GoodThings, a gift shop with stores in White Bear Lake and Maple Grove, will purchase two of the four Bibelot shops that are closing soon, the stores said Monday.
GoodThings is picking up the Bibelot shops on Grand Avenue in St. Paul and Linden Hills in Minneapolis, the top two revenue producers of the four stores. New items will be added in the two stores starting Feb. 1 as the existing items are sold. They will be renamed Bibelot-GoodThings and have grand reopening events in September.
The deal is a dramatic turn for Bibelot after its 86-year-old owner, Roxy Freese, announced in November she would retire after five decades of running her stores. She said she would close the stores after the holidays but hoped someone would buy them.
Monday's deal means two of the stores will go to another longtime Twin Cities retail family, led by Sharon Conrad and her son Tyler.
"We're two family-owned businesses that take good care of their customers and employees," Tyler Conrad said. "Roxy's been at it for 52 years and Sharon 45 years. They're the retail divas of the Twin Cities."
Both entrepreneurs started their businesses with $10,000 bank loans co-signed by their fathers, which was required at the time for women in business.
"It's wonderful news," Freese said. She was unable to tell friends or associates the news until the contracts were finalized, but she was slyly giving hints. "I kept telling them good things are going to happen."
The Bibelot locations in St. Paul's St. Anthony Park neighborhood and on University Av. SE. in Minneapolis are not part of the acquisition, but existing employees can apply for positions in the remaining Bibelot and GoodThings locations.
Freese said she is in talks with a potential buyer of Bibelot's first location, the one in St. Anthony Park, but has no further information on the store on University Avenue in Minneapolis.
GoodThings, founded in 1973 in White Bear Lake by Sharon Conrad, is still owned by Conrad and her son Tyler, 47, who now runs the Maple Grove store and the downtown White Bear Lake locations. Similar to Bibelot, GoodThings sells trendy and classic women's clothing, jewelry, gifts, home goods, toys and kids' items. Tyler Conrad, who lives in St. Paul, said he's wanted a store there for years, but it never worked out until November when Freese announced her retirement.
"I visited GoodThings in White Bear recently," Freese said. "I had a similar feeling as I do in Bibelot. It was full of familiar merchandise beautifully displayed. It just felt right."
Bibelot gift cards will be honored through Feb. 28. Items are now marked 30 to 60 percent off with an additional 15 percent off women's clothing.