Pottery Barn will soon shut its doors on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, making it the latest retailer to leave a neighborhood traditionally known more for its local restaurants and small businesses than national chain stores.
The closing, expected in January or February, marks the latest shop to close on the historic street in recent years. Prior departures include Anthropologie, North Face, Restoration Hardware and Ann Taylor Loft.
Pottery Barn employees said privately Tuesday that they believed the home furnishings store was closing after managers failed to come to an agreement on the rent. The company, owned by Williams-Sonoma, could not immediately be reached for comment.
"This latest closure announcement is incredibly frustrating and does not represent the overall strength of Grand Avenue," Grand Avenue Business Association President Chris Jensen said in a statement Tuesday.
It is not yet known where or if Pottery Barn will relocate.
The store's current location in the Grand Place mall building is owned by the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio. Officials at the pension fund could not be reached for comment.
Other tenants in the mall at 870 Grand Ave. that have closed and relocated in recent years include Lululemon, the M Health Fairview Women's Health Clinic and J.Crew.
"The fact that Grand Mall is owned by out-of-state real estate investors that do not care about the impact this has on our local community is something the Grand Avenue Business Association would like to address," Jensen said. "An ideal future would see this building in the hands of local owners with thriving, locally owned small businesses that meets the needs of the community."
Businesses along Grand Avenue have faced challenges in the past few years caused by the pandemic, government mandates that temporarily shut restaurants and waning retail sales as more consumers bought goods online.
In addition, businesses, employees and neighbors in the area have complained about shoplifting in — and panhandling outside of — Walgreens, Cafe Latte and even the occasional late-night shooting at Billy's on Grand, which sits across the corner from Pottery Barn.