Stay in the Loop

Shopping in Minneapolis: An Insider’s Guide to the Best Hidden Spots

Photo: Courtesy of Askov Finlayson Askov Finlayson

Take, for example, Askov Finlayson, co-founded by Eric and Andrew Dayton, sons of Minnesota governor Mark Dayton, whose retailing family pioneered Target. Located in downtown Minneapolis’s North Loop neighborhood, the shop was originally launched in 2011 as a men’s outdoor clothing mecca that empowered Minnesotans to embrace their cold winters. It’s since become the face of the North movement.

The Dayton brothers, who also run a hidden bar below Askov Finlayson and a less hidden restaurant next door, are constantly innovating. Case in point: They recently decided to go all-in on their shop’s mission to #KeepTheNorthCold. Starting this year, the store will measure its annual carbon footprint—including for the production of its namesake items, like it’s Minnesota-made North stocking caps—and give 110 percent of that cost to organizations combatting climate change. Meanwhile, Eric is the founder of the retail-related Skyway Avoidance Society (long story; read this), which shoppers can ask to join at Askov Finlayson’s register.

Photo: Courtesy of Wilson and Willy’s Neighborhood Goods Wilson & Willy’s Neighbor Goods

Given Askov Finlayson’s forward-thinking, it probably comes as no surprise that the store collaborates on products with other Minnesota brands—think Frost River wax canvas bags from Duluth and Sanborn Canoe Co. paddles from Winona. This is also the DNA of the shop’s North Loop neighbor Wilson & Willy’s Neighbor Goods. The brainchild of John Mooty, the son of the CEO of Faribault Woolen Mill (its wool blankets are ubiquitous in chic shops across the country), Wilson & Willy’s is a modern day general store that sells everything from home goods to men’s and women’s clothing made in partnership with small manufacturers. Many of the Minnesota collaborations are available only at the store, including Duluth Pack laptop bags made in Duluth, and, of course, a special Faribault wool blanket.

Golden Rule is a lifestyle boutique.

Golden Rule is a lifestyle boutique [Excelsior].

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Rule