Osa is just the latest hot new concept to open at Mall of America, Rosedale has that new lifestyle wing, Ridgedale just started a major renovation and the cozy cabin-like atmosphere at Eden Prairie Center is a compelling draw even without a ton of A-list stores. I’ll give you a fair chance to return Southdale to its former glory, but if you don’t do right by my mall, Simon, know that I’ve got options.

MK in MN

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Michael Kors opened Friday at Mall of America, first level, outside Bloomingdale’s. The store is shiny and sleek, but smaller than I imagined and more like Coach than I expected. The focus is on bags – and there are lots worth coveting. Clothes were relegated to the back corner, and all from the more affordable Michael Michael Kors collection. Don’t get me wrong – those are the pieces I can afford and they look great, but I’d probably shop for them first at Macy’s, where they’re likely to be on sale. I was expected a broader brand experience from MK’s first Minnesota store. The only items from the high-end Collection are a few bags. Perhaps MK is just being practical. Clearly, the company has some faith in this market – a second Michael Kors store will open at Southdale in November.

Maria Rivolta Moving to MOA

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

One step forward, another step back for Southdale.

The struggling Edina mall recently scored a victory in signing Michael Kors (opening planned for holiday time), which will also open at Mall of America in September. (Guess MK is hot on the southwest metro – it’s surprising to see a retailer open stores at MOA and Southdale back to back.) Francesca’s Collections is also coming to Southdale in early 2012 and Herberger’s is scheduled to open in early November.

Meanwhile, local retailer Marge Schwab just announced she is moving her little gem, Maria Rivolta, from Southdale to MOA (the mall started wooing her soon after she opened last year). The last day to shop the affordably priced Argentinian jewelry line – known for mixed material and color – is Tuesday, Aug. 30. The new store will open at MOA, first level, outside Bloomingdale’s, on Oct. 1.

Palm Beach Dreamin’

Monday, April 4th, 2011
I was in Palm Beach last week, strolling from Hermes to Chanel, discovering hidden gems down each achingly charming Mediterranean via on the famed Worth Avenue when I got an email from Mall of America announcing a trio of new designer stores, including Michael Kors. I always get excited about retail arrivals for the Twin Cities – especially proven performers like A|X Armani Exchange that are finally realizing we’re not all farms and igloos in the Land of Lakes. I’ve been feeling good about MOA’s momentum – they’ve tried many times throughout the years to attract luxury – or at least, upscale – retail, and finally, they seem to be making headway.
Then I visited Town Center in Boca Raton, and not only do they have virtually every upscale store at or coming to MOA, they have dozens more. Henri Bendel. Cartier. Bvlgari. CH Carolina Herrera. Vince. That’s in addition to five department stores which carry those lines, and many, many more. Town Center is a Simon mall – just like, and absolutely nothing like, Southdale. (Imagine Simon giving Edina a Saks Fifth Avenue rather than a Herberger’s!) We might be home to the nation’s first mall, and the biggest, but we’re still in Minnesota, and we’re always going to have to fight for our designer dresses. At least we appreciate them when we have them – just ask Monique Lhuillier.
Our underdog fashion status makes the local boutiques that much more important in the Twin Cities. They give us what our department stores (beside Nordstrom) don’t think we’re worthy of. At Saks in Boca, you find racks of Cut25, the Yigal Azrouel diffusion line (pictured, left). Here, you’ll find it at Grethen House. Bumbershute has lines like MikeGonzalez that you sure won’t find at our sorry Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s. OPM, Arafina, Allee Metro Chic and BlackBlue are just a few of the other Twin Cities boutiques introducing Minnesota to new, buzzed-about lines, even when the malls and chains are not.
At least we have Target. I’m especially anxious for next month’s launch of Calypso St. Barth for Target after visiting the Calypso store in Palm Beach (pictured, right) – there, Calypso’s $150 tops and $350 dresses seem like the Gap compared to the brand’s ultra luxury neighbors. Calypso is the epitome of island chic – so breezy, so effortlessly sexy – the billowy blouses in orange, pink or ocean blue, the breezy dresses – I wanted one of everything.  Of course, an ocean and 90 sunny degrees do make for ideal accessories.
Calypso for Target will launch on May 1. I’ve previewed the look book, and it is extremely promising (sometimes I think Target would be better off with lesser quality photography – then so many of its designer collaborations might not be as disappointing in person): There are beachy tops, fashionable coverups, long sundresses in chic neutrals and summery brights and prints. If the dresses don’t fit, the jewelry, sandals, totes and even the tableware look desirable too. Worth Avenue, it’s not. But then, neither am I, the other 51 weeks of the year. So, I’ll wear the Target version, and save my pennies for another week on the beach (and maybe, if it rains, a couple of hours at the stores) with my family.

