"Things are finally coming back," said Ed Risak, a Raku pottery artist from Marquette, Michigan who's been selling his pottery for more than 20 years. After small gains in 2009-10, 2013 is shaping up to be his best year since the recession. "Larger pieces that sell for $3,000 or $4,000 are finally selling again," he said. "I've sold more of them in the past two months than I had in the previous four years."
Despite the wintery weather, artists and gallery owners are saying that the home decor buying freeze is finally thawing. The art market is shifting away from mere decoration to more of a collector's market, said Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing, a luxury trend analysis firm.
The trend is being felt at high quality arts and crafts shows such as the annual American Craft Council show that travels to the St. Paul each year and is now based in the Twin Cities. "People want unique pieces in their homes," said ACC marketing Director Pamela Diamond. "Some are taking an object and building a room around it."
For the first time, the 2013 St. Paul show now in progress is showcasing 10 rooms where local interior designers have worked with the 245 artists in the show to build a space around the art, furniture and textiles found at the show. Just as a furniture store such as Room & Board displays its pieces in room-like settings to help shoppers visualize it in their own homes, the ACC show is doing the same thing to attract new customers.
The ACC show at RiverCentre in St. Paul runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, April 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12, except on Friday after 5 p.m., it's $5.
Best Buy Co. said Thursday that it appointed Russell Fradin to its board of directors.
Fradin will replace Ron James, who will not stand for re-election.
Fradin, 57, brings much needed technology and operations experience to Best Buy's board. He is president and CEO of SunGard, a software and technology services company that generates about $4.5 billion in annual sales.
He is also a former CEO of Aon Hewitt, a management consulting firm, and served as an executive with BISYS Group, Inc., Automatic Data Processing, and McKinsey & Company, where he was a senior partner.
"His background in operations, streamlining cost structures, executive compensation and strategic consulting will be beneficial to Best Buy as it continues its Renew Blue transformation," chairman Hatim Tyabji said in a statement.. "We look forward to Russ offering his insights in support of management's work to transform Best Buy and make it the preferred destination and authority for technology products and services."
Fradin is the third new director to join Best Buy's board this week. The company also seated former CEO Brad Anderson and former president and vice-chairman Al Lenzmeier.
James, the CEO for Ethical Business Cultures, has served on the board since 2004.
He may have a honorary title but Richard Schulze reminded employees at Best Buy that he plans to be an active force in the company.
During an all-employee town hall meeting at its corporate headquarters in Richfield, Schulze, now chairman emeritus, offered a list of Best Buy's top ten priorities on a Power Point presentation, sources tell the Star Tribune.
One assumes that CEO Hubert Joly or even chairman Hatim Tyabji would perform that task. As chairman emeritus, Schulze acts an advisor to the company but his role seems considerably larger.
He gets monthly financial reports plus a briefing from CEO Hubert Joly and CFO Sharon McCollam every quarter. Not to mention a salary, health benefits, an office and secretary.
The meeting marked the first time Schulze, Joly, and Tyabji all shared the stage since Schulze left the company last year under a cloud.
The show of unity comes one day after former CEO Brad Anderson and former president and vice chairman Al Lenzmeier officially rejoined the board of directors as Schulze’s representatives.
That Schulze and Tyabji should even speak to one another, never mind share the same space, seemed unlikely a year ago when the board ousted Schulze as chairman after an investigation concluded the founder withheld allegations about then CEO Brian Dunn’s personal conduct.
After Tyabji replaced Schulze, the two briefly waged a battle of press releases after the board initially refused Schulze’s request for financial information so he could launch a buyout campaign.
Joly, Schulze, and Tyabji spoke about their reconciliation and took questions from employees.
“I’ve always had respect for our board,” Schulze recently told the Star Tribune. “They do believe in what’s best for the interest of shareholders.”
The Mall of America said Monday that it will add nine new stores to its lineup over the next few months.
Here's the list, including opening dates:
Blast Blow Dry Bar - Customized blowouts, beautiful updo styling,and professional makeup that is done by fun, energetic stylists that have a passion for styling hair and providing great customer service!
Tentative Opening June 1
Bruegger's Bagels - Guests can choose from more than 20 different bagel varieties, and can top their favorite bagel with a wide selection of 100 percent made-in-Vermont cream cheese flavors.
Tentative Spring 2013
Foreign Exchange - Foreign Exchange strives to unify different cultures and diversities through fashion. Our stores feature items designed and created by individuals from all over the world.
SABON - SABON brings to you the power of the Dead Sea combined with the healing energy of aromatherapy in luxurious bath and body products.
