Welcome To The Big City

As I sit here writing this blog post, I keep thinking to myself: has it already been 2 years since I walked into The Refinery asking if they were hiring? I remember it was the summer after I got married, I had a year left at school, and I was just looking for a fun part time job to keep me busy! I never imagined 2 years later that this small town girl would still be working in retail, better yet – a Store Manager who absolutely loves her job! Through my journey so far at The Refinery, I have been able to experience multiple store-openings in Minnesota and I am very excited about our newest location, Minneapolis.

Growing up in a very small town, I am not much of a ‘city girl’ so I was a little nervous when Ashleigh told me about Minneapolis. I remember saying, “there’s a lot of people there…” But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past 2 years, it’s that I should trust Ashleigh’s gut and heart when it comes to opening another store (even if in my mind I was saying  “another one, Ashleigh”?) We have so many customers from the metro area who travel down to our small town locations in St. Peter and New Prague, so they were super excited when they heard we would be opening in their hometown of Minneapolis!

If I could describe our Minneapolis store front in 2 words, I would choose: Intimate and Charming. This space is smaller than our other locations, but with the black & white theme and super tall ceilings it’s the perfect fit for our style and our customers! Selling primarily clothing and accessories at this location, we will also carry some select gift items in store.

Aside from the adorable layout and abundance of clothing options, one of my favorite things about the Minneapolis location is that we are right next door to an amazing restaraunt, Harriet’s Inn. They have a large outdoor patio that is always packed full of people and great food! If you are looking for a fun day out with your family and friends, this is an ideal area because you can dine and sip on the patio and then come inside for some shopping! We are located just a few blocks from the 50th and France area, Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and the Uptown area. We are so excited to do some events at this location that will involve dining, sipping, and of course… shopping!

 

As our locations started venturing towards the metro area, we have been asked to be apart of some great events in the Twin Cities. An exciting one coming up is Open Streets Minneapolis. This event is free and brings together community groups and local businesses to temporarily close major roads and open them up for people walking, biking, rolling and playing. Residents and visitors will be able to explore this neighborhood in a safe, fun, family-friendly environment. This event encourages people to use active modes of transportation, engage in healthy living, and rethink our streets as a public space. Open Streets Minneapolis is a unique opportunity to promote healthy living, local businesses, sustainable transportation, and civic pride in Minneapolis.

On June 10th we will be closing our Minneapolis store front and participating in this event by setting up a Refinery pop-up shop from 11am-5pm on Lyndale Ave. We are so excited to get involved in the community for a great cause and a fun day!

Photo from Open Streets Minneapolis 2017

 

After months of sitting on edge, marketing, planning, and gearing up to open our Minneapolis location, the time has finally come and we are ready to rock it!  Like they say, don’t let small town life make your dreams small. If your dreams don’t scare you… they aren’t big enough!!

 

Maybe this big city thing will be good after all 🙂

 

Claire

Store Manager – St. Peter, MN

 

 

 

Duty. Honor. Country

Patriotism Instilled at an Early Age

Duty. Honor. Country

Remember and Honor

In Memory of Our Fallen Hero’s.

Just to name a few of the countless Memorial Day, and patriotic quotes that were instilled in me at an early age, remembering as far back as the 4th grade.

Floyd and Marge Allen (my grandparents), and managers of the Kasota Legion Club, Post #348. My grandfather a World War II veteran, and my grandmother, a Women’s Auxillery Club Member, most importantly a proud patriotic woman who encouraged patriotism in supporting our veterans, our flag, and most importantly our country. She could have been a jeopardy winner, when it came to American history. As a young girl, I was a camp fire girl, and a junior woman auxiliary member of the Kasota Legion Club, this was not optional, grandma made sure that was my place of duty, and I respectfully and faithfully carried out those duties.

My camp fire girl club, sold poppies in honor of Memorial Day, helped during the Legion Club sponsored fish fries, steak, and spaghetti feeds, and toured or visited anything representing American History. One in particular was the field trip to the Freedom Train that toured the United States in celebration of the United States Bicentennial. I will never forget how special of a moment  this was for my grandmother to arrange such a special trip.

My grandfather; loyal, and dedicated to Post #348, not to mention proud to be a Military Veteran. A member of the Legion Club color guard who  professional and faithfully carried out Memorial Day services at the Kasota Cemetery. The color guard provided full military honors for veterans who passed within our community. I recall a flag initiative in which he took charge of ensuring patriotism was represented within our small community of Kasota. Residence ordered flags, and flag poles, my grandfather one by one cemented the poles in their yards where they could proudly fly our American Flag. Duty. Honor. Country.

Why is this important to me and my family? My grandfather, and my father, served in the Army. I then went on to faithfully and honorably complete 26 years of Military Service. I passed this onto my daughters, as they too have served, born into a military family. They moved 11 times (which included 2 overseas moves) Sold poppies, and attended many Memorial Day Services. Remembering our fallen hero’s and those that still serve. This now was their duty in which they respectfully and faithfully carried out for their mother.

