Biz buzz // Vintage boutique

Former Dayton’s model launches vintage boutique

Tucked way in the back of Coe & Channel Antiques near 27th Street and Hennepin Avenue is a tiny, unassuming clothing boutique run by a former antique dealer who decided to sell her wardrobe.

But anyone with an eye for vintage designers will quickly find its no ordinary wardrobe. And a chat with the boutique’s owner, Sharon Gayle, 68, will reveal just as quickly that she’s done much more than sell antiques.

“I’ve actually been collecting vintage couture since I started modeling for Dayton’s in the early ’60s,” Gayle fondly recalled. “I’m a pack rat and I can’t throw anything away, so I kept a lot of the really nice choice pieces and just found places to store them and kept them put away and then last September when the shop had to downsize, we lost the annex and the lower level so we all had to squish in, I just thought I’m tired of selling antiques. Everybody in the shop has fabulous antiques. I don’t know them that well, but I know vintage designer clothes.”

Gayle, who also worked as a Northwest flight attendant for 45 years, started selling antiques from her travels in 1990. But she promptly left the business after deciding to clear out her closet. Her new venture, Vintage Couture, launched officially in October.  

“It just seemed wrong to keep all these clothes for myself when I know I’m not ever going to wear them again and I want somebody else to enjoy them,” she said.

As a Dayton’s model in the ’60s and ’70s, Gayle regularly showed off what was then the latest designers’ samples to customers. Daytons had trunk shows for every one of its top designers, she said, and she got to wear “some of the best, best, best” items.

“And at the end of the season, the designer’s reps had all these sample clothes, which they couldn’t sell because maybe 15 or 20 different models had worn them at different department stores, so I’d send them my little list and say this is what I’d like and they’d mail it to me and I’d get it for about 25 cents on the dollar,” Gayle said.

In her boutique are dresses, blouses, scarves and variety of other garments from designers Valentino, Ungaro, Lolita, Lempicka, Oscar de la Renta, Donald Brooks, Pauline Trigere, Pucci and others. She also has some clothes she’s purchased and others from her pre-modeling years.

Two of the first items she sold were her first prom dress and her wedding dress.  

“Those were a little bit hard to let go of,” she said.

Prices in the boutique range from $30 for a blouse to $450 for a Donald Brooks skirt and coat from the late ‘60s. Gayle said she’s always willing to bargain, too.

She will buy items and she’s done some consignment deals. She doesn’t have any signage or an online presence yet and she’s not certain how long the business will last, but she’s enjoying it as it is and has had some success. She sold almost a dozen fur coats over the winter.

“It’s something I know and love,” she said.

Gayle can be reached at 763-521-1766 or 612-227-1766.

Hours are the same as Coe & Channel Antiques: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

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Calhoun Cycle expands

Longtime neighborhood bike shop Calhoun Cycle, 3342 Hennepin Ave., recently took over the former Luna Vinca flower shop space next door and is working on an expansion planned to be complete this spring.

Luna Vinca closed its retail store after its focus shifted to floral design for weddings and other events. That opened up a door for Calhoun Cycle, which had been searching for a larger space to accommodate its growth after more than a decade of business.  

“When they moved out it was certainly a golden opportunity for us to expand and not have to move,” said Calhoun Cycle co-owner Luke Breen. “We’ve been slowly growing over the years, but all within the same confines of where we’re at and now it’ll be more than doubling our square footage which is really exciting for us.”

Most of the work is done, Breen said.
A large doorway already exists between the two spaces. The new section will be used for bike accessories and the current store will house the bikes.

Breen said merchandise would be moved to the new space this month and the look should be finalized by April 1. Signage and all the finishing touches should be done by May 1, he said.

The new space is also connected to the neighboring Dunn Bros coffee shop, “which is totally awesome,” Breen said. “I love that.”

Starting May 1, hours will be 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-7p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For more information about Calhoun Cycle, call 827-8000 or go to calhouncycle.com.   

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Mulroy’s Body Shop goes solar

Mulroy’s Body Shop at 3920 Nicollet Ave. will be getting roughly 30 percent of its power from the sun starting this spring.

The shop is the first commercial property taking part in a solar-energy project run by south-Minneapolis-based freEner-g, which offers solar electricity leasing. The company is under contract with Xcel Energy for the project, which involves installing solar panels on 20 residential and five commercial properties in the metro. It is also partialy funded through an Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund grant.

Pat Mulroy, owner and namesake of Mulroy’s Body Shop, agreed to have his facility fitted with 174 five-foot-by-three-foot solar panels. They were delivered this month and will be installed soon.

“This is our first commercial install and it’s pretty exciting because it’s almost 40 kilowatts of capacity, so it’s the largest one we’ve done so far,” said freEner-g CEO Gerardo Ruiz.

Ruiz said the panels are leased at a cost that is less than the value of the electricity being delivered, which Mulroy gets at no additional cost. The lease agreement also includes installation, maintenance and support.

“We’re trying to prove the model of solar service in Xcel territory,” Ruiz said.

For more information about freEner-g, go to freEner-g.com.

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Hollywood Video closes remaining Southwest stores

In the wake of a second bankruptcy filing in three years by parent company Movie Gallery Inc., hundreds of Hollywood Video stores are scheduled to close, including two in Southwest.

Stores at 3252 W. Lake St. and 5315 Lyndale Ave. S. will close with in the next six to eight weeks, said Caroline Stephani, an employee at the Lyndale store. A Hollywood Video at 2112 Hennepin Ave. S. closed several months ago. The only surviving Hollywood Video in the metro is in Roseville, Stephani said.

Inventory at the soon-to-be-closed stores is being liquidated.