Archive for the ‘Retail’ Category

Men’s Grooming

Sorry I’ve been gone for a bit! New job, lots of biking and the surge of the Twins has kept me away from posting as much I should be.
One thing worth noting is a small, relatively small and unknown shop in the Galleria. At first walk by, most people would chalk Ampersand up to tableware and particular gifts. However, nestled in the back corner is a GREAT selection of Men’s grooming products. And not just your basic, daily needs. I’m talking a specialty in straight razors (more to come at the end of November) also. I’ve been in before for the Molton Brown shower gel, but they’ve expanded their men’s section to rival any other store in the Twin Cities. I took home a sample of peppermint shampoo and the next day I was back to buy the bottle. I’m pretty sure 90% of my drawer is full of things purchased at Ampersand. Not to make this a random plug for a spot, but I hope Ampersand sticks to this new niche of the market.

Ampersand Website

Dapper on Sale in St. Paul

Perhaps you’ve seen Summer of Dapper (or its girlier partner, Summer of Dresses) and been inspired.  Perhaps you’re heading back to school or starting a new job.  Perhaps you just want to revitalize your wardrobe for fall.  Regardless of the reason, BlackBlue has you covered.

The boutique, located at Selby and Dale in St. Paul, focuses primarily on menswear (although they do have fashions and footwear for the ladies).  With a full selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories, BlackBlue is the place to get your dapper on.

And right now, you can update your wardrobe for less: BlackBlue is holding a sale to make room for new fall merchandise, so stop by for 40-60% off their hand-selected fashions, including both men’s and women’s footwear.  Don’t miss it – sale goods will go fast!

614 Selby Avenue
651-260-5340 or

Belle Reve to close

I just heard through the grapevine that Belle Reve Boutique in Northeast Minneapolis will soon be closed.  While this will be a huge loss for the neighborhood and for those of us who prefer to frequent locally-owned stores, there is one bright spot on this sad day: Belle Reve is having an “everything must go” sale today and tomorrow.  So stop by and pick up some of the boutique’s lovely clothing and jewelry before it’s all gone, for good.

Belle Reve Boutique, 320 E. Hennepin Ave, 612-333-3148.

How Green Was My Garden: Gardening, Social Media & Bacon go to the Fair

Social Media Breakfast MSP 26 is being hosted at the Minnesota State Fair Progress Building on Friday May 21st from 8am to 10am discussing Urban/Organic/ Gardening & Farming.  Your venerable  blogger (yes me) will be trying not to embarass herself as the moderator of a very good panel of guests assembled to discuss how they use social media to promote their businesses, sell their products and connect with their communities.

Panelists include:

* Susan Berkson, Minneapolis Farmers Market (MPLS Farmers Market on Facebook)
* Debbie Morrison, Sapsucker Farms
* Barbara Hegman, PlantJotter
* Lee Zukor, Simple Good & Tasty
* Kirsten Saylor, Gardening Matters

Generous sponsors include Organic Valley and Mother Earth Gardens. At the event will be a mini-market with several vendors and organizations displaying their messages and wares. Please stop by for some bacon and lively discussion of how farmers, growers, advocates, markets and more are using social media in the vibrant world of sustainable growing.

TONIGHT: Ladies’ Night Out!

If you’re looking for something to do tonight – and if you’re a lady – head over to 50th and France in Edina for the neighborhood’s Ladies’ Night Out event!  Voted the best Out and About Event by Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine, the event will feature sales and specials from more than 45 retailers, as well as chair massages, makeup touch-ups, drinks, freebies and more.

Free drinks and shopping?   I can’t think of a better way to spend a rainy Thursday!

wedding style on the cheap

This is a busy time for brides-to-be, whether engaged over the holidays or Valentine’s day and just beginning to plan, or in the final stages for their summer wedding.  Regardless of where you’re at in wedding planning, there are three things that can be assumed:

  1. Money is tight.
  2. Time is tight.
  3. A dress must be purchased.

Luckily for you, Twin Cities bridal shops are teeming with trunk and sample sales over the next couple of months.  Personally, I’m a fan of sample sales (at which I got my $4,000 dress for $99).  They are likely to be more chaotic, and the dresses are a bit older and might not be in amazing condition, so weigh the factors (such as cost of cleaning and repairs) before buying anything.  But on the plus side, if you’ve put off the dress purchase, sample sale gowns are off the rack, which means you’ll take it home that day, instead of waiting at least 6 months for a special order.

