It was worth the wait. I toured Nordstrom Ridgedale this morning and—wow—the new store does not disappoint. The two-level department store is bright and open and beautifully appointed, from wood ceilings to original paintings throughout the store by local artists (savvy move, Nordstrom).
On the first floor, beauty and shoes are the main attractions. Women's and men's shoes run side by side along the back wall of the store, making it really easy to start at one end and cover it all, with slight shifts in decor to let you know when you're jumping price points. No true designer collections at this store, but you will find Stuart Weitzman, Tory Burch, Via Spiga and Burberry. Beauty, in the center of the sales floor, is, as promised, a totally new design. Gone are the traditional counters. Instead, everything is open and accessible for the customer to try. There's a large touchscreen to look up product details, trends and customer reviews.
Upstairs, the children's department feels like a major evolution from the Nordstrom Mall of America store, with shoes, apparel, toys and baby gear all integrated in one area. There's a playhouse with a touchscreen for games (only one - so it could get vicious...This is a new Nordstrom kids feature, so they'll figure it out). There's also a coloring table, and of course, balloons.
Of course we expect the shoe department to be good, but the big surprise highlight is Ruscello, Nordstrom's new Italian/Mediterranean inspired full service sit down restaurant and bar. The space is beautiful, from the full bar at one end to the open kitchen at the other and floor to ceiling windows. The bites I tried were tasty, but I'll leave the reviews to Stephanie March.
The store opens on Friday, but the first chance to get in is Wednesday night for the opening gala to benefit Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and the PACER Center. Hope you have a ticket; the gala has sold out.
Before the doors open on Friday, Nordstrom will host a complimentary Beauty Bash outside the first floor mall entrance from 8 to 10 a.m. Beauty advisors will share new products, trends, tips and tricks for skincare and makeup. The first 1,000 attendees will receive a reusable beauty tote bag.
On Saturday at 8 a.m. Nordstrom will welcome the 130 children that painted fish shaped tiles for the store to find theirs in the children's department. The tiles decorate the cash wrap—another thoughtful and local touch. Treats will be served.