Even the savviest of shoppers will be surprised by something at Corazon, a fresh new boutique in the North Loop neighborhood. The bright and heartwarming shop (204 Washington Ave. N., Mpls., 612-333-1662) comes from former Bibelot buyer Susan Zdon. Since college, she’s wanted to blend the best of a retail store with the appeal of a local art gallery. Though warned she’d starve to death because artists wouldn’t be able to produce items fast enough, Zdon thought her concept would be very circular: She’d have a rotating crop of fresh merchandise—and artists would have a venue where their works could be sold. Plus, customers would get a place to find something different and learn more about art.
“Even though I’m a shopper, I find galleries intimidating,” she says. “Here, people can come in and not know anything about art, ask questions, and not be perceived as unintelligent.”
Corazon falls somewhere between a gallery and the Sundance catalog. Paintings hang on brick walls, displays show off handmade pottery and jewelry, and gifts, homewares, cards, and clothes are scattered about the store.
More than a third of the goods are made locally—there’s an entire rack of homegrown bath and body products, such as Sundries of St. Paul, Baby Basics, and Earth Sense Ltd. Zdon knows the story and artist behind every book, earring, and bar of soap—some items are made by disabled artists—and everything in the store is attractive, albeit unusual. Coming soon are mittens and hats made from recycled cashmere sweaters, and purses made from tires. In case shoppers want more, Zdon holds seminars, exhibitions, and children’s art classes in the back of her converted warehouse shop.