Don’t think of mother-daughter duo June Berkowitz and Kelissa Stempski as merely shop owners. Think of them as local ambassadors to European fashion and culture. You’ll find their quaint women’s boutique, Allee Metro Chic, tucked into an alleyway off the corner of Selby and Snelling in St. Paul. Complete with a cobblestone walkway, candlelit lanterns, soft music, and a narrow, winding path, the setting is reminiscent of a Parisian shopping lane.
It’s hard not to appreciate the welcoming aura of the open and airy boutique space: The hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, muted gold and silver wall adornments (plucked from Minneapolis’s Art & Architecture), and faux crystal chandeliers (purchased at neighboring Patina) all complement the eclectic mix of designers.
The looks range from swarthy frocks from Minnesota native Jessika Madison-Kennedy—think black cocktail dresses with ribbon details or two-tone embellishments—to items from international designers such as Chie Mihara, who creates a covetable pair of Spanish-made black platform pumps.
But the friendliest aspects are undoubtedly the proprietors. Berkowitz, who also owns Nina’s Coffee Café in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood, not only serves up homemade espresso, macaroons, and croissants to her customers, but also plenty of enthusiasm. With each item she pulls, she shares a story about its origin or how it brightened another customer’s day. “The excitement I feel when other people put these clothes on, the smile on their faces, it’s worth a million,” she says. “If that’s what this job is going to be, I’m ecstatic.”
179 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, 651-414-0274, alleemetro.com