Posts Tagged ‘st. louis park shopping’
Got a sneak peek of Max’s new space at Excelsior & Grand in St. Louis Park – just across the parkway from the current store. I think it’s going to be a good move for this under appreciated luxe gift gallery, which specializes in jewelry, art and chocolate (trifecta!). The new space is wider and will allow for more display room. Max’s is scheduled to be closed for about a week and reopen in the new spot Feb. 5.
All’s well that ends well, but the truth is, this move was not owner Ellen Hertz’s idea. Excelsior & Grand is moving her to make room for CVS in the anchor spot that fronts Excelsior Boulevard, previously home to a couple of ill-fated restaurants. CVS. Sigh. On the positive side, it could bring some neighborhood traffic to this shopping district, which has struggled to fill vacancies and draw a crowd, despite the good location and bustling Trader Joe’s. Max’s has been one of the few shining stars – thanks to Hertz’s tireless promotional efforts and stellar merchandise. The biggest bummer about CVS, besides not exactly raising Excelsior & Grand’s profile as a shopping destination, is the waste of patio space. I ate at Laredo’s, not because the food was good (how do you screw up guacamole?), but because it was so lovely to sit outside on the wide stretch of sidewalk, near grass and a fountain. I hope they at least add some tables and benches – the place could use some loitering.
At least the spaces are filling. Also opening at Excelsior & Grand in February: Bubbly Paws, a self-serve dog wash and full-service dog spa form the owners of Pampered Pooch Playground and Get In Shape For Women, offering small group personal training (it’s new to Minnesota). And in March comes Oil & Vinegar, selling cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Customers will be able to make custom blends and take cooking classes.
What else would you like to see at Excelsior & Grand? Weigh in!
Anthropologie and Creative Kidstuff have some company at the slow-to-get-going new Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. Love Culture is open, and ready to give H&M and Forever 21 some competition. Did the sign on that t-shirt table really say $2.90 each??! This fast growing, fast fashion chain was founded just two years ago in Los Angeles and now boasts 23 stores in 11 states. West End is Minnesota's first. The store is big and bright with lots of trendy temptations for less than $50 – heck, many less than $30 – like buckle ankle boots, sweater dresses, long tops, leggings and plenty of basics and accessories. Just be sure to try things on: the return policy is not-so-friendly and some items, like the $35 boots, are final sale – even at regular price. Still, great to have a new player in town!
Creative Kidstuff opens a flagship store at the new Shops at West End in St. Louis Park on Friday. Expect "more things for kids to do and touch," said Happi Olson, director of sales and marketing. The store also marks Creative Kidstuff's first foray into the birthday party business: there's a party room filled with interactive playthings. The company is currently developing a menu of party themes that can be tailored to kids ages 3 to 10. Parties will start in January. Olson estimated the price will be around $225. When not in use for parties, the private room may be rented out to mom groups. (Taking a cue from Kiddywampus, it sounds like.) With the SLP opening comes the closing of Creative Kidstuff's Minnetonka store on Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Check back for updates on other West End stores opening this month. And visit Sales/Specials for special shopping days and discounts coming up at Creative Kidstuff.
Something exciting is brewing in the former EuroNest space on Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park: local retailers and designers are teaming up for a holiday shop called The Guild. June , Style Minneapolis, Kico Kids and Organic Divas are participating, along with respected dealers whose goods aren't always available, like fossil curator Laurie Luehmann, stylist Gwen Leeds and Pam Mondale's jewelry and accessories. Goods will be integrated – no booths. "Picture ABC Carpet and Home – first floor," says Ann Garrity of Organic Divas. Clothing and accessories will have their own space, which Garrity compared to Bendel's second floor. Aim high! The store is scheduled to be open Nov. 3 to Dec. 31. But if it's a hit, there could be more to come in 2010.
Retailers are really listening. I complained on the radio recently that it was disappointing to stroll through Excelsior & Grand on my way to dinner and find the stores closed at 6 p.m. So silly not to capitalize on the restaurant/park/Starbucks traffic, especially now that it's nice and everyone is desperate to be outside. What do you know: I just received word that the boutiques at Excelsior & Grand will stay open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays this summer, starting June 4. Be sure to shop so they keep this up!
If you’ve been to Costco in St. Louis Park lately, you know something dusty and disruptive is going on at the intersection of 394 and 100. I’d heard about the plans for a multiplex and maybe a Whole Foods (Not true – but there will be a new gourmet grocery concept), but it wasn’t until I met the developers recently that I learned the scope of the retail plans. This isn’t going to be another boring strip mall. If the developers pull off what they’ve got planned, the Shops at West End could become a major Twin Cities destination, with upscale shopping and restaurants to rival any of the malls or tony districts like 50th and France. Of course, the timing seems tough for such a major project, but apparently, the Twin Cities is considered “under retailed” and several national retailers have already signed on. Rather than going after the same old chain stores you see everywhere, West End is focusing on hot brands that would be new to the Twin Cities (bless them) and also looking to incorporate local boutique concepts. Retailers – or potential retailers – who want to know more should attend a “boutique happy hour” the West End group is putting on at the Doubletree Hotel from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 6. Click here for event details.
It’s easy to get caught up in the designer chocolates at Max’s. But there are other reasons to check out this St. Louis Park shop, which offers an elegant mix of jewelry, art and chocolate. Max’s was recently named one of the top retailers of 2008 by Niche magazine. The award recognizes retailers who are committed to fair business practices and to growing the North American craft community. Only 33 galleries and stores throughout the country received the honor. Seems the occasion calls for…well, chocolate!
Kiddywampus, the Edina toy store that has vowed to donate all profits to children’s charities, is moving from its obscure spot behind the Convention Grill to a larger space on Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park, about a block east of Trader Joe’s. Key dates: moving sale, March 3 to 8; first day open in St. Louis Park, March 11; grand opening party, March 15. Watch for more details on the sale and the new store at AliShops.com. You can also check out Kiddywampus online at www.kiddywampus.com.
I’m a big fan of the Excelsior & Grand development in St. Louis Park. Too often, when a "downtown" pops up in the middle of a suburb, it looks like a phony facade in the middle of a huge parking lot. But Excelsior & Grand really seems to fit in. The development looks urban, but has fountains and greenery that make it an attractive gathering spot. The stores (including Q., Shorty’s Loft, Max’s, Shu and Lulu & Luigi) are locally owned and unique, there’s a variety of tenants from dog boutique to nail salon, the restaurants are varied, there’s a great park just down the hill and plenty of paths, and who could forget: Trader Joe’s.
Nevertheless, I just got word that Che Bella, one of the original Excelsior & Grand retailers, has decided to move to Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Great news for Grand (read more about that in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the coming weeks – the new shop opens early September). But I’ve heard some rumblings that others at Excelsior & Grand are having a bit of trouble. One of the culprits: parking. Indeed, it’s tough to get one of the few spaces right next to the stores, but there is ample ramp parking nearby. I guess having to walk a bit to the shops is a little too urban for some. What do you think? Do you shop at Excelsior & Grand? If not, why not? Is it the stores, is it the parking, is it something else? Hate to see a promising new district with vacancy signs.