Many bridal shops’ websites list trunk and sample sales on their websites.  For example:

  • L’Atelier Couture is holding a sample sale from March 29-Apr 3
  • Rush’s Bridal is holding a One Day Only sale on March 28, at which all bridal gowns in the store will be 50% off
  • Macy’s downtown is holding a Lazaro trunk sale from March 5-7
  • Heartstrings Bridal is holding a Casablanca trunk sale from March 26-April 3
  • Napier Bridal is holding a Mia Solano trunk sale from March 19-21
  • Brides of France is offering 10% off everything in their store (Edina location only)
  • Wedding Shoppe is holding an Alfred Angelo trunk sale from March 11-13

Keep a faithful eye on your favorite shop’s website and you could be rewarded!  Or if you’re not afraid of the hype, you can run with the brides at the $299 Sale, held every fall at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Happy shopping!

Give a little, get a little

Feeling the need to get rid of those dark winter clothes and make room in your closet for new spring fashion?  Bibelot will help you out, and give you a deal in the process!  During their winter clothing drive, bring in your gently used clothing to any of their four locations and you’ll get a coupon for 20 percent off a regular priced item.  Clothing will be donated to ARC’s Value Village thrift stores, sales from which support programs and services for people with disabilities.

Bibelot locations: Como, Grand Avenue, Linden Hills, and Northeast.  Clothing drive runs from Monday, February 22 to Sunday, February 28.

At Patina, The Sale Must Go On

We’ve all heard the news of the devastating fire which raged in South Minneapolis Thursday afternoon, destroying five local mainstays: Heidi’s Restaurant, Blackbird Café, Stacey Johnson Jewelry, Shoppe Local, and Patina.  It’s a double whammy for Patina and Shoppe Local owner Rick Haase, who also owns the now destroyed building.

Patina had previously scheduled its Odds and Ends Sale for the last weekend in February, and according to Ali Shops, that sale will still happen.  Visit the Highland Park location for big discounts on home décor, candles, jewelry, bath and body products, books, kids’ wares, and great gift items.  It’s the best way to support a beloved local business after such a tragic event.

Sale runs Thursday, February 25 – Sunday, February 28.

Patina, 2057 Ford Parkway, St. Paul. 651-695-9955,

Len: deep discounts on up-to-the-minute fashion

I have to confess: I’ve walked by the new Len Druskin outlet in the City center many, many times, always dismissing it as too expensive, too stuffy, too not-my-style.  But last week, while en route to my monthly deal-hunt at the basement Marshall’s, I decided to give Len a try.  And I was pleasantly surprised.

Len has rack upon rack of stylish clothing, neatly organized and impeccably sized (as is usually not the case at outlet stores), and at a range of prices.  Everything in the store is at least 50% off, with deeper discounts throughout.  There is a wide variety of brands, from unknown to designer, and if you’ve experienced the frustration of a clearance rack in which the only sizes are XS and XXXL, you’ll appreciate the wide availability of sizes at Len.

And then there are the accessories: more than a dozen sparkly racks and tables of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, headbands, belts and handbags, all at prices that make it easy to justify buying three or four (or five or ten).  My only complaint about Len?  The open layout and big windows made me continually nervous that my boss would walk by and see me shopping.  There is a lot to look at, and I was there for awhile, so if you’re planning to go, block out a good chunk of time, and come up with a good excuse.

Adding to Len Druskin’s well-established repertoire (which includes a Southdale outlet), Len is a welcome addition to the downtown retail market, adding a previously lacking step between the bargain basement (Marshall’s) and the pricey (everything else).  For price (and style) minded shoppers such as myself, it’s the perfect compromise.

Len, Minneapolis City Center, 612-455-1663,

SaLe at StyledLife

This is the time of year when Minnesotans get restless: tired of winter and ready for a change.  The harsh reality, however, is that winter is far from over.  So until the snow melts, we’ll have to find ways to keep our day-to-day lives interesting.  One such way is to revitalize your wardrobe.  Any easy (and inexpensive) way to do this is to buy a few new fabulous accessories and fancy up what you already have.

StyledLife will help you re-accessorize: swing into their new flagship location in the Galleria and you’ll find fall merchandise from 30% to 70% off.  Want something fresh for spring?  That’s on sale too – Valentine’s Day gifts and new merchandise are 20% off.

StyledLife offers a wide variety of accessories, from your basic earrings, necklaces and bracelets, to scarves and handbags, to men’s accessories, vintage and designer products, and even a music bar.  There really is something for everyone.  And if you have trouble figuring out your ‘something’, StyledLife will give you a free in-store consultation.

StyledLife in the Galleria, 952-928-8888,

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