After 33 years of business, Uptown retail fixture Local Motion is closing. Owner Barbara Heinrich announced today that she is retiring from the brick-and-mortar business and closing her storefront at the end of April. The entrepreneur and designer, who also designs her own line of women’s clothing and jewelry, made the announcement via an email newsletter to her customers.
“Things changed,” Heinrich explained during a phone call. “We’re new grandparents, which is keeping us busy. Plus, I want to have more time to do with I love—sewing and making jewelry.”
Heinrich says this isn’t the last you’ll hear of her—she plans to continue to sell her wares at pop-up sales around town, like the ones she’s done with Minneapolis Craft Market and at the Northrup King Building, and organize events with other local designers. “I feel like those are the kind of people I want to hang out with and I feel like I belong,” she says, “because you can go a little bit more artsy, and that’s the direction I want to go. Plus, you’re not waiting for them to walk in the door seven days a week.”
Heinrich got her start in retail and fashion design back in the 1980s, after graduating from art school. She was attracted to the vibrant local fashion community because she’d always sewn clothes, loved textile design, and “figured it was pretty hard to sell art.” Under her then-label Barbie’s Designs, she joined with a group of other local designers to form the Warehouse Club, a designer co-op, whose later members included Laine Weinberg, the longtime designer of Kokoon. “We did some crazy fashion shows at First Avenue,” she says, recalling iconic local hairstylist Jon Oulman hanging someone upside down and cutting their hair live on-stage. (“It was a little punk rock,” she quips.)
After the co-op dissolved five years later, Heinrich decided to open her own boutique—Local Motion—on Hennepin Avenue. The area would soon become a destination for unique, locally owned fashion boutiques, such as Intoto, Ivy, Lava Lounge, Tatters, and Bay Street Shoes, all of which have since shuttered. But Local Motion kept thriving, which Heinrich credits to her dedicated clientele.
Heinrich’s store was one of the first Twin Cities stores to carry local designers, such as Kokoon, before it became hip. While she’d later stock fashions by small designer labels from the east and west coasts, local fashion has always been the bedrock of Local Motion.
The closing comes at time during which Uptown’s retail landscape has shifted drastically. A trendy boutique hotel, slick new residential developments, and big-name retailers now dominate the area. “I wish there were more small retailers like myself,” Heinrich says. “I saw it as a downfall of Uptown when Apple, Columbia, H&M and Victoria’s Secret took over those corners. What makes Uptown unique back in the day was all of the small boutiques. I’m lucky to have maintained a great clientele—they’ve kept me in business. But I can’t say I’m in love with the direction Uptown is going. I applaud anyone that’s new and trying to make it happen.”
A final celebration at the store is planned for Saturday, April 28 from 5-10 p.m. before it closes its doors. That being said, this might not be the end of Local Motion for good—Heinrich says she is open to offers from customers to buy the business from her.
@ 2813 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, localmotionmpls.com