A Minnetonka wholesaler of girls accessories will not be around much longer. Ms. Dee and its division Molly 'N Me, which made goods for pre-teen girls and women, is currently in chapter 11 and is holding a clearance sale at 6037 Baker Rd. in Minnetonka.
"The whole gift shop industry is struggling," said Dee Moss, CEO of Ms. Dee. "It was having trouble before 2008 and the recession didn't help," she said.
Moss' business sold to more than 3,500 small gift shops around the country.
Nearly everything at the sale is discounted 50 percent or more, including silver and pink sequin folding chairs for kids ($5, reg. $40), ladies costume jewelry for $2.50 each (reg. $20 to $40), tablet computer cases $5, lap desks $3, duffle bags $6, jeweled-toned chandeliers $65 (reg. $150), and $25 snuggle chairs. There is also a lot of smaller kitschy items for $3 or less.
The sale runs through Saturday, Oct. 12. Hours are 9-6 Wed. through Fri. and 9-2 Sat.
October is the lull between back to school and start of holiday shopping, said George John at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. That's one explanation for a boatload of bargain warehouse sales this week.
Thymes soaps and scents (Oct. 11-13). After taking a break last year from its mega warehouse sale in 2012, the big sale is back this year, but at the headquarters location (629 9th St. SE., Mpls). Save 50 to 75 percent on soaps, body washes, lotions, candles, diffusers, bubble baths and gift sets. Hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 11, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 12 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 13.
Red Wing Shoes (Oct. 10-13). More than 15,000 pairs of shoes for men and women will be 50 to 70 percent off including the Red Wing brand as well as the Irish Setter and Vasque hiking boots brand. All of the shoes are first quality with previous and newer styles. This is the second year the company has done the sale, which is put on at its historical Plant One facility at 127 Main St. in Red Wing. Hours are from 9
a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 10-11, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 12, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13.
Stroke of the Heart (Oct. 8-11). Locally-designed greeting cards, notecards and kitchen magnets at 50 to 85 percent off. The sale runs from noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 9-10, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11. The sale is at 3792 Williston Rd. in Minnetonka.
Angel's Foundation: This will be the last sale to benefit the Angel Foundation, a successor to the American Cancer Society's World's Largest Garage Sale. The large sale runs Oct. 12-16 at the Four Seasons Mall in Plymouth (4108 Lancaster Lane N.) with clothing, art, toys, antiques, furniture, furniture, electronics and sporting goods depts. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission is $3 on the first day.
Historic Studio (Oct. 12). Save 50 percent off all home furnishings, vintage and accessories from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 12 at 4950 W. 35th St., St. Louis Park. New for this sale: a shipment of furniture from IMS at wholesale prices.
Bill Collins, the managing director of Actors Theater in St. Paul, believes so strongly that theater goers will love the musical cabaret "Mrs. Smith Live" that he is offering a money-back guarantee for anyone who comes to see it.
You could take Collins' word for "the best night of cabaret you will see all year" or you could take the opinion of Bain Boehlke, the Jungle Theater director, who wrote that it is "not just another drag show, but rather a hilariously constructed journey that is absurd and ridiculous. He sings Streisand and Garland better than Streisand and Garland."
Mrs. Smith, aka actor and playwright David Hanbury, weaves "Cabaret, "One Night in Bangkok," and "The Ladies Who Lunch" into a surreal adult travelogue about her life and her missing cat Carlyle. Although Hanbury has also appeared at the Guthrie, Mrs. Smith also appeared in the Minneapolis auditions for "America's Got Talent" in 2011.
The money-back guarantee is unusual among theaters. While it's true that some theaters offer a "pay-what you-can" policy and the Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis divvies up free tickets to every performance, theaters rarely give refunds except when patrons find themselves shocked by a play's theme or content. And even those reasons are suspect unless the patron walks out mid-performance. At the Guthrie Theater, for example, refunds are generally offered only when customers have a misunderstanding about the play they were attending, and only if they complain on the same day of the show, not two weeks later, said Guthrie marketing director Trisha Kirk.
Mrs. Smith Live is playing Thursdays through Sundays through Oct. 13 at Camp Cabaret (490 N. Robert St., St. Paul, 1-800-838-3006). Tickets can be ordered at www.brownpapertickets.com or 1-800-838-3006) for $20 to $32. Use discount code FRIEND to save $5 per ticket.
