The goods at ROBOTlove. Photo by Tom Sweeney.

One of the Twin Cities' truly unique independent shops, ROBOTlove, announced Wednesday that it will close on Dec. 31. The store, which opened in 2004, is famous for introducing the area's geeks, hipsters and art lovers to designer toys and plush (plus designer posters, tees, wallets, art books, cups, etc.). ROBOTlove was routinely the sight of packed release parties for the popular Dunny series (one of the vinyl toy market's most popular items).

The impending closure comes just months after the store's recent move to East Hennepin (it was previously a fixture in the LynLake neighborhood). Owner Kristoffer Knutson made it no secret that 2009 was a rough year for the store. Knutson had said he moved ROBOTlove to its new location hoping for a creative and economic boost. The shop is located in a storefront that is connected to PUNY, an interactive design firm. In addition to partnering with PUNY on the store's space, Knutson (who worked in commercial film prior to ROBOTlove) also came on as the firm's new managing director. PUNY's Pink Hobo art gallery, which shares the storefront with ROBOTlove, will continue operating.

So what will happen after Dec. 31? Knutson said he will continue his role as PUNY's managing director and will consult with the company's partners on event-based retail in the ROBOTlove space.

In a statement, Knutson had this to say to his longtime regulars:

"I've always believed that ROBOTlove's success was found in the inspiration it brought to the people of Minneapolis. I hope that you will take time to remember that first time you came through our door and share that feeling of delight in everything you do. Inspire the people around you and nurture their creativity. That will be our biggest return."

ROBOTlove will have extended hours during the holiday season. Starting Friday, the shop is partnering with Pink Hobo for "Black Market," a pop-up shop inside the gallery that will feature a curated selection of retail from Twin Cities designers, including Burlesque Design, Aesthetic Apparatus, Calpurnia Peach and many more.

ROBOTlove: 507 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls. 612-871-9393.

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