Biz buzz // Resale shop opens on 54th and Nicollet

Allison Bross has always wanted to open her own clothing store. But she also saw a need for more local options where shoppers can recycle their used clothing and find gems, instead of dumping it into a landfill.

“It’s better for the environment and it’s better for people saving money,” Bross said.

Bross, a merchandise specialist for Target Corp., opened a new resale store that offers vintage and designer clothing and basics. The store is called b. (a resale shop) and opened June 24 at 5456 Nicollet Ave., where Nine Maternity Clothing Consignment used to be.

The shop will also sell CounterCouture, a local fashion brand that transforms bridesmaid’s gowns into upscale dresses.

b. is open 1–9 p.m., Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturdays; and noon–5 p.m., Sundays. The store pays 35 percent of retail price in cash or 50 percent in store credit.


New brewery opening this fall

Linden Hills neighbors know what Jason Sowards’ home-brewed beer tastes like. As they make their way to Lake Harriet, they frequently pass his 44th Street home and look into his open garage doors to discover their neighbor has a batch brewing.    

“Sometimes I will have 15 or 20 people of a random nature, hanging out, drinking my beers and having a good time,” Sowards said. “And doing that enough times gets people saying ‘well, can I buy some beer off of you?’ And since I can’t sell it, I end up giving a lot of beer away.”

That will change this fall, as Sowards plans to open his own microbrewery, Harriet Brewing, on Minnehaha Avenue and E. Lake Street. Moving to a large facility will allow Sowards to get the proper certification to sell his beer.

But Sowards, 29, isn’t banking strictly on his neighborhood popularity. He also has the technical experience to design and build his own brewery. He’s a laid-off chemical engineer who, in order to graduate from the University of Cincinnati, was required to brew his own beer as part of his chemical engineering degree.

Sowards has spent the last couple years brewing from his garage and refining recipes — a process that he said was expedited after he was laid off.

If plans go accordingly, he will begin selling a pilsner and an India Pale Ale by the end of the year. He plans to continuously brew the pilsner and IPA, but will also rotate in specialty brews throughout the year.

Sowards also wants to put his engineering skills to use by making his brewery as sustainable as possible. He plans to use technology to recycle wastewater and reduce energy consumption.


Intoto closing after 20 years

Intoto boutique, 3105 Hennepin, will close this summer after 20 years in Uptown, co-owner Mike Pickart said.

Pickart and Karen Heithoff have owned the clothing store since its beginning, he said, but the business partners now plan to retire. Pickart said Heithoff owns the building and plans to put it up for sale.

Pickart and Heithoff also operate the Flagship Sportshop in the Flagship Athletic Club in Eden Prairie. Pickart said they would not renew that lease.

Intoto could be closed by the end of July, Pickart said, depending on how long the store’s remaining stock lasts. In the meantime, summer clothing will be on clearance for 40- to 80- percent off.

Intoto was voted best men’s clothing store in 2009 by Southwest Journal readers. The store also sells women’s clothing and accessories.
n’etc. moving to its own home

After 20 years inside the Grethen House, women’s specialty boutique n’etc. is moving just down the road to 5005 France Ave. S. in order to expand its offering and to cast a spotlight on the shop’s unique selection of accessories.

Longtime owner Nancy Heidman partnered with Veronica Clark to open the new boutique on June 5. The 1,500-square-foot space is the former home to Stephanie’s boutique, which still operates out of its St. Paul location.

The boutique will continue its tradition of selling high-quality, handcrafted accessories such as shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves, belts and home accents. But Clark said moving to the new location will allow the boutique to not only add more accessories, but also begin offering apparel.  

“We’re working very hard at providing a specialty boutique that is inviting and warm — a place that you can spend a lot of time looking,” Clark said.  

For Clark, the opening of the boutique is the culmination of 20 years of experience in the fashion industry that began when she worked in retail as a 15-year-old. She’s worked as a buyer, product developer, wholesaler, distributor, personal shopper and wardrobe consultant.   

“This was really the end goal for me,” Clark said. “I’ve always wanted to have my own store.”

Heidman, Clark said, has great connections with European vendors and can buy unique, high quality merchandise.

While the store sells high-priced accessories and apparel, it also offers lower-priced items as well, Clark said.

n’etc. is open 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.Monday through Friday and 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays.


Old Chicago property sells for $2 million

A group of local investors has purchased the Old Chicago restaurant property at 2841 Hennepin Ave. for $2 million.

The investment group, called 2841 Hennepin LLC, bought the property in May and is looking into development options.

Old Chicago is still profitable and has more than four years left on its lease, said general manager Brad Bridwell. He said he expects to continue operations for at least that long.

“If the real estate industry turns around, if the market turns around, if we come out of the recession, you never know,” Bridwell said. “We could be around for a long time or four-and-a-half years might be our best run, but we’ve been here for 15 years and we’re pretty proud of what we’ve done up to this point.”


New coffee bar in Calhoun Square

Bull Run Roasting is known for experienced baristas who brew one cup of a coffee at a time from the company’s coffee bar in Rustica Bakery.

That tradition will continue, said owner Greg Hoyt. What will change, however, is that the coffee roasting company will soon expand to open its second coffee bar.

The Bull Run Coffee Bar will open early this fall in Calhoun Square, taking the space once occupied by another coffee shop, Starbucks.

Hoyt said he likes the space because of the recent renovation and revitalization of Calhoun Square.

“The renovation there, as I see it, has created a marvelous new opportunity in Uptown and we just love what’s going on there,” Hoyt said.

Bull Run will continue to roast from its St. Louis Park location. It will also maintain its bar in Rustica, 3220 W. Lake St. The new bar will sell Rustica’s baked goods, continuing a strong partnership, Hoyt said.

“It’s a relationship that works nicely,” he said.

Bull Run coffee is sold in grocery stores and local restaurants and can be purchased online at

Hoyt said it was too early for details on what the space will look like, but did say that Shea Inc., would be doing the interior design and that it would be “pretty unusual and very spectacular.”