Photographs by Caitlin Abrams
Dugo at the Galleria in Edina
In a decade of business at Galleria, Dugo has established a reputation as a destination for high-fashion mother-of-the-bride dresses. It’s a distinction owner Nancy Shank takes seriously—always running the latest designer trends through the filter of a mature (never matronly!) woman’s preferences for sleeves and forgiving fit. But apparently, shoppers are dressing up and going out for more than milestone events: Shank says special occasion dresses make up only about 30 percent of her sales.
That other 70 percent is on full display in Dugo’s new storefront at Galleria. Shank snapped up the space next to hers when Pendleton left the mall. She stripped away a stockroom to reveal big windows that give the store a bright, contemporary feel. New additions Trina Turk, Nicole Miller, and Eleventy are front and center to attract a younger shopper. Shank is also amping up the accessories—jewelry by French Kande, Alexis Bittar, and local designer Laurie Leuhmann. That plays to Galleria loyalists still missing accessories store StyledLife, just like some of her newer dress lines were favorites at another past boutique, Arafina.
Shank is moving Dugo forward, while being careful not to burn the bridge that brought her here. Retail is in her blood—Shank’s parents manufactured children’s clothes; her mom taught her to sew, which instilled in her the importance of fit. She worked for some of the Twin Cities’ most iconic stores, including Harold and Mainstreet Outfitters. It was at Sonnie’s that Shank says she first heard that all-too-common refrain from women: “I’m not a teen, I’m not a grandma. I need something I can actually wear.”
Shank followed longtime local retailer Ed Holmberg on New York buying trips and observed how he would zero in on a dress and proclaim, “I’ll take it in red, in a 6.”
Why red? Why a 6? she asked. “Because it looks like a red 6,” he told her. To this day, Shank says she channels that decisiveness when selecting styles for her store.
“I love what I do because I feel like it can be a solution,” Shank says. “Besides, I get to have beautiful things around me every day.”