Photo by Katherine Harris
Interior of women's boutique Roe Wolfe
North Loop boutique Roe Wolfe is moving to the Galleria—and it’s as much of a surprise to owner Ashley Kilcher as it is to the rest of us.
Roe Wolfe is being forced out of the space Kilcher moved to less than a year ago on North First Street by a developer who bought the building. At the same time, Kilcher had been talking to Galleria in Edina about a second location. They’re calling it a pop-up shop—something we haven’t seen much of at Galleria, as the tony center rarely has spare real estate to play with. Roe Wolfe will take the former lucy space, near Crave, for six months. The active wear store reopens later this month next door to Vineyard Vines.
A national retailer was slated to go into the spot Roe Wolfe will occupy temporarily, but then put the brakes on its expansion plans, which gave Galleria a bit of time to try a pop-up, Galleria leasing director Jennifer Smith explained. It's such a major investment and commitment to open a permanent store at Galleria that this is a rare chance for a small indie shop like Roe Wolfe to dip a toe in and test it out. If it works, Smith says, Roe Wolfe will have the option to stay—in a new space at the east end of the center, where an expansion is underway. Galleria is trying to make the west side of the mall the luxury wing, anchored by Louis Vuitton and Tiffany. The vision for the east side is more of a "hip factor," Smith described.
Roe Wolfe won’t be able to carry Free People at Galleria, since the brand has a store of its own, but Row Wolfe’s contemporary apparel, with bit of a boho vibe and prices more attainable than many Galleria retailers, should appeal to the same clientele. Galleria has been trying to attract younger shoppers, who may think of the center as a place their moms shop. There’s also been a public perception of late that Galleria’s national owner, Hines, is more interested in drawing big brands like Tory Burch than hanging on to local retailers. Smith says that couldn't be further from the truth—"local stores distinguish us." In addition to being locally owned, Roe Wolfe sells several locally based lines, including Goldfine Jewelry and Larissa Loden jewelry.
Kilcher says she had already been beefing up inventory, in anticipation of a second location. She’s adding sizes—not plus, but XLs. She's also expanding the selection of popular brands like Scotch and Soda and BB Dakota, and bringing in new ones, including Spiritual Gangster.
A closing sale at Roe Wolfe’s North Loop store starts Monday. Kilcher expects to be out by Feb. 13 and open at Galleria in early March. She’s once again hiring artist and designer Kevin Kramp to give the Galleria space some character.
Kilcher says this move is not a permanent farewell to the North Loop. “I love the neighborhood.” she says, adding that she plans to continue looking for a new space.
“Stay tuned,” says Kilcher, who heads to Los Angeles next week on a buying trip.