Photo by Caitlin Abrams
AlwaysMod showroom in Golden Valley
It’s liberating to open a store when success doesn’t hinge on whether or not customers show up. You can do something as audacious as building a contemporary design store in a Golden Valley industrial park.
That’s where you’ll find AlwaysMod, the new 4,000-square-foot showroom featuring furniture, lighting, textiles, and home accents. It’s the evolution of FinnStyle, which had a storefront in Minneapolis for more than a decade, but always did 90 percent of its business online as one of the top destinations for Finnish design objects on the Internet.
FinnStyle.com is one of six retail websites run by Ben Horn’s under-the-radar company, Our World Shops. FinnStyle still exists online, but as a store, Horn wanted to add top contemporary brands from around the world, and thought the broader name AlwaysMod.com, a URL he already owned, made sense. Now, AlwaysMod will be the flagship brand for Our World Shops, which moved its warehouse, corporate offices, and storefront to Golden Valley.
The store is open and bright, with a wall of bold Marimekko fabrics, glass tables set with sleek Georg Jensen bowls and Tom Dixon decanters, and Artek Aalto lacquered chairs. Smart Associates, which has done several stores at Galleria, designed the space, and you can’t help but wonder how popular AlwaysMod might be at an upscale mall. But that’s not Horn’s game plan.
“I didn’t do well at Gaviidae, and I don’t really have experience at the malls,” Horn says. “I just know that my rent would be higher, and so would labor costs. There are a lot of benefits to running retail in the same building as our warehouse. I don’t want to lose focus on our online business.”
Yet, he enjoys having that local retail presence in his hometown. “It’s very complementary to the online business,” Horn says. “It would be great if more retail followed us to Golden Valley.”
905 Decatur Ave. N., Golden Valley, 763-746-5600, alwaysmod.com