All photos courtesy Scout
The name Scout comes from one part outdoors and north woods, one part military surplus, and one part nostalgia from Boy Scouts. Make no mistake, though. The handsome apparel and gifts boutique that opened this month in St. Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood isn’t exclusively a men’s store. Partners and store co-owners John Migala and Ben Thompson know there are definitely things they have yet to learn about Scout, but they do know that.
Migala and Thompson decided the aesthetic, catalog, and direction of the store together. When it comes to the goods, Migala’s safer inclinations as a past buyer balance out Thompson’s adventurous side, but when it came to the store’s core beliefs, there was no question: Their store had to uphold planet positivity and an inclusive space that emphasized on gender neutrality.
“What do we believe as a small business owner that everyone should be doing?” Migala says, reflecting on Scout’s identity. “When I was looking into brands when I was initially thinking about opening a store, I was finding all these brands that were doing really cool things for the environment or that were socially positive, so we’re switching to the phrase trying to be ‘planet positive.’”
At Scout, you can just as easily find local or national artists, a shirt made out of recycled cotton, or something by environmentally focused Ten Tree, which plants 10 trees for every item bought and gives you a token with the coordinates of them. While Migala had previously done solo vintage pop-ups, with Scout, he wanted to create an inclusive environment with both new and used clothing items because that’s how he sees himself and those around him shop more and more.
Migala and Thompson started Scout because after moving to St. Paul from the west side of the Twin Cities last May, they wanted to get involved in the community more—talk about overachieving. In reality, Migala had wanted to open a clothing store for a while, and so when the two got inspired by the neighborhood, they decided to take the dive.
Migala handles a lot of the day-to-day operations with more than 20 years of retail, sales, buying, and product design experience behind him, and Thompson brings his creative background to a lot of the digital and marketing front. Both still have other full-time jobs, so for now, their store is running on passion, overtime work, and people who also believe in what Scout can become.
“We’re just really excited to be in the neighborhood and to be a part of what’s happening on West Seventh,” Migala says. “We can’t wait to meet the neighbors and do things with the neighbors. We want to do events, and we want to kind of get people interested in hanging out in that specific little area, both people that live there but also people that live outside of West Seventh.”
Three Items to Check Out
Good and Well Supply Co. Candles: Each candle scent is after a park, and the company donates 5 percent of all profits to the National Parks Foundation. Migala says Yellowstone is the most popular so far—he suspects it has something to do with Minnesotans’ love of pine.
Jumping Fox Tee: St. Paul artist Tou Yia Xiong’s fox has already been quite popular. While it doesn’t hurt that the fox echoes the store’s logo, I think it’s safe to assume that most people picking up the shirt love it most for its forest whimsy.
Resist Tee: With a white ink chain and the word “resist” emblazoned on a simple black T-shirt, what more is there to say? The design is by MNKR, based in Los Angeles, and much of the line is what Migala considers “a little political, a little irreverent.”
Scout, 327 Seventh St. W., St. Paul, 651-493-8276, scoustyleshop.com