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Holiday Shopping on the Green Line: A Selection of Locally Owned Shops by Stop

Now that the holiday shopping season is upon us, Metro Transit riders in search of the perfect gifts might hop on a Blue Line train and head out to the Mall of America…or, instead, ride the 11-mile-long Green Line for an adventurous day that includes stops at dozens of locally owned stores. Here are six Green Line neighborhoods and a slew of stores to get you started.
Stop: Target Field
Neighborhood: North Loop
Target Field Station isn’t just for Twins games and Northstar connections. It’s a gateway to the North Loop’s dynamic retail scene: upscale luxury outlets, bargain-rich secondhand stores and everything in between.
Askov Finlayson
Askov Finlayson is a celebration of the North — “inspired by our region’s history of adventure and culture of creativity.” The store, which just moved into a much larger space next to its original location, stocks inimitable (and often locally made) apparel, artwork, home goods, grooming supplies and more. Bonus: Askov Finlayson houses Minnesota’s only Warby Parker showroom to date. Oh, and it’s right next to farm-to-table mecca The Bachelor Farmer, and above craft-cocktail-heaven Marvel Bar. You know what to do: make a day of it.
204 1st St N, Minneapolis
(612) 206-3925
Monday - Saturday 11-7
Sunday 11-5
Martin Patrick 3
Martin Patrick 3 is a one-stop shop for high-end men’s apparel, accessories, home and office goods, grooming supplies and tech aids (cell phone cases and such). Perfect for the man in your life, even (especially?) if that man is you.
212 3rd Ave N #106, Minneapolis
(612) 746-5329
Monday - Saturday 10-8
Sunday 10-6
The Foundry Home Goods
The Foundry Home Goods stocks high-end furniture for every room in the house, plus handcrafted kitchenware, bathware, barware, office accessories, kids’ toys and more. Pretty much everything it sells is available online — so if you forget something in the store, you know where to go. And if you’re not sure what to buy, opt for a gift card in $25 to $100 increments.
125 1st St N, Minneapolis
(612) 333-8484
Monday - Friday 11-7
Saturday - Sunday 11-6
Stop: Nicollet Mall
Neighborhood: Downtown Minneapolis
Nicollet Mall, MSP’s most famous commercial street, is holiday central. This year and next, things will be a bit more subdued on account of a $50 million, two-year reconstruction and redesign project. If you’re willing to dodge earthmovers and barricades, check out these shops near 5th and Nicollet.
J.B. Hudson Jewelers
This Minnesota owned and operated spot is a bit swanky, but also boasts unpretentious staff and plenty of consigned items that won’t put a permanent hole in your wallet. (Check out the antique jewelry and watch collection, too.) If you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship or simply want to remind that special someone that they’ll always be the one, J.B. Hudson should be on your holiday shopping list.
901 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
(612) 338-5950
Monday - Friday 10- 5:30
Saturday 10- 5
Nothing says “holiday cheer” like a big tin of caramel popcorn. Give friends, family and colleagues something to gorge on the entire season with a gift from Candyland, a Minneapolis institution that’s been slinging edible gifts for more than 80 years. If you’re in a rush, call ahead for scheduled pickup.
811 LaSalle Court, Minneapolis
(612) 332-3220
Monday - Saturday 9-9
Sunday 12-6 (holiday season only)
Stop: Raymond Avenue
Neighborhood: St. Anthony Park
Raymond Avenue is the gateway to St. Paul’s burgeoning St. Anthony Park neighborhood and its Creative Enterprise Zone, which boasts an eclectic mix of independently owned retail outlets and vintage stores, funky coffee shops, undiscovered restaurants, hot new breweries, artist lofts and dozens of creative businesses. Fuel up at Workhorse Coffee Bar, shop for an hour or two along Raymond and University Avenues — don’t miss the ever-changing roster of vintage treasures at Succotash (which is celebrating its 20th year) and MidModMen+friends — and then retreat up Hampden Avenue for an adult beverage, with lunch or dinner, at Urban Growler.
