Photo by Caitlin Abrams
You can now plan the perfect Saturday in Minneapolis without ever leaving Tyler Street: coffee at Spyhouse, shopping at the new Blu Dot weekend outlet, followed by a beer on the patio at Bauhaus Brew Labs to celebrate the sofa you scored for 30 percent off.
Blu Dot’s weekend outlet opens to the public this Saturday. Discounts will range from 20 to 50 percent off furniture, lighting, textiles, and accessories, including many one-of-a-kind prototypes. But deals aren’t the only draw. The front area of the store is a showroom offering a sneak peek at the modern furniture brand’s newest products, such as bedding, and items not yet available for sale. The space itself, with its soaring ceilings and flood of natural light, befits the modern industrial brand: it was originally the old Crown Steel facility where airplane wings and agriculture equipment were made. This was Blu Dot’s corporate headquarters for the past five years, and when the space next door became available, the company moved its offices over, which allowed the converted warehouse to be turned into the showroom and outlet.
The weekend outlet takes Blu Dot’s relationship with the Twin Cities to a whole new level. “We’re a hometown team, and we haven’t always shared that with the hometown crowd as well as we’d like,” says Blu Dot vice president Medora Danz. Until now, Blu Dot’s direct interaction with its local customers was limited to an annual sale at its warehouse on the edge of town. Blu Dot has retail stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Austin, Texas, but in Minneapolis, you could only buy the full line through third party retailers, such as Roam in Uptown.
It was worth the wait for the Blu Dot retail experience in Minneapolis. Shoppers will get to preview what’s coming, and purchase the iterations that led there—a chair wrapped in gray leather that didn’t make it into the collection, rug samples, beds that are brand new, but discounted because they were used in a photo shoot. And while customers enjoy discounts on unique items, the company will be able to observe shopper behavior and preferences directly.
“The hybrid experience is a great way for us to be in retail in Minneapolis,” Danz says.
Bring the kids: just like Room & Board’s weekend outlet in Golden Valley—an obvious inspiration—the Blu Dot outlet features a playroom. Blu Dot is open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1323 Tyler St., Mpls., bludot.com