Premier shopping destination welcomes new businesses
As one of the Twin Cities’ most bustling shopping destinations, comings and goings are a constant at 50th & France.
But this summer, maybe even more so than others, has seen an influx of new boutiques. Whether you’re shopping for new threads, designer stationary, home accessories or even just some gelato, there’s something new at 50th & France for you.
Here’s a rundown of the new and relocated shops that have come to 50th & France in recent months:
After a year in business at the Semple Mansion, Antoinette Ramos decided Paperista, her custom stationary and event design boutique, was ready to “graduate” to 50th & France.
Ramos’ decision stemmed from a seemingly unremarkable night on the town. On one of the first warm evenings this spring, she and her husband went out to eat at Mozza Mia and then took a stroll around the 50th & France area. During their walk, she noticed the commercial space at 5023 France Ave. was available for lease.
She called the property manager and scheduled a tour of the space. Two weeks later, a lease was signed, and just a few months later Paperista is the latest boutique to call 50th & France home.
While in Semple, Paperista focused on wedding invitations and stationary designs. But the boutique has expanded its product line along with the move and now offers specialty printing for custom invitations of all sorts, announcements, business cards and personal stationery.
A California native, Ramos said 50th & France “reminds me of home. It’s a place where you can shop, eat dinner, hang out with friends and make a night out of it.”
Room no. 3
Room no. 3, a lingerie boutique that strives to offer shoppers an experience rather than just clothing, is now open at 4948 France Ave. S.
The layout of the store evokes a luxurious bedroom. When entering from France Avenue, shoppers are greeted by a flower-adorned fireplace topped with candles. Nightgowns hang on the wall across from a plush couch. A large mirror sits on top of a dresser next to the fireplace, with whitewashed wood floors leading to the back of the store.
In the back, a wide variety of women’s lingerie and nightwear hangs along the wall, giving one the impression they are perusing someone’s closet rather than shopping at a store.
Lingerie isn’t the only thing for sale at Room no. 3. Shoppers can purchase the vases, rugs, throws and homewares that give the boutique such a homey, comfortable feel. The space can also be rented for events, including photo shoots and bachelorette parties.
Co-owners Beth Griesgraber and Jessica Strong both worked in retail at 50th & France prior to teaming up and opening Room no. 3. Griesgraber said the area feels like home, and once she and Strong began talking about starting their own business, there was little consideration given to opening anywhere else.
Even though they’re familiar with the area, Griesgraber said she’s been surprised by how brisk business has been since Room no. 3 opened in early July.
“It’s really exciting — this place is such a great shopping destination,” she said. “To be open a month and have the reaction we’ve gotten is such a compliment.”
On Aug. 11, Drama is moving to where its shoppers already are.
The women’s fashion boutique — specializing in locally, nationally and internationally designed premium denim and feminine dresses and tops at reasonable price-points ($60-$125) — has done a brisk business during its two years off Lagoon Avenue in Uptown.
But when the opportunity to relocate to 4946 France Ave. presented itself early this summer, managing owner Courtney Smallbeck said it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up, especially since many of her customers already travel from Fulton or Edina to her store.
Smallbeck said paying for a commercial space at 50th & France is much more expensive than Uptown, but is confident the higher volume of foot-traffic and boutique shoppers near her store’s new home will more than compensate for increased rent costs.
“We just love the energy of that area, and it’s much more focused on shopping than Uptown is,” she said. “We also love the company we’ll be keeping, all the boutiques that are there. I’m excited to join them.”
Jeanne Riha has opened a new treat and gift shop called Pandolfi behind Steele Fitness near the Mozza Mia patio and Spalon Montage at 3904 W. 50th St.
One of the star attractions is Palazzolo, artisan gelato and sorbetto that comes in flavors like Swiss chocolate and banana caramel.
Riha also sells chocolates from Kingfield’s Patisserie 46, a wide variety of other candies and a range of gifts.
“Pandolfi is an authentic old-fashioned candy store, but with world-famous Palazzolo’s gelato and everything else sweet, too,” she said.
Of course, 50th & France is about more than boutique shops and treats.
Heinrich+Schultz, an interior design studio that also sells art, lamps, and other home accessories, recently relocated to 5047 France Ave. after more than seven years on the 5400 block of France Ave.
And two new salons have opened in the area since last spring. Serving both men and women, Tribeca Salon opened earlier this year at 3811 W. 50th St. In June, Bespoke Hair Artisans opened down the street at 3918 W. 49½ St. The salon offers hair, skin and body Services and luxury product brands.
Reach Aaron Rupar at [email protected]