How is Purrniture not yet a national institution? It’s certainly required shopping for MSP cat lovers, or at least the furniture-positive subset thereof. Purrniture creates cat trees and play structures hand-fashioned from repurposed materials, but the store also stocks cat toys, catnip and other accessories.
2224 University Ave W, St. Paul
(651) 642-1946
Tuesday - Friday 11-5
Saturday 10-4
Mischief is the second coming — same owners, same space — of Peapod Natural Toys & Baby Care, a beloved North St. Anthony Park children’s store that closed this year after more than a decade and a half in business. The hook is a bit different, though: Mischief is a “toy store for all ages,” say its owners. The store’s selection of kinetic toys, funky clothing accessories, comic book prints and board games supports that claim. If you’re stumped, grab a gift card.
2290 Como Ave, St. Paul
(651) 493-3307
Monday - Friday 11-7
Saturday 10- 6
Sunday 11-4
Barely Brothers Records
The guys who own Barely Brothers Records are actually (not sort of) brothers. Barely Brothers is a “vinyl only” record store, meaning you won’t find any CDs, cassettes or assorted other media here. What the store does have is an incredibly deep selection of hard-to-find records and new releases, plus a staff with combined decades of hard-won musical expertise. The place really rocks on weekends, when local musicians and bands show up for impromptu concerts. If you know a music lover, you need to know Barely Brothers.
783 Raymond Ave, St. Paul
(651) 340-5128
Monday - Saturday 10-8 (Friday close at 9)
Sunday 11- 5
Stops: Fairview Avenue, Snelling Avenue
Neighborhood: Midway
With the pending construction of Minnesota’s first Major League Soccer stadium (in 2018) and the upcoming redevelopment of the 25-acre, Midway Shopping Center (sometime after the stadium opens), St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood looks to get a whole lot busier. Beat the crowds this year at these one-of-a kind shops.
Second Debut2
An upscale Goodwill, Second Debut2 gives the designer and brandname castoffs that land at Goodwill a new lease on life. Basically, it’s a thrift store with a higher purpose. Women’s clothing is the focus, with great deals on watches, jewelry and other accessories.
1825 University Ave W, St. Paul
(651) 645-5048
Monday - Friday 10-6
Saturday 10-6
Sunday Noon-5
Ax-Man Surplus
Ax-Man is a cross between a chaotic swap meet and a covered garage sale. Store management says it best: “We’ve bought and sold scientific, industrial, electronic, and mechanical surplus in the Twin Cities area for 50 years. We also specialize in arts and crafts supplies, tape, failed consumer products, and the bizarre, weird and wonderful. We have a loyal following of local artists, tinkerers, engineers, makers, and freaks and geeks of all styles.”
1635 University Ave W, St. Paul
(651) 646-8653
Monday - Friday 9-7
Saturday 9-6
Sunday Noon-5
Midway Used and Rare Bookstore
Located at Snelling and University, Midway Used and Rare Bookstore — voted best bookstore in the Twin Cities by City Pages back in 2011 — is the place to find used and rare books. Early American classics share shelf space with obscure nonfiction and modern favorites.
1579 University Ave W, St. Paul
(651) 644-7605
Monday - Friday 10-7
Saturday 11-6
Sunday 12-6
Roni’s Professional African Hair Braiding & Supply
Don’t let the small storefront fool you. No matter your taste or budget, Roni’s Professional African Hair Braiding & Supply is a one-stop supermarket for all things beauty. And not just for the head, either: wigs and makeup share shelf space with mani-pedi supplies, skin care tinctures and spa products. There’s a great selection of designer and off-brand handbags and accessories, plus African dolls and clothing. Can’t decide what to get? Buy your loved one an hour with an expert stylist!
