Biz buzz // Earth-friendly baby clothes

Earth-friendly baby clothes

Yes, baby clothes can be eco-friendly, too. They’re what Oscar & Belle at 43rd Street and Upton Avenue is all about.   

The company has been online since 2006 and started selling wholesale in 2007, but the Linden Hills shop is founder Anna Gustafson’s first stand-alone store. She calls it Oscar & Belle’s flagship location.

Gustafson used to live in the neighborhood and always thought it would make a good spot for her business if a space became available. That happened when women’s clothing retailer Ensemble closed this year. Gustafson opened her store, named after her grandparents, in the space in May.

The shop sells clothes for every season as well as blankets, bedding, pacifiers, carriers and more. The products are organic and made in an environmentally conscious and ethical way.

Oscar & Belle is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 216-3738 or go to oscarandbelle.com.

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Get your olive oil fix

For those looking to diversify their olive oil and vinegar collections, a new shop at 5006 Xerxes Ave. will soon offer plenty of options to choose from.  

Vinaigrette is the result of Sarah Piepenburg’s lifelong obsession with vinegar and her husband Richard’s affection for olive oil. The Northeast couples’ store, which should be open in early September, will specialize in both products, imported from around the world.

Customers will be able to taste different varieties of vinegar and olive oil from Italy, Spain, Greece, Egypt and elsewhere and purchase their favorites in bottles ranging from 187 ml to 750 ml. Discounted refills will be offered to customers who bring their bottles back in.

The shop is also looking at partnering with local bakeries to provide bread samples with its oil selections and it will feature Olivella hair and skin products.

A soft opening is planned for early September followed by a grand opening later in the month. Hours will be 11 a.m.–7 p.m. daily. For more information, call 922-9192 or go to vinaigrettemn.com.

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Hardware comes to Uptown

Mike Frattallone is pumped about the new Frattallone’s Ace Hardware arriving in Uptown around Halloween.

The 12,000 sq. ft. hardware store is planned for 2733 Hennepin Ave., which used to be a Checker Auto Parts store. Construction has already begun in the space and a grand opening is scheduled for late October or early November. It will be the 15th store in the Frattallone chain.

For years the Frattallone family has wanted a store in Uptown, but it was not until recently that they found an appropriate location and landlord.

"Uptown is a thing of its own; a unique, cool environment," Frattallone said. "We want to be as close to that as possible."

Currently, the closest hardware store is a Frattallone’s Ace Hardware on Nicollet Avenue. Mike said the convenient new location has people very excited.

"The average customer spends 15 bucks in ten minutes," said Mike. "It has to be a convenient location."

The large parking lot will offer quick access and 36,000 products will supply almost any customer’s needs. The store will service high-density customers, with an emphasis on home and apartment living.

Some of the services offered will include window and screen repair, small rental items, glass cutting, pipe cutting, key cutting and much more. The store distinguishes itself from other mega-stores with its customer service.

"If you want to buy a toilet you go to a big-box store, but it you need to fix a toilet, you come to our store. We will actually help you do the project," Frattallone said.

Most of the store’s employees will be local experts who understand the needs of Uptown residents, he said. Frattallone’s brother, Tom, lives nearby and will be at the store often.

Store hours will likely be 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday.