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An inside look at top retailers and the consumers they covet

North Loop shop Askov Finlayson will close for major redesign

Askov Finlayson, the retailer known for selling  urban outdoors clothing and accessories for men and unabashedly combatting climate change in its promotions, will soon start a major reimagining of its business.

The store that opened in the North Loop in 2011 will close after January and reopen in the fall. The assortment of brands carried at the store will be trimmed to include only its own line. "Over the past few years, creating Askov Finlayson products has become the fastest-growing part of what we do," said co-founder and CEO Eric Dayton in a statement. "This move better aligns our business with our mission, as third party products weren't a part of our Give 110% climate impact calculation." 

A year ago the Daytons announced they are donating 110 percent of the store's climate impact cost to fighting climate change, pledging to donate more than $1 million over five years. 

Dayton brothers Andrew and Eric are going all-in, eliminating brands such as Barbour, Norse Projects, Snow Peak, and Patagonia. All of the third party brands, along with a few discontinued Askov products, are now discounted 50 percent.

Next month, after the store closes temporarily, Askov will hold a clearance event Feb. 9-10 at the Blu Dot outlet store in northeast Minneapolis in connection with Blu Dot and Idun, a women's apparel and accessories retailer in St. Paul. When the store reopens at its same flagship location, it will make room for women’s product for the first time. “We’ve actually found over the past year that 50 percent of our customers are women, even though we’ve never had product specifically for them, so it’s an exciting opportunity,” Dayton said. The women’s line, like the men’s, will include only the Askov brand with no third party vendors. 

The retail space at 204 N. 1st St. in Minneapolis also includes Askov's offices and design studio upstairs. Last year the cultish eyewear brand Warby Parker moved out of Askov and into its own space in the North Loop on Washington Avenue. 

The Askov website will continue to sell existing and new products throughout the transition.

Target beefs up offerings for Shipt same-day delivery


A year after buying Shipt, the same-day delivery service, Target plans to open up the service to all of its major categories in the year ahead.

The Alabama-based Shipt offers speedy delivery of groceries, household essentials, toys and electronics for members. The company currently offers same-day delivery on 55,000 items. It’s unclear how many more Target will make available.

The $550 million acquisition of Shipt was one of the largest deals in Target history, and has helped the retailer push a strategy to get customers shopping and receiving their purchases in every way imaginable — home delivery, in-store pickup, drive-up service or shipped to your door. 

Though Shipt remains an independent company, Target made the service available at nearly every store in time for the holiday shopping season. Shipt also has partnerships with Kowalski’s, Hy-Vee and CVS in the Twin Cities.

With Target driving a rapid coast-to-coast expansion, the Shipt service has grown from 70 markets to more than 200 in 46 states. Membership, which costs $99 a year, has tripled in the past year.

Shipt has hired nearly 400 people in its offices in Birmingham and San Francisco, with “hundreds” more in the works, according to Target.

Target said that grocery items are the most popular use of the service, with the basics of eggs, milk, bananas and strawberries among shoppers’ top picks. Oh, and, avocados. Which provides a hint about the demographic most likely to use the service, a detail Target didn’t share.