The Twin Cities area is home to a bevy of boutiques to satisfy your every shopping whim, from baby clothes to home decor to diamond rings. Many of these beloved shops have been open for 10 years or more — a serious achievement in the retail world.
With so many options, it’s easy to get a little lost and overwhelmed, or to go the safe route and simply stick to your old faves. But don’t be boring! Think outside the shopping big box and discover these excellent but underrated Twin Cities shops.
Design geeks and home decor enthusiasts have been shopping this supercool boutique in the Uptown area of Minneapolis since it opened a few years ago. Why? Because it’s basically Wonderland for aesthetes.
“The Pharmacie name and concept comes from the idea of an old corner general or drugstore — a place where you could get any number of things, and have a real social experience with the shopkeeper,” said co-owner Roger Barrett. “Of course, we’ve spun this notion and updated it for modern life, and put our vibe on it.”
Think high-end furniture, printed pillows or a set of dishes resembling the solar system. Besides Seletti dishware and clever collections of barware, Pharmacie also has an apothecary section. And it’s on the verge of introducing menswear.
“We have an appreciation for items that are clever, and express a sense of humor,” Barrett said. “Life is too short to be taken so seriously, and we believe things can be both cool and quirky.”
2743 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., pharmaciempls.com
The Golden Pearl Vintage
This isn’t your typical dark and musty vintage shop. Owner Audra Frizzell and her team have transformed their Northeast location into a haven resembling the department stores of yore. Best of all, every piece is in perfect condition — whether it hails from the Roaring ’20s or the polyester-heavy ’70s. And nothing feels remotely costumey.
“I wear vintage every day, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it,” Frizzell said. “I like to mix eras to showcase whatever my inspiration is that day.”
So who should shop the Golden Pearl? According to Frizzell, it’s “people who are bored with shopping at the mall and looking to add interest to their wardrobe or spiff up their personal style.”
507A E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., facebook.com/goldenpearlvintage
This St. Paul shop is perfect for discerning parents who don’t want their kids wearing cheesy onesies. Owner Kristie Case opened her shop a little more than three years ago, when her daughter was just 12 weeks old. “So many baby clothes are kind of lame,” she said. “I just wanted something that everyone didn’t have, something that fed my need for specialty things that are made well.”
Best of all, Teeny Bee was built to be kid-friendly. “A 2-year-old is like a wrecking ball,” Case said. So the shop is babyproofed, and there’s no need for worry if your child starts pulling merchandise off the shelves. Teeny Bee also has a playroom and offers music classes, so parents can come to shop or connect with other families.
1560 Selby Av., St. Paul, teenybeeboutique.com
At first glance, this St. Paul boutique looks intimidatingly cool. But don’t freak out! Its clothes are meant to become classic go-to necessities, not trendy throwaways.
Idun stocks “cool girl” brands such as Jesse Kamm and Rachel Comey, so you don’t have to travel out of state or eagerly await a package’s arrival to satisfy your fashionable cravings. The store’s racks are full of understated, sophisticated pieces that lean more Paris and New York than Midwest.
And that’s a good thing.
The Twin Cities area experienced a surge of menswear shops a few years ago, with MartinPatrick3, BlackBlue and Askov Finlayson snagging most of the headlines. But do you know about Trappings? It’s tucked away rather snugly in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis, and features easy, classic pieces such as plaid and flannel shirts, chinos and basic — but never boring — tees.
Bonus: The shop hosts frequent sales. It’s worth a stop if you’re in the neighborhood.
404 Penn Av. S., Mpls., facebook.com/shoptrappings
Kara Nesvig is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and beauty blogger.