Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Scarborough Fair, the medieval canticle turned Simon & Garfunkel hit, speaks of impossible tasks—not entirely unlike getting people to an under-the-radar boutique on a quiet stretch of West Seventh Street in St. Paul.
But Katheryn “Kat” Menaged follows her passion. She knew if she opened a store that connected with women—about everything from spirituality to finding cool clothes that fit curves—they would come. Even if it wasn’t on Grand Avenue.
Scarborough Fair, the boutique, is located in the corner of a renovated building that’s been home to every-thing from a salon to a porn shop. The windows are big, the ceilings are high, the angles are odd. Menaged used a beam that could not be removed from the middle of the selling floor to prop up a fantastical tree she had made for the shop. Ornaments and lights dangle from its twisting branches creating a mystical aura that warms the space.
If stores were celebrities, Scarborough Fair would be Stevie Nicks—from the religious medallion jewelry by Virgins Saints & Angels to bejeweled collectible bags by Mary Frances to the romantic, Bohemian dresses actually designed to fit women who were alive when Simon & Garfunkel was on the radio. Menaged, 54, counts herself among them.
“I stopped drinking and smoking, gained 40 pounds, and didn’t want to live in sweats,” she admits. One of the biggest draws to Scarborough Fair is vintage-inspired fashion in plus sizes, from hard-to-find lines such as Chalet and Nataya.
Clothes were almost an afterthought when Menaged first opened. She envisions her store as more gallery than apparel boutique. But with more than a year under her belt, she’s becoming more focused on what sells.
Slowly but surely, Scarborough Fair is establishing its clientele and becoming known for specialties such as women’s hats. The store currently features three local milliners offering a wide variety of styles.
There’s also jewelry and scarves from local artisans, and the occasional owl figurine. Because Menaged loves owls.
“It’s a constant examination,” says Menaged, who spent most of her career in product design and merchandising. “This is more about passion than making money, but I’m an entrepreneur. I don’t want to fail.”
Mark your calendar for February 11 to 14, Scarborough Fair’s annual Everything on Sale sale.
961 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-224-4182, scarboroughfairshop.com