1571 University Ave W, St. Paul
(651) 222-0006
Monday - Saturday 10-8
Sunday by appointment only
Stops: Dale Street, Western Avenue
Neighborhood: Frogtown
The arrival of the Green Line sparked a flurry of development in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood. Get off the train at Dale or Western, fill up at Saigon or Pho’ Ca-Dao, and browse the unassuming locally owned shops on this stretch of University Avenue.
Cycles for Change
Cycles for Change (C4C) is a Frogtown institution — a bike shop committed to creating “opportunities to help grow a broad-based, equitable bicycling movement,” in the organization’s own words. In addition to a full lineup of bikes and accessories, C4C offers free bicycle repair, community education classes and more.
712 University Ave W, St. Paul
(651) 222-2080
Monday - Thursday Noon-8
Saturday 10-5
Shuang Hur Oriental Market
Shuang Hur occupies a massive building near the corner of University Avenue and Dale Street. What’s inside more than lives up to the imposing exterior: aisles upon aisles of hard-to-find canned and bagged ingredients, many imported directly from Southeast Asia, and an ample selection of produce and meat not found in your local Cub Foods. If there’s a foodie on your holiday giving list this year, Shuang Hur is the answer.
654 University Ave W, St. Paul
(651) 251-2196
Monday - Saturday 8-8
Sunday 8-7
Salvation Army Thrift Store
Thrifters know this that the Salvation Army Thrift Store is where the Salvation Army’s rubber meets the road. It’s a a great place to find deals on old clothing and accessories — not to mention other odds and ends. Selection swells and peaks before the holidays, so get your shopping done early!
572 University Ave W, St. Paul
(651) 789-0099
Call for hours
Mi Linda Tierra
Mi Linda Tierra is one of the only grocery stores serving Frogtown’s growing Latino/a population. Smaller than Shuang Hur, it’s nevertheless packed to the gills with hard-to-find produce, dry goods, meats (try the unimpeachable chorizo!) and nonperishable ingredients. Edible gifts purchased here might not outlast the holiday season — or the day you purchase them — and that’s definitely a good thing.
461 University Ave W, St. Paul
(651) 222-1105
Monday - Sunday 8-9
Stops: 10th Street, Central
Neighborhood: Downtown St. Paul
Perfectly placed between the hip, funky Lowertown neighborhood and the Seven Corners commercial district, 10th Street offers a great bang for your shopping buck in downtown St. Paul. Once you’ve satiated your appetite for holiday deals here, head over to Tin Whiskers Brewing Company or Bad Weather Brewing and quench your thirst for locally made beer. Both bike-friendly breweries have at least a half-dozen brews on tap at all times, and Bad Weather is close to a slew of eateries on a rapidly developing stretch of West 7th Street.
Wescott Station Antiques
If it’s an antique, Wescott Station probably has it. Wescott has been a favorite of local theater companies and visiting film productions (“Mighty Ducks” and “Grumpy Old Men,” among others) for 30-plus years and remains downtown St. Paul’s go-to for antique lamps, glassware, hanging decorations, sports memorabilia, furniture and much more.
227 7th St W, St. Paul
(651) 227-2469
Monday - Saturday 9:30-6
Capitol Guitars
Independently owned since 2004, Capitol Guitars has an impressive lineup of starter and high-end guitars, basses, amps, effects and accessories — perfect for your favorite music lover —with free shipping anywhere in the continental United States. Or give the gift of guitar lessons!
191 7th St E, St. Paul
(651) 225-8888
Monday - Friday 11-9
Saturday 11-7
Subtext Books
“Read, relax, work, wonder, sip, search, chat, choose,” intones Subtext Books’ signage. Don’t mind if we do. Subtext is a veritable treasure trove of old rarities and popular favorites.
6 5th St W, St. Paul
(651) 493-2791
Monday - Saturday 9-9
Sunday 10-6
Brian Martucci is Innovation and Jobs News Editor for The Line.
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