Wendy Eisenberg, recently promoted to general manager of the Galleria, is “leading the vision” for the Edina luxury mall as it completes a 20,000-square-foot expansion this fall.
Eisenberg joined the Galleria in January as assistant general manager, bringing 25 years of retail and commercial real estate experience to the shopping and dining destination.
“Galleria is the only upscale fashion-oriented center in the Twin Cities, in the Upper Midwest between Denver and Chicago,” Eisenberg said. “The appeal of that brand is really unmatched, and I am really thrilled to be a part of that.”
The expansion, which is to open formally in November, will house newcomers with local or Minnesota ties including Cov restaurant; Roe Wolfe, a contemporary women’s apparel store opening its lone Twin Cities location, and swimwear store Big Island Surf & Swim Co. Others coming to the expansion include home furnishings store Design Within Reach and the only Soft Surroundings location in Minnesota.
She attributes the Galleria’s continuing appeal to the intimacy of the space and its retail mix. While the center is known for fashion, about half its stores offer home furnishings and accessories. Close to half the tenants are exclusive to the Galleria and about 40 percent are locally owned shops. “They’re not just owned by locals but we have some of the savviest independent retailers that own these independent shops,” she said.
Eisenberg’s experience includes roles in general management at the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove and Burnsville Center and as director of special projects at Suntide Realty.
Q: How does the Galleria compete with online shopping?
A: When you come here and experience the atmosphere, it’s a pleasant vibe. That is something you can’t experience when you’re clicking and having something delivered to your door. It’s coming in and feeling the merchandise and looking at yourself in the mirror in the dressing room. It’s having someone give you the advice or suggestion of complementary items. It could be a fashion item or something for your home.
Q: What are your goals as general manager?
A: There is a very special feeling that you get at the Galleria. The goal here is to consistently maintain the property, to make sure that we have an intimate shopping environment experience for our customers and to do that at the highest level possible.
Q: What has appealed to you about working in retail?
A: I enjoy it because it’s ever-changing. It’s evolving. There’s something new and different every day. It’s fascinating to learn from retailers in your shopping center about the new products, the new merchandise, trends, what’s moving, what’s not moving and how the customer responds.