Getting personal at the Binder Bar

Russell+Hazel offers unique supplies to organize at work, home and school

Buying back to school supplies doesn’t have to be a hectic endeavor. It can be as simple as going to the bar.

A Linden Hills business offers a solution to the chaos at local department stores by making school and home organization more manageable, and even tailors their products to fit their customers’ lifestyles. Russell+Hazel, located on the corner of West 44th Street and France Avenue South, is a stationary and office store for individuals seeking to better organize their home or school life.

Customers at their new Binder Bar choose from a variety of three-ring binder fillers, such as daily planner sheets or notebook paper. Combine those parts to “custom organize your life exactly how you want it,” store manager Miranda Neils said.

The bar lives up to its name with flavorful nicknames given the signature selection of binders, including Lemon Drop, Grape Ape and Tangerine Dream.

“We come up with silly ideas and we actually execute them,” Neils said.

If countless shelves of multi-colored plastics and fabrics seem overwhelming, customers can download templates from the Russell+Hazel website to brainstorm ideas of what the binders might be used for, such as organizing medical bills and tax information.

The Binder Bar is decorated with a “binder cake” centerpiece, constructed from binders in the shape of a wedding cake, which was hand-made by store staff.

So what is the biggest advantage Russell+Hazel has over a big box store?

“The style,” Neils said. “We think the style of our binders are more high-end and have higher quality so they’ll last longer.

“They’re also really unique. …You can’t get them [just] anywhere.”

One part of that exclusive aspect is self-expression.

“You’re showing your personality by picking your binder color,” she added. “People spend hours in here trying to pick out their binder color.”

She also stressed that while larger retailers such as Target continually replace products and discontinue certain styles, Russell+Hazel continues to build on its existing products.

Apart from the Binder Bar branch of the store, there are several desks scattered throughout their main room, each with its own unique theme.

Customers are invited to sit down at different desks and browse through sample binder covers in materials ranging from linen to patent leather.

One of the themed tables may attract those who strive to be organized in the kitchen. At the recipe table, customers can build their own recipe books — or, if they want, just buy the pre-made set.

Not too far away stands a jar full of pencils, and not just any kind of pencil, but ones with Swarovski crystals on the ends­­ — one of their many high-end accessories.

“This is a great place to come for a gift because literally we can put together anything from $20 to $300,” Neils said.