Len Druskin to Leave Galleria for Southdale

The longtime Galleria tenant moves to a smaller storefront across the street—and returns to its roots as a premium-brand store

After 24 years at Galleria, Len Druskin is on the move. In a letter published by owner Michael Druskin on the retailer’s website this morning, it was revealed that the store would be relocating its flagship location from the Edina shopper center to a smaller storefront across the street at Southdale.

“Filling 10,000 plus square feet and curating it with all premium product was a challenge that proved too daunting,” Druskin explains in the letter. “We heard from many of you that the changes we made at Galleria took away from what you believed was our flagship brand.”

The new Southdale store will be about the same size as its first two, smaller locations—at 50th & France that opened in 1976, and its first Galleria location, which followed in 1992.

With the change in location also comes a change in merchandise. With less square footage to work with, the company has taken a more curated approach to its selection. While its Galleria store blended its premium brands with the more value-priced offerings of its sister store, Len, the new location focuses on the premium goods and denim selection it was originally known for. It will also introduce dozens of new labels: New additions include Tularosa, 3×1, One Teaspoon, and the Jetset Diaries for women, and Benson, Zachary Prell, and Southern Tide for men. Many Len Druskin favorites—such as Michael Stars, Bailey44, Citizens of Humanity, Relwen, Billy Reid, and AC Jeans—will make the move to the Southdale location.

Fans of Len needn’t fret—the concept will keep its locations at Rosedale, Ridgedale, Mall of America, and City Center, as well as Southdale, where it will neighbor the new Len Druskin flagship.

So why not find a smaller space at the Galleria? I asked Druskin. “When you choose a space as a retailer, there are so many factors that go into it,” Druskin responds. “Based on the choices and timing and options available, this was a natural option more than anything because it’s next door to our Len stores. We’ll be able to tell our stories completely, and tell them right next door to each other. And we have so many customers who like to shop both concepts, so this way we can give them both experiences. Galleria has been an amazing tenant to work with, but this just makes the most sense.”

“We are returning to our roots,” Druskin says. “I am really excited about having the opportunity to bring back the original Len Druskin, all-premium concept.”

In other Galleria news, Russell+Hazel, California Closets, Epitome, and Epitome Papers closed earlier this year. (Free People is taking over both Epitome spots.) Since Houston-based Hines Global REIT, Inc. bought Galleria from previous owners Gabbert & Beck in mid-2012, there have been a number of store openings and closings. Last year, locally owned upscale fixture store Brass Handle closed and was replaced by Robert Redford’s Sundance clothing store. Between the years 2013 and 2014, local shops Arafina, Three Rooms, Whymsy, and Pappagallo closed, with national chains Kate Spade, Blue Mercury, North Face, Lululemon, J. McLaughlin, David Yurman, and Allen Edmonds opening in their place. Galleria general property manager Jerry Cohen attributes these closings in part to tenants choosing not to renew their leases after hitting the ten-year mark, adding, “We need to stay relevant to our shoppers and drive traffic.”

While the focus seems to be on bringing in big-name national, local retailers are still on board with Galleria: H.O.B.O. just completed a renovation, Pumpz just celebrated a year at its new, larger storefront, and Ampersand, Melly, Dugo, Art Resources, Twill, and Scheherazade Jewelers recently renewed their leases. Additionally, Dugo will move into the just-closed Pendleton store, while Origins is moving into the Russell+Hazel space. Cohen says that at the end of 2015, the center was at 98 percent capacity.

Len Druskin’s Galleria location closes at the end of the business day on Saturday, February 6, and opens at Southdale on Tuesday, February 9, at noon.