Evereve's new flagship store in the 50th and France shopping district is designed to emphasize how customers can connect with each other and with what they wear.

Even in this age of digital shopping and quick home deliveries, brick and mortar stores offer a sense of connection and human interaction that can't be duplicated, said Megan Tamte, co-founder and co-CEO of Evereve, a women's clothing chain based here that has more than 90 stores across the country.

"People like to connect and gather and they like a second opinion and they like someone to challenge them and dare them to wear something that they didn't think they can wear," Tamte said.

The new flagship, she said, is testament to the chain's commitment to grow its portfolio of brick and mortar locations, hitting new records in store sales. But it also reflects today's retail world with dressing room space strategically set up for live fashion shows broadcast on social media.

While Evereve stores usually have some sort of lounge area built in, the new Edina flagship space — formerly occupied by Steele Fitness and Tooth X Nail — has room to be reconfigured for in-store events such as fundraisers or book signings.

Studio BV, which designed the new store, used warm materials like the light wood that wraps the circular check-out bar to create a homey yet high-end feel.

"We wanted people to feel there's a little bit of whimsy and playfulness and there's a lot of sophistication," said Betsy Vohs, chief executive of Studio BV.

The new Edina store has 6,400 square feet of selling space, almost double what the old Edina store had. The larger footprint allows for the store to dramatically expand its inventory of women's shoes as well as jackets and jewelry and accessories.

It was important to Tamte for the store to stay in Edina, where she and her husband Mike opened their first store in 2004 and where their office is based.

"I still get very emotional about 50th and France and the way that the community responded," Megan Tamte said. "It's such a special place for me personally but [also] for our whole brand."

The company plans to open about a half-dozen stores this year, including in new markets in California and Florida, bringing Evereve's store count to 100 by the end of the year.

Brick-and-mortar sales at Evereve stores are up 35% compared with the same period two years ago and now are at the highest level ever for the company. Online sales also have increased. Last year, sales were down 11% because of the pandemic.

"We want to continue to grow stores," Megan Tamte said. "We absolutely believe in brick and mortar. We know that, yes, there is an online customer and that is part of the customer experience, but we also at the same time believe in the power of human connection."