Beloved boutique Epitome Papers is rising from the ashes! Just months after original owner Irene Cooperman shut down at Galleria in Edina following nearly a half century of business, she sold the company name to two longtime customers who plan to open an Epitome stationery and gift store in Excelsior. The focus will be on custom invitations, paper goods, desk accessories and gifts, but new owners Dana Townsend and Alexandra Masui plan to call their new store Epitome, rather than Epitome Papers—“just to give ourselves a little flexibility as we grow.”
The pair is new to retail, but they’ll have some help from Epitome Papers’ longtime manager and buyer Nancy Nathanson as well as the company’s in-house graphic designer, who is also making the move to Excelsior.
“There are a lot of people out there still who appreciate the look and feel of really fine paper,” Townsend says. “Fine stationery is an extension of personal style.”
While the name may buy the new shop some instant recognition and credibility, expect a 21st Century version of the popular store—starting with a computer system. “It was the first thing we purchased,” Townsend says. Cooperman’s enduring success is almost more remarkable considering her refusal to join the computer age—her Epitome Papers never sold online. She didn’t even have computherized cash registers in the Galleria store.
In addition to many of Epitome Papers’ popular brands and product categories, like picture frames and cards, the new Epitome will offer gifts for baby and pet. “We’re moving up market,” Townsend says.
Epitome is expected to open in April, in the old Laketown Chocolates space, at 270 Water St.
Epitome isn’t the only longtime Edina retailer reinventing itself in Excelsior. After 45 years at 50th & France, the neighborhood’s longest running boutique, J. Novachis, is scheduled to open March 1 in the lakeside town. The move comes a year after the death of men’s clothier John Novachis. His son Tony took over the business and decided to move it closer to his own home in Excelsior.
“I’ve lived out here almost two decades," Novachis says. "Excelsior is a vibrant, growing community, and I love how it's keeping the historical feel, but attracting a younger crowd and fresh businesses.”
In its new location at 218 Water Street, J.Novachis will continue to offer men’s dress and casual apparel and in-store tailoring.