A dozen years after first opening in Northeast and opening three more stores in the years after, hip baby store Pacifier has landed in the Twin Cities’ hottest shopping district. After the lease at their Northeast flagship wasn’t renewed, husband-and-wife owners Jon and Wing Witthuhn set about finding a new space, and found it in the North Loop.
The timing was perfect. The Witthuhns had long dreamed about having a larger, more accessible space to accommodate classes and events for families. And with their new North Loop space, they have that, and more—including complimentary parking in the Monte Carlo lot around the corner.
“That was key,” says Wing. “In Northeast, it was all street parking, and I felt so bad for parents trying to find parking with their big minivans, their baby in their stroller, trying to navigate a big snow piles on the curb.”
The area is ripe for the addition of a baby and kids store, thanks to the recent advent of young parents moving into urban areas such as North Loop. It’s also tailor-made for an afternoon out of the house, with a high concentration of stores such as Martin Patrick 3, D.NOLO, Askov Finlayson, and Flirt Boutique located nearby, not to mention the new Bachelor Farmer Cafe, located within walking distance of each other.
At 3,200 square feet, the space is more than three times larger than its other storefronts, which allowed them to incorporate a large play area with a wooden cedar playhouse, plenty of seating for parents, and free wi-fi, as well as complimentary coffee (for the parents) and crackers (for the kids). The store has a strong focus on community-building, and it will offer ABC Yoga classes, free doula chats, and etiquette classes, and the kids can watch cricket feedings for Ella Lizgerald, the resident bearded dragon, every Saturday.
“We want to be a resource and community for parents when they need some time for themselves and to recharge,” says Wing.”Many times when I was home with [my son] Nico, I just needed a place where I could go to take a break for myself, and I didn’t want it to be McDonald’s. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of wanting [Pacifier] to be.”
When it opened in 2004, Pacifier was one of the only alternatives to big-box stores that was “a cool, not cute-sy” place to shop for baby gifts from brands such as SkipHop and Little Unicorn. [“We do all the research and we pick the top two or three products,” explains Wing. “You’re not going Babies R Us and being faced with a whole wall of baby bottles.”] Over the years, they’ve fine tuned their product offerings while staying up to the date with the latest trends in baby gear, thanks largely to feedback from their customers.
Pacifier North Loop’s grand opening is this Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. with events throughout the day, including a diaper derby, a rock-paper-scissors tournament, and meet-and-greets with a “snow queen” and Stormtroopers. Proceeds from ticketed contests will benefit Children’s Home Society & Lutheran Social Services Adoption. And Chef Shack’s food truck will be on hand with their signature Indian-spiced mini donuts from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (or while supplies last). For schedule of events, visit Pacifier’s website.
219 North 2nd St. #102, Minneapolis, 612-623-8123, pacifier.me