Less than four years after bringing his colorful brand of maximalism to Uptown, the Jonathan Adler store in Minneapolis is closing. A local manager says Jan. 23 is the final day. A floor sample sale is on now, with discounts on large items—sofas, shelving, lighting. Accessories are still full price and not expected to be marked down; the leftovers will be shipped back to headquarters.
Jonathan Adler at his Uptown store in 2012. My interview with him then was both inspiring and comical.
The Jonathan Adler store opened with great fanfare in spring of 2012. Local tastemakers streamed in for an opening night party, which was attended by Adler himself. At the time, the quick-witted Adler told me he picked the Twin Cities for his 17th retail store because “This is such a creative town—there are so many groovy companies here, and I love Prince.”
All very valid reasons to be here. But as we groovy locals know, our good taste and enthusiasm for upscale brands often exceeds the frequency with which we shop—especially beyond the malls. So is this another case of right store, wrong location? Probably. Would Jonathan Adler have done better in the North Loop? Maybe. But I think Galleria would have been (and still could be!) the best fit. While Jonathan Adler’s “24 Hour Pot Dealer” window sign might raise a few Edina eyebrows, I believe the vibrant mix of home décor and gifts would play extremely well at the upscale, indoor center, among the Kate Spades and Louis Vuittons of the mall.
And it could happen yet: a Jonathan Adler company spokesman confirms the company "continues to explore new retail space in the area."
Jonathan Adler is the sort of brand that favors city streets—North Wabash in Chicago; Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Prince’s Uptown seemed perfect, on paper. At the time, Design Within Reach (since closed) was a block away, along with two other modern home stores, cb2 and the locally owned Roam Interiors. A location right on Hennepin, near the Apple store and North Face, might have helped with visibility and access—although I actually found it easier to park right by the Jonathan Adler store, which is a block down from Calhoun Square on Lake—but that’s probably because there isn’t as much around it. Mesa Pizza and Ragstock aren’t really the same demo.
Even as more stores have flocked to Uptown—Jonathan Fluevog, Goorin Bros., Arc’teryx, and most recently, Fjalraaven (all on Hennepin), the neighborhood isn’t the first (or even the second) place the target shoppers for those brands think to shop in the Twin Cities. I wish it was—I love our city feeling like an actual "city"—with people on the streets, and plenty of commerce to keep it lively. Today, there are more stores on the street at Lake and Hennepin than there have been since Calhoun Square was cool, but they’re nearly all chains—desirable ones, but chains, nonetheless. And the people most likely to support them want convenient parking.
That said, we can't take all the blame for the store not working in Uptown. The Jonathan Adler team might have done more to reach out to its customers. As the opening hoopla proved: there is an audience here, and there was excitement. You've got to fuel that to keep it going. More parties. In-store design seminars. More advertising. People need to be reminded, and perhaps nudged, to bring a bit more “irreverent luxury” into their lives.