Make up your damn minds, outside world.
Is the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis one of the hottest travel destinations in the entire world, as Fodor's said not long ago?
Or is it a desolate backwater, a place so removed from sophisticated commerce that its haggard dwellers would weep bathtub gin at the very thought of shoes that match and don't have mice in them?
This latter depiction might be the one that sticks in the mind for readers of the Wall Street Journal, which recently mentioned the neighborhood in a larger story about the attempts of "luxury retailers" to survive in "urban areas."
Here's how the story describes Askov Finlayson, the widely regarded North Loop retail store owned by brothers Andrew and Eric Dayton:
"The strategy of providing a total experience is also spreading to independent retailers that aren’t aiming solely at high-end customers.
In Minneapolis, Eric Dayton and his brother Andrew sought an underserved residential neighborhood called the North Loop to locate Askov Finlayson.
The store has gained national recognition for its strong point of view—a focus on menswear and goods made in or for the Northern U.S. The store is part of what the Daytons call 'a healthy little ecosystem' operating alongside their two restaurants and a bar, creating a location zone where it’s possible to eat or shop at nearly any time of day."
A few things stand out in this short passage.
Perhaps Askov Finlayson isn't "aiming solely at high-end customers." But they're certainly not letting those people miss the chance to spend money.
Here's a great ballpoint pen ($65), some cuff links ($80), a pocket square ($75), and a brass bottle opener ($68), a neat little collection that will set you back $300 and just leave you one entire set of clothing short of being ready for the night. Maybe you could drop all those fancy little accessories into the "valet tray"($36).
Hey, we like Askov Finlayson as a business, and the Dayton brothers as entrepreneurs. Who doesn't? But the combination of Bachelor Farmer, with its wine cellar, and its exquisite toasts -- "smooth duck liver pate," anyone? -- plus Askov Finlayson is the sort of "healthy little ecosystem" that leaves, say, 75 percent of American consumers feeling suddenly unhealthy, and trying to prop up their dropped jaws.
That sort of taste is what one might expect when a retail store is opened by two brothers whose father (the governor of the state) comes from one of the most successful families in American retail, and whose mother is a Rockefeller.
It's also what you might get in a "residential neighborhood called the North Loop," provided that neighborhood was described as "one of the most coveted -- and expensive -- neighborhoods in the city," and was labeled, even more recently, "the place to be for retail."
That latter Star Tribune story quoted one Eric Dayton, who observed that the Loop is "where the fastest-growing, hottest national brands and companies want to be." Sounds like just what this plucky, "underserved" little neighborhood needs!
Later in the same piece, the Wall Street Journal comes around to how "mass retailers" like Target are following the lead of these nimbler, cooler competitors, which means "small-format urban stores." Many of those moves will be made by one Mark Tritton, chief purchaser for Target Corp., who joined the company in mid-2016.
When higher-ups were trying to woo Tritton, the Star Tribune reports, they all went out for drinks one night. The Target executives took Tritton to Marvel Bar, one of the most celebrated and swankiest cocktail bars in Minneapolis. It's the one owned by the Dayton brothers, and it's in the North Loop.