Posts Tagged ‘West End’
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.
The rebirth of Uber Baby at West End in St. Louis Park is set for April 9. Sounds like Lynne and Dan Gonsior aim to recapture the hip flavor of the original Uber Baby in South Minneapolis, and do it up bigger. They will introduce a private label line of baby basics called "U" and a wall of chic diaper bags they promise will be "largest in the country." Anxious for my sneak peek in a few weeks! Will keep you posted.
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.
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.
It's never made any sense that stores anxious to sell lots and lots of clothes furnish their fitting rooms with two lousy hooks. We're somehow supposed to hang our own clothes and the garments we want to try on these stubs. And they wonder why clothes end up in heaps on the floor. Anthropologie has figured it out. The fitting rooms of its stellar new West End store have a built in closet (sans door) with two bars and shelf so customers can load up their potential buys. Easy and convenient for the shopper; better for the clothes – and the salespeople that have to clean up the discards. Genius.
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.
Anthropologie has signed on to open a 7,000-square-foot store at the Shops of West End, currently under construction at the southwest corner of I-394 and Highway 100 in St. Louis Park. Finally. We've known for a while that the development, scheduled to open in September, will include a movie theater, Crave restaurant, Noodles & Co. and a grocery store (the Rainbow sign is up). But despite efforts over the past year to draw a mix of local boutiques and better chains not in the market, the only retailer on the official list has been Verizon. Maybe that's why the developers stopped returning my calls. Anthropologie loves the Twin Cities – 50th & France customers especially have helped their stock tremendously. Here's hoping they attract some stylish neighbors in SLP…
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.