In my story about the decline of the corner bakery and bakery outlets in the Twin Cities, I mentioned a number of bakeries and outlets that have closed. Several readers wanted to know about the outlet stores that remain. Here's a list of the ones that I know. Feel free to comment on others that you know about in the Twin Cities and I will add them.
Pan-O-Gold (3200 Ranchview Lane, Plymouth, 763-559-1515) Country Hearth and other pre-packaged breads, snacks and condiments.
Sara Lee/Taystee (2400 County Rd. E., New Brighton, 651-639-1266 and 10613 University Ave., Blaine, 763-755-5542). Packaged breads, milk, cookies, snacks, cereals.
Hopkins Thrift (1812 Mainstreet, Hopkins, 952-931-9679) From Cub Foods and Jerry's Foods.
White Bear Lake Country Hearth Thrift (1515 White Bear Ave., 651-774-0760) A Country Hearth outlet similar to Pan-O-Gold.
Mainstreet Bakery (6947 Washington Av. S., Edina, 952-943-8008). Open from 3-5 p.m. Wednesdays and from 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays. Artisan breads, hot dog and hamburger buns, assorted rolls and doughnuts, chocolate, cakes. Also check out Italian specialties such as a 60-ounce tray of lasagna with meat, pasta sauce, pesto and cheese ravioli. Everything is made on the premises for local retailers, restaurants and hotels.
Lofthouse or C2B (7350 Commerce Lane, Fridley, 763-586-6241). Go to the north side of the building near the back. Artisan breads for $1 per loaf, packaged foods, cakes, cookies.
DealSmart (2553 Highway 10 NE., Moundsview 763-717-2967 and 2900 Rice St., Little Canada, 651-287-7899). Not a bakery outlet exclusively, DealSmart sells about 5,000 loaves a week of Brownberry breads. Some Entenmann's items too. Also some gluten-free breads and fresh breads from Uptown Bakery. Sara Lee may be added soon, said owner Bob Bushey. Deliveries are Tuesdays and Fridays.
Target is piloting a new subscription service on target.com for baby-care essentials, including diapers, wipes, formulas, training pants -- and more.
The service allows moms and dads to schedule regular deliveries of these crucial items. This is the first time the Minneapolis-based retailer has offered an online subscription service.
According to Target's website, the 150 eligible subscription items can be found at Target.com/targetsubscriptions. This includes bulk-sized items delivered to the doorstep in regular four- to 12-week installments. As a subscription nears expiration, shoppers will be sent an email from Target reminding them to update their list.
"Like anything new, we know there may be some hiccups (baby pun intended) with this new service. That’s why Target is encouraging feedback as we work to refine and enhance the offering—and help make some of your parenting duties a little bit easier," Target said.
In case you haven't noticed, it's the holiday shopping season. Reports have been surfacing (Including our story here) in recent days about retailers hiring holiday temps, including Target, which is actually hiring fewer employees this season.
Outplacement consulting guru Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that shaky consumer confidence and increased efficiencies among retailers may conspire to dampen overall holiday hiring. That, despite a 12-year high in hiring last year.
In its annual holiday hiring forecast, CGC said seasonal job gains will not see a significant decline from last year’s numbers, in fact, they are likely to match the level of hiring that occurred in October, November, and December 2012.
In 2012, retail employment increased by a non-seasonally adjusted 751,800 between Oct.1 and Dec. 31, up 11 percent from the previous year, CGC said. That was the heaviest holiday hiring binge since 2000, when retailers added 788,200 to their payrolls during the final three months of the year.
"While, the economy and job market are improving, it has now been four years since the recession officially ended and millions of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed," said John Challenbger, CEO of the firm, in a statement. "As a result, consumers remain uneasy, which is evidenced by wide monthly mood swings in confidence surveys.”
“Price-conscious consumers are doing more and more of their holiday shopping online, where they often find the best deals and can typically enjoy free delivery and no sales tax," he said. "The ongoing shift to Internet shopping could see some seasonal hiring in this area, but the numbers will never match the employment gains seen in traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, primarily because there simply are not has many. For every Amazon, there are dozens of national retail chains with the potential to hire thousands.”