Twin Cities boutique shopping has changed since COVID. Here’s a round-up by neighborhood.

During the past 20 months, retailers across the country and around the world had to

During the past 20 months, retailers across the country and around the world had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many failed to stay afloat, others made big changes and a handful even launched stores mid-lockdown. That was true in the Twin Cities, too. Here’s a quick rundown of some changes to the neighborhood retail scene:

Edina

Edina saw a huge burst of activity with the launch of Nolan Mains, a project on Market Street that offers flexible leases to local businesses with close access to high-end apartments. Those leases have already rescued a few shops that may not have made it through COVID, such as Dugo, a long-running women’s dress boutique formerly located in St. Paul.

One of the biggest names at Nolan Mains is famous menswear designer Billy Reid. While the brand had been available at MartinPatrick3 in the North Loop, this location is Reid’s first brick-and-mortar branch in Minnesota, after turning down the Mall of America and Galleria in favor of Nolan Mains.

Flirt Boutique, a “sexy-sweet” lingerie store by and for women, moved from St. Paul to Nolan Mains.

And Scout, an apparel and gift boutique owned by Ben and John Thompson, has opened a second location at 50th and France. Find much of the same outdoorsy and casual clothing, decor and gifts as they have in their St. Paul location, with the possibility of adding slightly more expensive, “classier” items to match the vibe of Nolan Mains.

Excelsior

Ta Vor, a new trendy boutique by Excelsior veteran Connie Frederick, has just opened up on Water Street across from Ooh La La, Frederick’s first shop in the area. Ta Vor aims to give Excelsior’s fashion offerings a shot in the arm with new brands (both national and local), including exclusive apparel based on the works of local artist Jimmy Reagan.

North Loop

While it’s no longer the sole Minnesotan purveyor of Billy Reid’s designs, department store MartinPatrick3 has expanded its repertoire to include a women’s boutique, making it an all-inclusive one-stop shop for fashion and decor.

Downtown

Sistah Co-op, created by BIPOC entrepreneurs Sabrina Jones and Angela Lamb-Onayiga, opened in the IDS Center in May. Sistah occupies the former Chameleon Shoppe space at the skyway level as a permanent fixture after a stint on the pop-up business scene. The store hosts other BIPOC businesses, in addition to Lamb’s and Onayiga’s own products, on a rotating schedule.

Standish

Curly Girl Boutique, the former side hustle of teacher-turned-stylist Emily Deutschman, now has a brick-and-mortar shop on E. 38th Street. Deutschman started the business as a way to stay home with her newborn son while pursuing her passion, and offered fashion consulting and virtual shopping out of her basement during the 2020 pandemic. Now open to the public, Curly Girl offers fun and playful clothing for women, with the goal of promoting self-confidence and self-expression.

Northeast

King Brothers Clothiers moved to a new location at Quincy Street and NE. 15th Avenue. The twin brothers, Danny and Kenny King, produce bespoke suits and formalwear for men, with a list of clients that includes the Vikings’ Garrett Bradbury and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, better known as Mountain of “Game of Thrones” fame. They also make custom wedding outfits, promising perfect fits, expert advice and unique designs.

Moth Oddities, a traveling pop-up vintage shop, has finally settled down. Owners Yana Pietras and Ian O’Neill traveled across the United States to amass their stock of ’50s- and ’60s-era clothing and accessories, supplemented by a supplier from Italy. The new shop includes a map of the United States showing all the places the duo has been and a lovingly designed den in the back that hosts the changing rooms. Moth Oddities also offers locally made goods and styling services for photo shoots.

I like you, an artist-operated consignment shop for local creators, opened a new location on Johnson Street. Pottery, embroidery, candles and fanny packs are only the beginning of the goods on display, and you might be welcomed by the friendly dogs of store owners Sarah Sweet and Angela Lessman if you’re at the right store at the right time. (The St. Paul location remains open, and employees and furry assistants work alternating locations.) Goods rotate as they become available from the sizable stable of artists and crafters who sell here.

St. Paul

Leo Footwear, named for the shared astrological sign of co-creators and local retail veterans Jill Erickson and Kristie Case, opened in the Selby and Snelling neighborhood this spring. The store is designed for in-person shopping — vintage mirrors and theater seating add a sense of glamour that can’t be shipped or picked up curbside — and the shoes are curated with the goal of being unique finds not available from online mega-retailers. If you’re looking for relief from online shopping, this might be the adventure you need.

Bruno Povejsil is a Twin Cities freelance writer.

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