“Oh no,” an attractive blonde declared when she discovered Arrow on a Thursday afternoon. “I thought I was going to save money working in this neighborhood,” she said on her way to the fitting room with a pile of designer clothes.
Arrow is the latest fashion boutique to arrive in the North Loop. The racks are filled with cool labels for women and men, including Surface to Air, L’Agence, and Steven Alan. It’s edgy without being off-putting. Luxurious yet casual. And those who can afford to pay $300 for a top are eating it up. (Some pieces are less . . . but lots are more.) It’s as though they haven’t shopped since Intoto went out of business in 2010.
Indeed, Arrow is the direct descendent of Intoto in Uptown, long the Twin Cities’ most exclusive designer store. Arrow owners Sarah Dwyer and Michael Basham worked together at Intoto and inherited the store’s database of elite Twin Cities shoppers—the retail equivalent of getting all the answers to the test in advance. Familiar faces have been streaming into Arrow since day one, but Basham says new ones are coming in too, ranging from MCAD students to philanthropists in their 80s.
“Our clients are people who are patrons to the arts, who go to the Guthrie, who give money to the Walker,” Basham says. “We have such a wonderful, interesting city—they want a boutique like this.”
Adds Dwyer, “We aim to bring hard-to-find indie brands to the Twin Cities to give our customers a reason to put down the mouse and shop local.”
The space has been deconstructed since former tenant martinpatrick3 moved out. Arrow is intentionally stark—concrete floors, exposed pipes and brick. But white walls and the open layout make it bright and inviting. Walk-by traffic has exceeded Dwyer and Basham’s expectations.
And shoppers aren’t just looking. Arrow surpassed its own sales predictions within weeks of its February opening and quickly had to re-order hot sellers. In case there was any doubt that Minneapolis could still support a high-end fashion boutique, Arrow leads the way.
121 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-339-1663 —A. K.