Third Haus aims to shape the future of retail

Third Haus
Third Haus co-founders Anne Mezzenga and Chris Walton inside their new space for retail coworking, networking and education in Linden Hills. Photo by Andrew Hazzard

In a Linden Hills strip mall, the future of retail is being imagined.

Part co-working space, part retail practice field and part content studio, Third Haus is aiming to be a unique venue for collaboration and networking.

“It’s ground zero for retail thought leadership in Minneapolis,” said co-founder Chris Walton.

Walton and co-founder Anne Mezzenga met while on the Store of the Future project at Target, and while they’ve left the bullseye behind, ideas about the retail industry have never been far from their minds. The pair run Red Archer Retail, a firm that specializes in innovative retail strategy.

At Third Haus, they’ve created a physical home for Red Archer and what they hope will become a hub for new retail education, strategies and partnerships. The Mall of America has donated 100 coworking memberships to area retailers, Walton said, in hopes they can learn ways to evolve in the rapidly changing retail industry.

“The networking effects are huge,” Mezzenga said.

The building also serves as the headquarters for Xenia Retail.

Right now, Xenia Retail has laid out a mock store in the “lab” area with displays of clothing and accessories on mannequins. They are demonstrating a “scan and go” retail model, where customers would simply scan a clothing item with a payment application on their phone and leave without going to a register.

In a studio, creative director Bill Roden and adventure photographer Andy Anderson are recording an episode of their new podcast, “The Tailgate,” which focuses on bridging the divide in marketing between mainstream outdoor retailers like Patagonia and The North Face and their hunting and fishing brand counterparts.

“It’s just a creative space,” Roden said. “You get ideas here.”

Walton has been writing and talking about retail for years via his blog OmniTalk and in news outlets such as Forbes. He and Mezzenga co-host an OmniTalk podcast, which records in the Third Haus studio.

Among the unique features at Third Haus is a Mamava lactation pod — a small, private space where women can pump breast milk on-site.

There are three levels of membership at the coworking space: full-access office space during the week for $200 per month; a $60 per month events membership, with access to speakers and demonstrations; and a $15 per month community membership for networking events.

Mezzenga is a partial owner of two other businesses in the strip mall at 44th & Drew: CrossFit Linden Hills, which she co-owns with her husband, Logan Bautch, and AQ Fit Lab, an interval training gym she and Bautch own along with Mark and Tim FunkMeyer. (A coworking membership at Third Haus gets people discounts on workouts.)

Third Haus
4420 Drew Ave. S.

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