The Galleria is more than a collection of distinctive shops. It is a shopping, dining, social and experiential destination. Visiting the Galleria is much like strolling a European boulevard of tantalizing eateries and alluring shop windows. Specifically, the Galleria is home to many locally owned boutiques that cater to the refined tastes of the local market.
“The Galleria seeks to attract the very best national, regional and local retailers,” says Galleria vice president of retail Luis Serrat. “But our local retailers are nimble enough to offer Galleria shoppers an assortment of hand-selected fabrics and fashions specific to local trends and preferences.”
Edina shopper Kay Lohmann believes the high level of customer service and quality of goods found at the Galleria is unmatched. “Locally owned H.O.B.O. and Epitome have weathered economic downturns and continue to offer some of the most beautiful clothing in the Twin Cities,” she adds. Lohmann appreciates that local Galleria shop owners and their longtime employees know their customers and are committed to serving the community.
First opened in St. Louis Park, Epitome is an original Galleria tenant nearing 50 years in business. Owner Irene Cooperman lives in a condominium above the Westin hotel and walks to work each day. Her shop offers jeans exclusive to Epitome, casualwear, workwear, special-occasion attire, jewelry and sleepwear. A recent expansion includes Epitome Papers, a one-stop shop for gifts, personalized stationery and wedding invitations.
“We carry good lines that people like,” says Cooperman. “Our customers are loyal and we’re having fun. I’m not near ready to retire, because the people I get to work with are too good.”
In business for 40 years, H.O.B.O. has been in the Galleria since the early 1990s. The store’s focus is women’s better casual separates with lots of lightweight cashmere scarves and a bit of jewelry. The goal at H.O.B.O. is to help women feel comfortable while looking good.
Co-owner Jeannie Hughes says, “We listen to our customers and try to find what is best for them. We can go to market and select items with specific clients in mind.”
Nancy Shank opened Dugo in the Galleria in 2006 after years as a dress buyer for Sonnie’s. Dugo’s name is an acronym for “dress up, go out.” “One of the most difficult purchases for a woman is a mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-a-groom dress,” says Shank. “We help women get dressed up!”
Dugo’s offerings begin with mother-of-the -bride dresses but also include dresses for wedding guests or people attending other formal and semi-formal events. The shop also includes belts, jewelry, handbags, sports and outerwear. “We get fashion and how it is interpreted in the Twin Cities,” says Shank. “Women can practically design their own dress at Dugo.”
Pumpz & Company
Shoe and accessory boutique Pumpz & Company, opened in the Galleria in 2000. “When I couldn’t find a multi-branded shoe store, I decided to open one myself,” says owner Marlys Badzin. Pumpz & Company carries a wide variety of top-branded shoes like Tory Burch and Fiorentini + Baker, as well as designer handbags and accessories.
Badzin travels to Milan twice a year in search of new brands and maintain relationships with existing vendors. “I love editing collections and bringing trends to this market in a way that is wearable for our customers,” she says. Pumpz & Company offers shoppers more than 20 brands of shoes in a boutique environment with top-notch customer service.
Owned by the mother-daughter team of Mary Mead and Caryn Kelly, Melly opened in the Galleria in 2006. Kelly loved working for Judith McGrann & Friends while in high school and told her mother she wanted a store of her own. Mead agreed to leave her job in health care to help Kelly for five years. She’s still at Melly seven years later.
“We love building this business,” says Mead. “Our core market is women between the ages of Caryn and myself. We offer unique casualwear but not much denim. Dresses for girls, grandmas and all the women in between are probably our sweet spot.”
Mead echoes other local Galleria shop keepers on the importance of maintaining the uniqueness and diversity of Edina’s local economy. “We use local banks and local suppliers for our bags and office supplies,” says Mead. “We support local charities and fundraising efforts in our community. We love our customers and believe it benefits everyone to shop local.”