After 35 years, Judith McGrann & Friends in St. Louis Park is losing its BFF, owner and founder Judith McGrann.
McGrann, along with daughter Meghan, has sold the women’s boutique on Excelsior Boulevard.
Meghan McGrann will continue at the shop as a consultant and buyer for the next two years, working side by side with new owner Wendy Lulavy. Her mother plans to stop by the store on a regular basis to chat with customers, many of whom became dear friends.
“I’m going to be 75 in a few months,” she said. “It takes a tremendous amount of energy to do the store as we have. I’ll be around, but it’s time for someone else’s new vision and energy.”
The business was not for sale, but Lulavy and the McGranns shared a consultant who put the three of them in touch. Lulavy had been seriously considering her own plus-size boutique but had no fashion retail experience. The McGranns’ boutique was never considered a plus-size shop, but the store has always catered more to sizes 14 and 16 than 0s and 2s.
“We’re very interested in serving that segment of the population,” said Meghan McGrann.
Customers won’t see any noticeable changes in the immediate future. The name and all the staff will remain. Lulavy complimented the staff as key to the store’s success.
“They’re like a sisterhood. They take care of the customers and each other,” said Lulavy, 47.
Megan McGrann has worked with her mother for 25 years and did not know if she wanted to run the boutique without her. “When we knew Wendy didn’t want to make wholesale changes, then I was comfortable,” she said
Lulavy said that as a plus-size person, she has gotten tired of having a lack of choices locally for high-quality larger sizes. “There’s Nordstrom and sometimes Fawbush’s, but I didn’t want to be in a shopping center. I like that you can park right in front at Judith McGrann,” she said.
When the time is right, she will start adding some extended sizes, but she doesn’t see the need to change an assortment that has worked well for decades. Lulavy has already joined Meghan McGrann for one buying trip and will join her going forward.
As a gemologist and a jeweler who also runs Summit Liquor in White Bear Lake, Lulavy possesses diverse skills but admits she’s on a learning curve at the boutique.
“I can’t learn the business unless I am there almost every day. I want to learn every detail,” she said.
For the McGranns, the change will allow them to see each other differently.
“It’s a chance to become mother and daughter exclusively again,” Meghan McGrann said.