photos by tj turner
A long-vacant storefront on Central Avenue in northeast Minneapolis now blooms with modern-bohemian style. The new Urban Violet adds a welcome shabby-chic twist to the growing wealth of retail offerings in the area, including Parc, gh2, Pacifier, Bibelot, and Mona Williams. It’s the second location for the women’s clothing and accessories retailer, which was first opened in Stillwater in 2012 by the mother-daughter team of Laura and Jessamine Elkington.
The space features a highly stylized look: It’s beautifully decorated with an eclectic mix of custom-made and upcycled-vintage fixtures that pair nicely with the tall, exposed ceilings and raw-brick walls. Jessamine says that the pair spent years looking for the perfect historic site in the Twin Cities before falling in love with 513 Central Avenue.
The pair was drawn to the historical aspect of the space, including the large windows that bring in plenty of natural light as well as the brick walls, which add warmth. They designed the boutique with a mixture of industrial, antique, and contemporary pieces, while making sure the integrity of the original space would not be compromised.
Similarly, the store’s merchandise toes the line between modern and classic with an emphasis on texture and layering—think chunky, oversized knits; edgy, architectural vests; shredded boyfriend jeans; and swingy, lace-trimmed tops. The owners eschew popular name brands in favor of lesser-known yet quality, affordable pieces the pair hand-select. “It’s more about the look and fabric of the pieces than the labels,” says Jessamine.