When Laurie Crowell, owner of Golden Fig gourmet food shop, heard that the space next to her on Grand Avenue was going to become available, she knew just whom to call. Christine Hoffman is a longtime stylist and former retailer who had spent the last decade merchandizing stores, planning events, selling repurposed goods, and working on the HGTV show FreeStyle.
Hoffman’s initial response to news of the high-profile vacancy was, “So?” She had no plans to open a store of her own. But just as Crowell suspected, the creative juices immediately began churning. Two hours after their conversation, Hoffman had a concept and a name: Foxglove Market & Studio.
The store focuses on locally sourced cut flowers and tools for entertaining, ranging from stationery to tabletop to refurbished furnishings. Selling the merchandise is, of course, critical, but having customers say they’d like to move into the store itself is what lets a shopkeeper know she’s on to something. It’s the overarching aesthetic that makes Foxglove an instant standout, from the glass canisters filled with spools of yarn, ribbon, and striped straws to the aprons neatly hanging from a row of wall hooks to the organic flower arrangements to the big metal work table in the back of the store.
“I like to mix old and new with a little bit of whimsy—and no fuss,” Hoffman says. She believes that online tools like Pinterest and Instagram are actually raising the bar for brick-and-mortar retailers. “People are paying more attention to aesthetics. There are so many visual outlets, it’s broadening our horizons.”
Still feel like you could use a professional’s eye? Hoffman plans to host a series of small classes focused on floral design and seasonal entertaining. Foxglove is also open for holiday design consulting. 792 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-214-4247, foxglovemarket.com —A. K.
Bring the outdoors in. Natural elements make a big impact—for fall, try asters and kale against a neutral backdrop.
Serve the season. Mix a few seasonal items with your everyday dishes, like gold chevron paper runners or a centerpiece of antlers or pinecones.
Warm it up. Swap crisp white summer pillows for ones with texture and warmth, like a cable knit.