As I walked through MartinPatrick 3 yesterday with founder Greg Walsh, I couldn’t help but marvel, not only at the newly expanded space—now 17,000 square feet in all—but at the number of people hustling about. So much industry has been created here! Sales associates. Tailors. Interior designers. Owners of other businesses, like antique jeweler Filigree, which now has store within the store. Construction workers—frantically assembling shelving for the shoe department and cabinets for computers in advance of tonight’s big holiday party.
“I just want all of this done,” Walsh said, waving around at all the commotion. Done? Really? I couldn’t help but chuckle a little, and Walsh conceded what has become the trademark of North Loop's ever-expanding retail anchor: the work is never done. In fact, plans are already in motion for some new features to be rolled out in January. (Good ones, too!)
But for this week, at least, Walsh is just focused on getting his latest, most jaw-dropping expansion yet ready for the holidays. If you can't make it to what is sure to be an epic party tonight, it’s worth peeking in before Christmas, just to soak up the retail magic Walsh and his partner Dana Swindler have created— expertly blending commerce and design and defining the "experience" of retail.
Of course, I’ve told you all about the expansion, which has been in the works since summer. But now that it is (mostly) complete, here are a few things to know.
Bar in the private lounge
The Private Lounge. If the doors to the new private lounge are open, take a peek….and imagine what it would be like to shop this way, a swanky room and fully stocked bar and kitchen to yourself while clothes are brought to you. The lounge is also available for rent—already, a group of groomsmen used it to get dressed and pre-game before the ceremony—Walsh imagines doing more of that. The lounge also has its own private store entrance….which is to say, MP3 is ready for Prince, or any other visitors anxious to keep a low profile.
Private entrance in the alley
The Alley. That private entrance is in the alley to the west of the store, which is owned by MartinPatrick 3 and backs up to what will soon be a boutique hotel. Next spring, Walsh plans to add landscaping and turn it into an outdoor area to be enjoyed by store customers. At the back of the alley, a floor-to-ceiling glass wall provides a view into the MartinPatrick 3 design studio boardroom. It might be worth a remodel just to spend time in this space. The work area for Walsh's design staff features brick walls and soaring windows (covered up for decades!) that face north.
Filigree. This longtime vintage jewelry dealer has offices above MP3 and had been selling a small assortment of watches in the store before Walsh suggested a full-blown department. The Black Room by Filgree is staffed by jewelry pros and filled with an impressive assortment of estate watches, vintage wedding bands and many gems that have been reworked into a modern setting.
The Tailor Shop. A sewing room opens onto the selling floor, and that was by design. "It's more interesting to see it," Walsh says. And it's an easy way to instantly let discriminating shoppers know that tailoring services are available, on site.
Furnishings. There’s no longer any mistaking the sofas and chairs for fixtures merely intended to display pillows or scarves. Walsh has taken care to let the furniture vignettes throughout the store stand alone. The added space means a deeper assortment of some popular brands, along with new ones—chief among them, Knoll.