The word “mall” has been synonymous with Edina ever since Southdale Center, America’s first indoor mall, opened over 70 years ago. But it’s not a word retail leasing director Jennifer Smith would ever use to describe the Galleria.
“That makes me cringe,” Smith says. “I think we created a great outdoor shopping experience with a roof.”
Now Edina Galleria has added 20,000 square feet to the experience with an expansion that opened last fall. Galleria’s 400,000-total square feet are a far cry from a typical mall’s one million. But that’s part of what makes it so special—a well-curated mix of shops and brands.
One of the first stores added in the new expansion, an updated Barnes & Noble complete with its own restaurant, made way for a new light-filled wing with unique offerings.
A new porte cochere-covered grand entrance welcomes shoppers into the new wing that includes Design Within Reach, COV Restaurant and an updated Starbucks location along 69th Street. What ties it all together is thought put into the mixture of stores and the copious amounts of natural light and hallway space the Galleria is known for.
“This has been a process,” Smith says. “We’re looking for a sophisticated and casual mix. That combination has been highly successful for us.”Bringing in local retailers has also remained crucial. “Through the years we’ve brought in unique brands and locally owned retailers that are good at what they do,” says general manager Wendy Eisenberg.
In recent years that formula has brought Vineyard Vines, lululemon, Kate Spade and The North Face, stores geared toward younger shoppers. Local stores and restaurants in the new addition include Roe Wolfe and Big Island Swim & Surf Company.
What shoppers might not notice are that the first brick-and-mortar stores for brands including Design Within Reach and Soft Surroundings are a big get for Galleria and an ingredient to their success. Design Within Reach resides across from Barnes & Noble on the lower level, and is the second-largest in the country.
“Fifty percent of our stores are unique to the market,” Eisenberg says. “I think that’s what makes us so appealing.”
It’s impossible to ignore the fact that brick-and-mortar stores of late have been closing in favor of online shopping. Smith doesn’t see the Galleria as a possible casualty in that retail war.
“At the end of the day our customer wants that customer-service experience and loyalty,” Smith says. “Some predict that at least a third of all malls will go away. I don’t ever see that happening to Galleria.”
While it’s true many millennials enjoy shopping online, Smith and her team still bring in stores to appeal to a younger crowd. “We do want to attract a younger customer but also keep what works for people that have been coming here for many years. It’s been a fine balance,” Smith says.
The balance has been keeping Galleria in high regard among Edina shoppers for years, and they’re hoping to draw in local shoppers for many more years to come.