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Key North, Beloved Northeast Minneapolis Boutique, is “Retiring the Brand”

Article and photos by Merle Minda

Key North, Beloved Northeast Minneapolis Boutique, is “Retiring the Brand”
Markdowns begin Monday, November 19; 13-year run comes to an end

Beloved Northeast Minneapolis women’s clothing boutique Key North will close its location at 515 1st Avenue NE as of January 31, 2019. Markdowns on all new fall and winter merchandise will begin at 30 percent off starting Monday, November 19. Further reductions to come. Key North has been in the forefront of carrying top quality and unique fashion design for its devoted customers; merchandise carefully selected in markets from Milan to Paris, New York City and Los Angeles.

Owners and partners of Key North are, left: Katie Greene and, right, Gwen Engelbert

Owners and partners Katie Greene and Gwen Engelbert are sad to see their ‘bricks and mortar’ location come to an end, but will be pursuing other innovative plans to carry their unique perspectives and dedication forward.

Partner Katie Greene noted, “The current retail climate conflicts with our mission of working directly with clients who value quality and original design. Retail now depends so heavily on social media and e-commerce marketing/discounting – that is not what we are about.” She continued, “We are deeply grateful for the relationships and loyalty we have enjoyed with our customers over the years; stay tuned for our next chapter!" 

Throughout its time, Key North maintained an ethical model of quality goods made by well-paid people. “No sweatshops for our goods,” stated partner Gwen Engelbert.

Front window of Key North

The imminent closing of Key North comes as a double whammy to the Northeast Business District, following the recently announced closing of Bibelot in the same neighborhood, leaving the retail scene here fairly desolate.

Some quotes from their treasured customers:

• “Fought the good fight! Such a lovely thing to have their store; their attention to detail and quality goods was from their heart.” Clareyse N.

• “My go-to place for brands I can’t find elsewhere. Everyone asks me where I shop.” Mary T.

• “Makes me sad.” Heather D.

• “Love the store and their product choices.” Merle M.

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About Merle Minda

Journalist and free-lance writer Merle Minda writes about travel, business, people profiles and other subjects for a number of national and regional publications, including Delta SKY, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business, Star Tribune, Twin Cities Statement, Minnesota Monthly, and now Mill City Times. She can be reached at or on the web.

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