Since its mid-May debut, Parc Boutique ( 328 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-353-4966 ) has drawn in streams of curious passersby. Awaiting behind its windows they find an exciting mix—affordable men’s and women’s apparel and accessories ranging from casual-chic to night-on-the-town cool.
Housed in an old bank building on East Hennepin, it’s a place where mom and daughter or boyfriend and girlfriend can shop together comfortably, each finding something fashion-forward to augment their wardrobes. It’s hard not to love the distinctive décor. A picnic table piled high with soft, on-trend tees; a custom painting of Parc’s logo accented by trees and butterflies; and a shiny vintage Vespa all help create the inviting, day-in-the-park theme—coolly countered by a low-hanging crystal chandelier, rich teal walls, and breezy green curtains. It’s a chic city space that’s upscale without being intimidating. “I wanted to make sure it was comfortable,” says owner Thao Bui. “Sometimes I walk into stores that are so stark, and I feel really weird moving things. You can shift the racks around in my store and I’m not going to be mad. I want people to try things on.”
Bui, twenty-five, is hardly a retail veteran, but her love of stylish clothing, degree in retail merchandising, and work experience as an intern at Nordstrom and an analyst at Gap led the Minneapolis native to follow her dream and open a shop of her own. Many fashionistas would envy her job: She travels several times a year to trade shows in New York, LA, Las Vegas, and Chicago—scouting trends and the hottest pieces for coming seasons. Bui’s mix of both recognizable designers (C&C California, James Perse, Ben Sherman, 7 Diamonds) and hard-to-find brands (Voom by Joy Han, Hazel, MM Couture) makes her store unique to not just Northeast, but the Twin Cities.
Take a stroll through Parc to see why Bui’s eager for fall: Turtleneck dresses, colorful scarves, cropped jackets, and high-waisted jeans line the walls for women, while funky vests, cardigans, and screen-printed button-ups are on display for men.