After five years of business, Lyn-Lake boutique Showroom has announced it will close at the end of May. The announcement comes with the news that Showroom co-founder and local fashion designer Kimberly Jurek-Valanzasca will open a new retail concept, The Fitting Room, on June 1.
Founded by Jurek-Valanzasca and designer/artist Jennifer Chilstrom in 2013, Showroom has served as an important hub for Minnesota fashion design, selling clothing and accessories by an eclectic mix of local labels, including Jurek-Valanzasca and Chilstrom’s now-defunct line, Kindred Folk. It functioned as a designer cooperative, with each designer paying a portion of the rent to be part of the space.
“It’s become apparent to me since we opened Showroom that the neighborhood is really changing,” Jurek-Valanzasca says of the closing. “I just feel like it’s difficult to support independent retail there, and parking is such an issue.”
Similar to Showroom, Jurek-Valanzasca’s new concept, the Fitting Room, will showcase goods exclusively by local fashion designers, including Jurek-Valanzasca’s new label, Alma Mia, and Showroom alumni, such as Joeleen Torvick, Karen Morris Millinery, Scott J. Lehmann, Gina Mount Jewelry, Tessa Louise, Mandy by Mandy, Vikse Designs, Foat Design, and 3 Jäg Design. In a departure from Showroom’s cooperative model, Jurek-Valanzasca says she will take a more curatorial, hands-on approach to merchandising the store, which will host regular pop-ups and trunk shows. The gallery-white space will feature floating fixtures, a luxe fitting room, green plants, and a colorful mural that she is creating in collaboration with Anna Chambers-Goldberg of local label ACG.
In February, Chilstrom left Showroom to accept a full-time position with the East Side Arts Council, where she plans to continue to work to bring opportunities to local artists and makers. She also serves on the editorial board for City South Magazine and as the new co-exhibitions director for Altered Esthetics gallery, and she continues to create her own artwork, clothing, and textiles out of her studio at Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis, which you can visit during Art-A-Whirl from May 18 to May 20.
“For me, the most profound experiences at Showroom happened at the intersection of art and community,” says Chilstrom. “Over the course of five years, I exhibited the work of over 50 visual artists. Having a space that exposed a community to the arts was important to me, and the many conversations that evolved in reaction to these exhibits were powerful.”
Showroom will host a closing celebration on Saturday, May 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 615 West Lake Street with sips, small bites, live music, and sales throughout the day. This month is also your last chance to grab pieces by Kindred Folk—the brand hosts a closeout sale at Showroom from Tuesday, May 22 and Saturday, May 26. The Fitting Room is slated to open on June 1 at 316 West 38th Street in Minneapolis.
“I feel so grateful that I’ve gotten to know all of these designers,” says Jurek-Valanzasca. “I’ve come to grow as a human and as a designer being a part of this group, and I’m excited for what’s next.”