Tentative April 22
Victorinox Swiss Army - Makers of the Original Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox Swiss Army continues to showcase its values of innovation, iconic design, functionality and quality in all its products.
Tentative May 15
Madewell - We're Madewell. We're jeans makers and so much more (head to toe, we've got it all). We're your best friend and personal stylist rolled into one. Tried and true, since 1937.
Tentative Fall 2013
Silver Jeans Co. - Silver Jeans Co. gives its fashion-savvy but cost-conscious customer the latest styles and best quality at a price that he or she can afford.
Tentative August 2013
Moods of Norway- Moods of Norway is an International Lifestyle Design Concept that combines a Norwegian Heritage with International trends. Norway and beyond!
Tentative Fall 2013
Tentative May 2013
Thymes fragrances will hold another pop-up sale Thursday through Saturday to make room for new products, according to an email sent late March to its customers.
Although the pop-up is one-tenth the size of its warehouse sale, the Minneapolis-based company will offer the usual savings of 50 to 75 percent off body washes, home fragrances, reed diffusers, and lotions.
Thousands of Thymes customers were disappointed last fall when the company decided not to host its annual warehouse sale due to lack of inventory. After hundreds of disappointed frugalistas contacted Thymes, it threw together a much smaller sale at its headquarters in December.
This sale looks to be similar in size and scale to the December pop-up, said Cindy Andersen, vice-president of operations at Thymes.
It's too soon to say if periodic pop-up sales will replace a single mega warehouse sale, said Andersen, but it's a possibility. "At this point they're a test," she said. It costs a lot of money to rent warehouse space, and the smaller sales can be held at the company's headquarters.
The sale will be held at 629 9th St. SE., Mpls. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 18 and April 19, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20.
No blurry vision here. Target Corp.’s exclusive release of Justin Timberlake’s special edition “20/20 Experience” has been an unqualified success.
Though the retailer would not disclose specific figures, Target did say first week sales places it among the company’s top three best selling albums of the decade. JT also became Target’s best selling male artist since 2002. (He failed, however, to overtake Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” as Target’s best selling first week album of all time.)
Target certainly rolled out the red carpet for JT’s first album in six years. ABC aired a well received commercial created by Target immediately following JT’s performance at the Grammy Awards. Target also threw an elaborate party and concert in Los Angeles on the day of the album’s release last month.
But lost in the hoopla is the album’s content, specifically the hit single “Suit & Tie.” The song contains six references to a swear word that sounds like ship. Rapper mogul Jay-Z, who pops up in the middle of the song, contributes a derogatory word commonly associated with African Americans.
Here are some of the lyrics:
I be on my suit and tie, s*** tie, s***tie (Repeats several times)
D'usses on doubles, ain't looking for trouble
You just got good genes so a n*** trying to cuff you
This blogger is not personally offended by the lyrics. But what’s remarkable about “Suit & Tie” is how these words have slipped into mainstream America in recent years without barely a howl.
And it doesn't get any more mainstream than Target.
“Target’s approach is to support the creativity and artistry of our music partners and the way they choose to present their music,” Target spokeswoman Katie Boylan wrote in a statement.
“As we seek out partners, there are a number of things Target considers, including how the artist's music may resonate with Target's guests,” she said. “We also look at how their past albums have performed in the general market and at Target, as well as broader industry trends.”
It didn’t seem so long ago when Tipper Gore, who co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center, urged Congress to pass a law requiring record companies to slap warning labels on songs that contain “objectionable content.”
Today the record company and artist, working with the Recording Industry Association of America, ultimately decides whether an album requires a “Parental Advisory Warning.” (PAW)
Target said it defers to the industry for PAW warnings.
Wal-Mart, Target’s chief rival, outright bans any album with the PAW label. The retailer also said “it occasionally may refuse to stock music merchandise that may not seem appropriate.”
20/20 Experience does not carry a PAW label and both Target and Wal-Mart sell the album.
Part of the reason is context. “Suit & Tie” is a fairly benign song. And JT is a an artist with a clean cut reputation along the likes of other Target-affiliated artists like Tony Bennett, Swift, Beyonce (Jay-Z’s wife), and Michael Buble.
But then again, the pop band Maroon 5 is not exactly a hard core act. (Lead singer Adam Levine is a guest judge on NBC’s The Voice for Pete’s sake!) The group’s “Overexposed” album features a PAW label, mostly because of the F-bombs found in the song “Payphone.”
For the record, Target does sell the original version of Overexposed. Wal-Mart will only sell the edited version of Overexposed. So by these standards, s*** and n***a are acceptable but f*** is still out of bounds.