Add three more addresses to Hot Mama's ever expanding empire. Today the Edina-based boutique chain announced plans to open in Eden Prairie (next to Kona Grill) in March, with two more openings to follow in April at Hilldale Mall in Madison, Wis. and the new Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. That will bring the total to 16 Hot Mama stores throughout the Midwest - seven in the Twin Cities.
It's great to see a local husband and wife team succeed - it was just five years ago that Megan and Mike Tamte opened their first store in 50th & France, having not even decided whether or not to offer maternity apparel. Now, they've got the formula down: serve moms during pregnancy and beyond by making it easy for them to shop for hip, contemporary clothes. That means sales associates that double as babysitters, toys, video games, plenty of seating and a free flow of animal crackers. Genius. Hot Mama was the pioneer - even Old Navy has play tables now. But Hot Mama has figured out how to make moms - and kids - comfortable. And apparently, they've figured out how to conquer a recession. The Tamtes told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in October that their strategy is to expand when no one else is, which gets them lower rent and more flexible deals. They've also lowered their price points.
I just hope they don't lose focus on the fashion. The last few times I was in, the selection was underwhelming. The racks were messy. Animal crackers are great and all, but if the jeans and tops don't make me feel hot, I'm not buying.