If you hibernated all January—and who could blame you—here's what has moved, opened, and is under construction at shopping centers around town:
Mall of America: The latest openings include Swim 'N Sport, offering designer swimwear for women in a variety of styles . . . particularly pleasing to those with no parts to hide; Farm Boy and Farm Girl, where people who have never plowed a field can buy agriculturally inspired T-shirts, hats and bags; and Sigma, a beauty boutique where the brushes, rather than the powders, take center stage.
On the heels of Pinkberry opening a counter at Macy's, another celeb fave from Los Angeles: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is open on the lower level of Forever 21 (take the mall escalator down to access it directly).
And for those already missing Neiman Marcus, console yourselves at the new Prada boutique at Nordstrom. Meanwhile, The Body Shop is currently closed for renovation and will reopen Feb. 16 with a fresh look, more youth-oriented focus, and more emphasis on free makeup application and skincare analysis—a "beauty playground" is how they describe it.
To find these stores, and keep up on all things MOA, try my Ali Shops MOA app at moa.alishops.com on any smartphone.
Osaka Seafood and Steakhouse will open in March, and just announced: Sola Salon Studios will open its fourth Twin Cities location at Woodbury Lakes this summer. Sola is an intriguing concept: the company is basically a landlord, renting separate suites to beauty professionals, making it possible for stylists, estheticians, nail technicians and other beauty professionals to run their own business while still benefiting from proximity to others and less overhead.
Oh, and did you know? Suzetra, the women's boutique that couldn't make it at 50th & France is giving it another try at Woodbury Lakes (I don't think location was the problem).
Shops at West End: The ladies won't have to leave the lifestyle center to show off their lululemon gear—a barre fitness studio is opening in April at West End. Haute Barre, is the latest locally owned studio to capitalize on the growing popularity of barre, a ballet-inspired workout worth suffering through for its ability to tone and chisel. (That's my description, not the company's.)
Galleria: I generally avoid talking too much inside retail in this space...because I know you just want to shop. But something curious is brewing at the Twin Cities' poshest center, which was purchased in August by Hines Global REIT: general manager Jill Noack and marketing director Kira Johnson, both longtime employees, are leaving. New regime, new direction? Seems like Hines would be crazy to fix what ain't broke, but some sort of change is definitely coming. Stay tuned—I'm on it.