Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Bean + Ro
The name may have been grand, but it wasn’t quite big enough to encompass all that Grand Frames on Excelsior has become. So Grand Frames is now Bean + Ro, custom framing and gift shop. It’s a play on the maiden names of founder Elissa Kadue and her business partner Katie Miller. They’re hoping a little intrigue will stop more cars on Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park.
It’s been a gradual evolution for Kadue, a photographer whose Little Bean Photography specializes in children’s portraits. She launched Grand Frames next door to her studio in 2011 because—lightbulb!— clients wanted their photos framed. Kadue added grab-and-go gifts: small picture frames, note cards, jewelry, and candles—just to round out the assortment and fill the space. But she quickly realized the opportunity and brought on Miller, who had years of retail experience with Crate & Barrel.
“The gift world tends to be high end or novelty,” Kadue says. “There are a lot of people looking for that girlfriend gift or hostess gift who don’t want to spend $100, but don’t want a gag gift either.”
Kadue and Miller steadily expanded their assortment: monogrammed beach bags and blankets, books, baby gifts—all with a modern-meets-preppy vibe. They’ve been a best-kept secret among women in Edina and south Minneapolis, but now they’re ready for everyone else to know.
As Bean + Ro, they’re delving deeper into personalized gifts and adding stationery and invitations—a business within the business called The Paper Doll.
But custom framing remains important. In fact, Bean + Ro has added design services to help customers create gallery walls at home. They’re gradually bringing in art—especially with a pop-art vibe—because some customers also want help figuring out what should go inside the frame.
“A lot of our growth is client driven,” Miller says. “We have the benefit of being in our customers’ homes, so we know what they want.”