Online-only no more: CircleRock opens a store on 44th St. in southwest Minneapolis.
In the year since Paul Grangaard launched CircleRock, an online-only line of fine men’s clothing, the former Allen Edmonds CEO and turnaround specialist says he learned a lot about today’s retail landscape. The biggest lesson: people want to see and feel things, especially if you’re claiming to offer luxe products at more affordable prices.
Enter, the CircleRock House of Style, a brick-and-mortar boutique that opened in early September in southwest Minneapolis in the Linden Hills neighborhood. Grangaard said he and his management-investment team determined that the online-only approach made it difficult to stand out from the crowd. The Made in USA brand’s focal point is made-to-order suits under $1,000. It also sells custom dress shirts for under $125 and sports coats for under $700 as well as belts and other accessories.
But Grangaard said CircleRock lacked “iconic” products. And instead of a website featuring 30-minute videos of well-dressed men discussing leadership principles, CircleRock needed influencers and an Instagram following.
“We’re reacting to learnings quickly and aggressively,” said Grangaard, a former investment banker who chose retailing over retirement at the age of 60.
The store occupies the red-and-white converted home on 44th Street previously inhabited by Lily and Violet, a women’s boutique that closed in April after 14 years. Among those iconic offerings are a series of tailored vests suitable for the office and a knitted European style sports coat that bridges the wardrobe line between a sweater and a jacket. Yes, a swacket.
“Business casual is very confusing for most men,” Grangaard said. “We’re offering a way for men to up their game with superior quality and excellent value.”
Grangaard envisions building a social community for his Edina-based lifestyle brand. Along with style tips, the website offers career advice and ruminations on ways to improve civic life.
The CircleRock House of Style store aims to follow through on those ideals, Grangaard said. It will have an on-site tailor, after-hours appointments, a backyard beer garden and special events including a night with bartender Trish Gavin on how to make the perfect Moscow mule, a workshop on how to avoid fashion faux pas and a talk by Joe Cavanaugh of Youth Frontiers, “Raising Kids of Character.”