Worth a visit: Maria Rivolta

Friday, December 10th, 2010

I’ve been mulling a column idea this week about the proliferation of accessories stores, both locally owned and national chains. So many stores now specialize in affordable baubles and trinkets – which are also readily available at virtually every clothing store, discounter and outlet, too. When I asked friends on Facebook where they go to accessorize in a hurry, the answers ranged from specialty chains like Charming Charlie and Francesca’s to J.Crew, Opitz Outlet and locals like Fringe. The numbers support the trend – I did my homework, and accessories sales are up. You know the reasons: accessories are an easy, affordable update, a justifiable indulgence and one size fits all. But I have been wondering if we’re all so well accessorized at this point, that what we really need is some new clothes.

With this in mind, I was delighted by the new Maria Rivolta store at Southdale Center – it’s the first U.S. location for the Argentinian jewelry designer and is filled with bracelets, necklaces, rings and more for less than $50. But this new boutique really stands out in the increasingly crowded field. Color. Unique design and distinct point of view. Pieces seem current, yet not-to-trend – and look like they may survive more than a handful of wearings. You’ll find yourself needing a copper and black leather bracelet or a sculpted gold ring or a bright red watch. And I suppose that answers my original pondering: there really is no end to our appetite for accessories.

Maria Rivolta is 25 percent off this weekend – details in Sales/Specials.

The trick to Halloween at the mall

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

An M&M hands out treats to my Elmo and others at Coach

I took my 6-year-old vampire and 2-year-old Elmo to the mall trick-or-treat this afternoon because A) Not even massive quantities of Skittles and Three Musketeers could have powered me through another four hours of answering, “Not until the sun sets” when asked every five minutes, “Is it time to go trick or treating?” B) I don’t like to be cold. And C) I thought perhaps I might steal a few minutes to browse for a new sweater.

As Halloween spending continues to rise – $5.8 billion by this year’s estimates – shopping centers and main street shopping districts have figured out how to play up their status at the modern day town center, giving us a place to show off our little Batmans and princesses before nightfall. I was at Southdale Center, which did a fine job of creating a party atmosphere with crafts in center court, giveaways for kids and train rides (albeit, $3 a pop). But as we left the Aveda store with nothing more than a Starburst, I couldn’t help but think most retailers did not make the most of this animated crowd – a crowd that included many who surely would not have been shopping today, were it not for the desire to find a temperature controlled place to celebrate; a crowd that included many who would gladly have been shopping, were they not chaperoning Harry Potter or Mini Mouse.

It’s not that I’m trying to pick on Aveda, but for a retailer that frequently boasts about its free tea and mini massages, why not serve up a little slice of that bliss to the handlers of the little monsters? How about tossing us a sample size lotion, the scent of which would have lasted long after the sugar high faded? Likewise, Bath & Body Works missed a chance to slip shoppers a lip balm or scented hand sanitizer. The Children’s Place skipped Halloween, as did Abercrombie, which plays like a bad attitude for stores that clothe the trick-or-treating set. Macy’s did nothing, which was sadly expected. But the non-player that really got me: Godiva. A chocolate shop – boycotting the mall trick or treat? As if I would consider shelling out $10 for two of their “Halloween chocolates” when they didn’t even care enough to give kids a little taste? Meanwhile, Cinnabon, which also earns its keep selling treats gave away mini cupcakes and Ben & Jerry’s and the smoothie bar had chocolates at the ready.

The one store that really seemed to make the most of the occasion: The Limited, which handed out mini chocolates wrapped with orange paper that said “Sweet Treat – A Gift from the Limited (Unwrap to see yours).” Inside the wrapper was a coupon for 25 percent off – good through tomorrow.  So sweet. So simple. So useful – especially considering I never did get time today to look for that sweater. Now I know where to go first when I return to the mall.

Will you line up?

Monday, October 19th, 2009

H&M is set to open this Thursday, Oct. 22 at Southdale Center in Edina. As is tradition for the fast fashion chain, the store will open with fanfare at noon, allowing time for excitement to build, music to get louder, employees to dance and, as is often the case, shoppers to line up. When the Twin Cities first H&M opened at Mall of America, the line extended out the door with people who waited hours just to say they were among the first in the door (those who didn't wait in line entered right behind them). But when store No. 2 opened in Woodbury, the scene was much more subdued. Southdale needs this. Wouldn't be surprised to see mall management execs out there dancing with the H&M crew. Will shoppers follow suit? The first 100 get discounts and a gift card worth anywhere for $10 to $100. I'd wait at least a few minutes for that.

Going out of business sale to stay open?

Friday, August 28th, 2009

In a last-ditch effort to save its three shops, veteran Twin Cities retailer Sonnie's is staging what looks a whole lot like a going out of business sale. The signs say "Fighting For Survival Sale" and that's exactly what Sonnie's is trying to do, but with brand new fall merchandise already discounted by 40 and 50 percent, shoppers are easily getting the wrong idea. Owner Barb Bergen isn't worried – she told me Friday she needed to shake things up – and this massive sale is doing just that. But she spent the afternoon "softening" the windows at the Rosedale store, fearing the stark black signs and lack of clothing in the windows might be giving customers the wrong idea. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved