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An inside look at top retailers and the consumers they covet

After a spate of closings, a new retail collective opens on Grand Avenue

In a neighborhood beset by closings such as Creative Kidstuff, North Face, Traditions furnishings, Bonfire and Wild Onion, Grand Avenue in St. Paul has good news to share. Grand Collective is temporarily filling the retail space once occupied by Restoration Hardware and Ann Taylor Loft.  

The newly-opened Grand Collective hits a number of retail trends--a pop-up with a collaboration of retailers under one roof offering goods that may be handmade, vintage, one-of-a-kind, practical or quirky. 

"So many people walking by our store in the neighborhood have told us they're excited for us to be here," said Siah Camara, manager of the new collective. 

The space located at 791 Grand Avenue in St. Paul is a similar but different concept from FourPost in Mall of America and Rose and Loon in Rosedale. "They're brand specific and this is more retail specific," said Patric Richardson, the Laundry Evangelist and leaseholder who launched the project. "This offers more flexibility is the range of goods we bring in."

Richardson said that because it's a neighborhood store instead of a mall store, the small-quantity inventory should turn quickly. "We may bring in only eight of one item instead a gross," he said. Pointing out a few items that may interest shoppers, he honed in on whimsical hammer tools for men, Wonder Woman water bottles, Porky's drive-in T-shirts, and vintage Louis Vuitton bags, 

The 6,000 square feet space includes Scout menswear and accessories, Jax and Henley women's apparel, CBD and Co. oils, gummies and lotions, Minnesota Made apparel and gifts, Shop in the City gifts, Moth Oddities vintage and gifts for women and men, Waam Industries wood gift boxes and crates, June upscale resale and gifts, Mona Williams laundry, gifts, bath and green cleaning, Hagen and Oats gifts and wood, Nice Nice Ceramics, Excelsior Candles, Medicinal Blends herbal healing and Milana Stile jewelry. 

The store had its soft opening Thursday with a grand opening on Nov. 2. It will remain open through the end of the year with the possibility of an extension into next year. Lunds & Byerlys currently owns the land from the former North Face to Brasa restaurant, but it does not plan to start construction of the mixed use space for 18 to 24 months while it completes the review and approval process, according to a Lunds & Byerlys spokesperson. At completion the space will include a Lunds & Byerlys supermarket, apartments and underground parking. 

Store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Grand Collective can be found on Facebook and Instagram. 

Twin Cities wholesaler offers rare sale on Cambria, flooring, cabinets

Unless you’re a carpet and flooring installer, interior designer, a home builder or remodeler, you may not have heard of ProSource Home Remodeling. It’s a national chain of wholesale showrooms open to the trade only. But in the Twin Cities any consumer can visit the showroom through Jack Rubenstein Wholesale without paying any additional fees and still save about 20% or more over retail prices.

ProSource has three showrooms in the Twin Cities in Plymouth, Bloomington and Oakdale. The next two weeks are an excellent time to time to pre-shop if you’re in the market for new flooring (carpet, tile, luxury vinyl tile), countertops and kitchen cabinets. During a sale that runs Oct. 21-25, many manufacturers offer additional discounts including Masland, Fabrica, and HanStone Quartz, Even Cambria countertops will be discounted 10% during the sale, a savings offered through Cambria's installers and ProSource, not the manufacturer.

Other vendors offering discounts include 17% off Karndean VRT and Baroque hardwood flooring, 20% off Emser Tile, 13% off Tigress H2O waterproof carpet and 20% off MSI Flooring. ProSource gives an additional 3% off during the sale on all materials except countertops. Installation is extra but ProSource can suggest installers.

To get into one of the showrooms as a non-member, contact Jack Rubenstein Wholesale at 952-922-4781 or email Jen at sales@jlrwholesale.com. Get an additional $50 off your order by signing up for a showroom consultation at www.jlrwholesale.com.

Ken Nash, owner of the Twin Cities ProSource locations, said that out of the 150 ProSource locations around the country, the Twin Cities event is the largest. “The discounts during this sale are more substantial than we’ve ever had,” he said. “We do 25% of our annual business in the two weeks leading up to the sale and the week of the sale,” he said.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon., Wed., Fri. and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tues. and Thurs.