Wilson & Willy’s, the long-anticipated “general store” for the Instagram generation, opens today, Thursday, January 29 in the North Loop. Missing the holiday season due to construction delays was a real bummer, but there’s novelty to being the only new store in a month that belongs to clearance sales. Besides, North Loop’s many makers and hipsters and copious coffee drinkers are eager to get inside after months of passing those papered Washington Avenue windows stamped with the Sig Olson quote: “A new adventure is coming up and I’m sure it will be a good one.”
Indeed, Wilson & Willy’s is worth the wait. The store looks polished. The fixtures are gorgeous. The space feels airy and fresh, even in an historic building with the requisite exposed brick and wood. It’s stocked—albeit, sparingly—with a mix of elevated everyday goods, home furnishings, accessories and apparel. Half the merchandise is exclusive to Wilson & Willy’s, born of collaborations with brands: men’s boots by Chicago-based Oak Street Bootmakers, specially made with leather from S.B. Foot Tannery in Red Wing; jackets and sweaters by Minneapolis-based Hackwith Design House, made for the store with Faribault Woolen Mill Co. fabric. Faribault blankets feature prominently at Wilson & Willy's, which is owned by John Mooty, who was integral to the revival of the century-old brand that was purchased by his family and brought back to life nearly four years ago.
Though the "heritage" essentials are all present Wilson & Willy's—boots, axes and canvas bags—it’s clear that Mooty is anxious to push past that overused label. To that end, the shop features contemporary furniture, inventive lighting, ceramics, a small (too small, if you ask me) assortment of beauty products from One Love Organics, Another Feather jewelry, and even a few toys.
“We’re trying to create an environment that does the product and story justice,” Mooty says.
He’s off to an auspicious start.
Wilson & Willy's, 211 Washington Ave. N., Mpls, wilsonandwillys.com