Rosenthal Interiors’ newly remodeled Warehouse District showroom
Downtown Minneapolis’s oldest furniture store has gotten a major facelift—and a new name. This month, owner Rosie Lebewitz, a fourth-generation member of the Rosenthal-Lebewitz family, has relaunched Rosenthal Furniture as Rosenthal lnteriors. Along with the new name, she’s given the store a six-figure renovation, knocking down the walls to open up the 2,400-square-foot, historic Warehouse District space and transform it into a bright, airy showroom decorated with original works by local artists.
Founded as Rosenthal Furniture Company in 1895 by Aaron Rosenthal and his son, Harold, the business was a pioneer for furniture retail in the Twin Cities and has survived two recessions, light-rail construction, a fire, and a flood. The Rosenthals prided themselves on providing quality furniture at a fair price, before discount furniture store chains became the industry standard.
The cosmetic changes of the revamped business are the result of a larger strategy to shift it from a traditional furniture retailer to a showroom offering full design services and contemporary, high-end designs. The transition initially began in 2009, when Lebewitz started to move the store’s inventory away from lower-cost, made-in-China merchandise to higher-quality lines made in Italy, Norway, and the U.S.
Today, the business claims to offer the largest contemporary furniture selection in the Midwest, with three floors of merchandise from more than 60 brands, including U.S.-made Wiemann beds and Stressless recliners by Norwegian company Ekornes. In the move toward quality over bargains, Rosenthal Interiors’ goods aren’t cheap—a sectional ranges from $2,000 to $11,000, but higher quality means items last four times longer than cheaply made versions.
The concept for the revamped Rosenthal Interiors struck Lebewitz one day when she was driving home through Minnetonka. “There’s every high end car dealer there you can imagine,” she says. “If people are buying those cars, why not high-end furniture? There’s a lot of the same furniture everywhere you can go and it’s boring as could be. People are spending $2,000 a month on rent, yet buying all their furniture at Ikea.”
Instead of focusing on selling inventory, Lebewitz and her staff of professional interior designers work with customers to design and furnish entire rooms at no additional cost. It’s a win-win situation for their clients: Lebewitz says customers save money not only on expensive hourly rates proffered by independent interior designers, they also save on the furniture themselves, since the business is able to pass on discounts to clients who contract Rosenthal Interiors’ services.
“The idea of a one-stop shop for interior design didn’t exist in the Twin Cities,” she says. “We don’t sell furniture, we sell a relationship. My philosophy is, if you’ll build it, they’ll come.”
Lebewitz and her team celebrate the relaunch of Rosenthal Interiors with a party on Thursday, June 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (at 22 N. Fifth St., with hosted parking at Butler Park, 100 N. Sixth St.), featuring cocktails from Twin Spirits Distillery, hors d’oeuvres, music, an in-house adoption event in partnership with Secondhand Hounds, and the unveiling of new furnishings from the 2017 Milano Contemporary Furniture Fair, plus artwork on display by Minnesota artists Sandra Felemovicius, John Gerber, Rita Schaefer-Seaton, Richard Simonson, Emily Quandahl, Allison Luedtke, Toni Dachis, and Clyde Kim. RSVP for yourself and a guest to attend the free event at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rosenthal Interiors, 22 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis, 612-332-4363, rosenthalinteriors.com
by Jahna Peloquin
Image courtesy Rosenthal Interiors