In the present-day era of big box retail and one-click ordering, the concept of a family-owned brick-and-mortar store may seem irrelevant. Family-owned does indeed matter when it comes to Baby Grand, a St. Louis Park baby and children’s boutique owned by Joe Roedler and his wife Katie. Offering a comprehensive variety of items including furniture, clothing, strollers, car seats, and toys, Baby Grand’s Twin Cities roots stretch back three decades.
The store’s name derives from its original location on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, which Roedler’s parents founded in 1985. After opening a second location in Hopkins in 2008, Joe and Katie transitioned to ownership roles upon his parents’ retirement. In November 2018, Baby Grand found a new home in the Fern Hill neighborhood of St. Louis Park and permanently closed its doors in Hopkins and St. Paul.
Baby Grand’s current home on Minnetonka Boulevard seemed destined from the start. “When we were in St. Paul, I noticed a lot of our customers were coming from the St. Louis Park and southwest Minneapolis area,” says Roedler. After a year-long search for the perfect St. Louis Park location, a space previously occupied by another historied Twin Cities baby retailer became available. The former tenant, Treasure’s Island, occupied the space from the mid-1950s until 2005. Coincidentally, Roedler’s grandfather serviced Treasure’s Island as a wholesaler of kids’ products prior to Baby Grand’s founding. Moving into the Treasure’s Island location “made it possible for us to leave the history of our Grand Avenue location intact; we found the one place we could do that,” says Roedler.
In little over a year’s time, Roedler already feels Baby Grand is truly at home in St. Louis Park. “We’ve been very welcomed by the community already,” says Roedler.