This week, we received the devastating (okay, well, devastating is a stretch here) news that both Columbia and North Face are hightailing it outta Uptown.
Victoria’s Secret dipped out last year, and that ginormous space still stands empty. Down the street, the former Jonathan Adler space seems to be cursed as well, and the hole left by American Apparel is still felt today.
However, some tenants like Sephora, H&M, Magers & Quinn, CB2, Kitchen Window, Urban Outfitters, Paper Source, and the Apple Store are doing just fine, thank you, proving that retail can thrive in that area, too. Down the street there are stores like John Fleuvog and Fjallraven that seem to be doing well.
So Uptown does have a lot to brag about: nail shops, an independent bookstore, home boutiques, a few clothing stores, and, yes, there’s even a Target. Clearly, Uptown is not dead... or is it?
So which retailers or restaurants should consider taking up that prime retail space on Hennepin? We’ve got some ideas.
1. A pet rescue center
You know who lives in Uptown? Millennials. You know who loves adopting rescue pets? Millennials. Get them where they live with an Uptown pet rescue center now that the area is supposed to be extra-walkable.
2. A chill bar. Any chill bar.
The “olds” among us will fondly remember the dearly departed Uptown Bar. We’re still feeling that loss, as well as the loss of Lucia’s just around the corner. While there are a handful of restaurants currently residing in and around Calhoun Square, it would be nice to have just a basic, chill bar where you could go for a cheap beer or a fancy Aperol Spritz in the summer, then hit up Magers & Quinn for some buzzed book shopping.
We still don’t have a Uniqlo in the Twin Cities, and it’s about damn time we get one. They sell great winter wear, so they’d fill the hole left by North Face and Columbia, but they also sell inexpensive, stylish clothing. It’s surprising they haven’t been snagged by Mall of America yet; it would be a huge “get” for Uptown to nab Uniqlo and make it a shopping destination for a certain customer.
Same deal. It’s huge with millennials, and only available online and in major cities. It’s about time for us to get one! Plus, its minimal-chic interior style would fit in perfectly next to the Apple Store.
5. A local lingerie/swimwear shop
In St. Paul, you can shop for bras, undies, and lingerie at Flirt Boutique. Even the Minneapolis St.-Paul Airport has a Flirt. However, there’s nowhere to go in Minneapolis proper for local lingerie, and the closing of Room No. 3 is a big bummer. Victoria’s Secret was way too big and too corporate, but a locally owned lingerie/swimwear shop could work. Think about it: When you’re going on a beach vacation in the winter, is there anywhere to shop for a cute suit that isn’t from Target? No. It’s nearly impossible.
6. A local maker pop-up space
We’ve seen success with these limited-time local pop-ups; during the holidays, there was a particularly good one in the City Center. Maybe we stop thinking about permanent residents for these empty spaces and instead think of short-term ones. Piggybacking off the prior idea, there could be a lingerie and swim boutique around Valentine’s Day, a makers’ market in the summer and holiday seasons, and a space for local artists to share and sell their work on a high-traffic street. It could work!
7. A Cha Cha Matcha and Milk Bar combo
Because we really, really, really want to be New York.