While online shopping continues to grow, some e-commerce retailers are opening brick-and-mortar stores to create more personal, multisensory shopping experiences. Locally, the trend is exemplified by Northeast Minneapolis gift boutique Duke Albert. The shop began as an online store before opening a storefront last summer with a mix of products sourced from around the world, such as leather skulls, porcelain vessels rimmed in 22k gold, and felt bear-shaped rugs. Flotsam + Fork, a Minneapolis-based e-commerce site, plans to open a physical storefront later this year following the success of its holiday pop-ups. The retailer specializes in minimalist home goods and kitchen wares from small, mostly European brands, including handmade knives by a 100-year-old Spanish company and culinary stoneware by a 170-year-old French brand. “While selling online is great for day-to-day, creating a physical space for our shop helped us really connect with our customers and build a Flotsam + Fork experience,” says co-founder Adrianna Fie.
Minneapolis-based Arden Trading Co., known for its selection of home goods and gifts by global artisans, is also exploring ways to give people an in-person shopping experience. The e-retailer has opened a showroom at Minneapolis cooperative space Studio 125, where it offers wholesale services for interior designers and hosts occasional pop-up shops. Upstate MN began as a storefront in Grand Marais, but it got a big boost after a recent month-long pop-up in the North Loop. Buoyed by the response, owner Kristofer Bowman is launching an e-commerce site this spring featuring a stylish selection of industrial-modern goods from international design studios and small makers—and hopes to go full circle by opening a Minneapolis location come fall.