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First Look: The Nic on Fifth
By: Allison Kaplan | Posted: 12/29/2013
Longtime independent home and gift gallery Three Rooms is leaving the Galleria in Edina after 33 years. “It’s difficult to compete with the nationals coming in,” says Three Rooms owner Patty Burrets, who runs the store with her daughter Amy Nelson. The store is planning a “Moving On” sale, as Burrets and Nelson consider their next steps—possibly even a return to a neighborhood setting, like Linden Hills, where Burrets started Three Rooms Up above other storefronts 43 years ago.
Back then, there was no online marketplace for small artists. Three Rooms brought special pieces to the mainstream in a pre-Etsy era. “We are so dedicated to showing artists works,” Burrets says. “But it’s hard to compete price-wise with the Crate and Barrels.” Three Rooms does not sell online.
For several years Burrets ran two Galleria stores. The second, ATAZ, specialized in colorful home accessories with a Santa Fe flair. When she closed that store three years ago, Burrets says she expected as much as 40 percent of the business to come over to Three Rooms, where she planned to carry some of the same goods. That never materialized.
Burrets says she talked to Galleria management about downsizing, but the center was unable to accommodate her request. A Galleria spokesperson said the decision to leave was Three Rooms’; not the center’s. While Burrets didn’t blame Galleria, she did point to a shifting philosophy since local owner Warren Beck sold to Hines Global REIT in 2012. “He (Beck) put more value on local retail. The Galleria has always been such desirable retail property in large part because it is unusual. I don’t know how much longer that will last.”
Another independent Galleria boutique, Whymsy, will also close in January. Local shoppers seem nostalgic, but in both cases, an argument could be made that the stores had passed their prime. The Hines group is trying to retain Galleria’s uniqueness by attracting upscale retailers that are new to the market—like Kate Spade and Blue Mercury. Other recent additions are clearly aimed at drawing younger shoppers: North Face recently opened, and lululemon has a store under construction. Meanwhile, many strong locally owned stores remain.
Three Rooms will remain open at Galleria until Jan. 31. The sale starting Jan. 2 will include discounts on select merchandise.
Allison Kaplan is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s shopping and style editor. See bio
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