Patriotism was instilled in them at an early age and is something as a family we cherish very much. Throughout my time in the military and many deployments, I witnessed the loss of mothers and fathers fighting for our country.  I watched as the caskets with American flags draped over them were carried onto aircrafts to be reunited with their families before laying them to rest. Attending numerous memorial services for  families whos loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of these families and all of the soldiers who have served and who continue to serve. 

So as we reflect on the importance of Memorial Day, I encourage you to  share with your loved ones what it means to you. I would guess it was from a grandparent, a father or a mother, who instilled Patriotism within you.

In Remembrance of Those who Fought and are STILL Fighting for our Country so that we have the freedom we have today.

May you never forget nor allow your children to forget. Duty. Honor. Country.

With honor,

Kimberly Green (Ashleigh’s Mom)

Sergeant Major (Retired)

“You gotta Nourish to Flourish”

This Past week we had the amazing opportunity to shoot at a beautiful local Organic Farm with our friends from Tink & Fox.  I had the opportunity to see the entire property throughout the shoot and was amazed by the concept and passion behind a farm to table atmosphere.  Growing up as a military brat these are things you don’t too often experience. 

We of course had to incorporate some of our customer favorite farm pieces!

 

We often talk a lot about the word Refine and what it means to The Refinery. Refining and fine tuning ourselves in various aspects of life is something that I believe is so important. Every day is a new opportunity to do so but if you are anything like me (along with 80 % of society) making yourself and your body a priority sometimes can be placed on the back burner. No matter what stage of life you may be in, we so often get caught up in the craziness of day to day life and forget how important it is to take care of ourselves.  

I absolutely love when our customers come in and look and feel good about the items they are purchasing. One of my biggest questions I always ask when they ask me what I think is “How do you feel?”  Because let’s be real.. When you look and feel good in what you are wearing it brings out the joy and confidence in a person.  

Farm girl by Day..

 

Event ready by night!

and something to keep it casual in between!

As we shot around the property it opened my eyes to so many things. Seeing all aspects of this organic farm and wrapping my head around it all was life changing. This past winter I was pretty sick for about a month. Throughout that time period I lost all the weight I had wanted to loose since baby number 5 came along. Clearly it wasn’t exactly how I had hoped to lose that weight but as I began to feel better I felt amazing! Not only because I wasn’t sick anymore but because my body felt better than had it had in close to two years.  Since then it has been important to me to really focus on how I am nourishing my body and how I am feeling overall and a lot less about the number. The saying “You gotta nourish to flourish” has never been truer to my lifestyle these days. It’s a work in progress everyday but I am dedicated to “Refining” this aspect of my life. One Vegetable at a time.. Literally one at a time.. Baby Steps (Ha!) 

What are some of the things you like to do for yourself?  Comment with your response on the  Facebook or Instagram link! Also don’t forget to check out all of our new arrivals online. 

XO

Ashleigh

 

 

With growth comes change…

 

With growth comes change and WOW have we experienced a crazy amount of both within the last 2.5 years. We went from a family of 6 to a family of 7, opened 4 new stores, merchandised an additional 3, completed over 50+ offsite pop up events, hosted over 100 in store events, and have loved every minute of it. Now don’t get me wrong although there have been many highs, there have also been many lows. In the small business world, you learn to love the lows just as much as you love the highs. The seasons of it all are truly what I have learned to appreciate the most. The tough times have taught me to always appreciate the good times and always strive to do/be better and the good times have taught me to appreciate the journey along the way while celebrating the little successes each and every day.

I am a low risk kind of girl with big dreams! As we have expanded The Refinery from St. Peter, I wasn’t quite sure where this journey would take us but knew I wanted to test the waters and expand into other communities. When doing so we entered short term leases (1 year-1.5 years) to allow us the capabilities to test the waters but also allow us time to get to know the communities, and overall make sure each of the locations we did open were a good fit for both The Refinery and the communities we were a part of. But of course, … All short-term leases come to an end.

Prior to resigning we really used this time to look at our overall business model and evaluate where we see The Refinery going from here, while also looking at customer demands and feedback, family life (You guys know I am all about family first), long term growth, and so on. With that being said we have made a few key changes to a few of our locations that we wanted to share:

Waseca:  We will be closing our Waseca location effective Saturday March 17th. Waseca has been a fun adventure for us but due to the change in business structure (Moving from 3 day a week locations to all locations being 5-7 day a week locations) we have decided to close our Waseca location. We have been extremely grateful for the time we have had in Waseca and the staff and customers who have been with us from the beginning.

New Prague: The hotel location we have been in has officially SOLD/Leased again. This time we are making a move with this change. We will be moving our New Prague location down the street to a more permanent home in the former Prairie Pond Winery location. We are UBER excited about this change as it will really allow us to make this special place a home. With more space (indoor & outdoor) we have big plans for this new space and can’t wait to share more as things evolve. As of right now our plan is to be fully moved and relocated by 4/7.

St. Peter: Many of you know we took on the additional space in St. Peter mid Fall and have loved making it our own. With my husband being in the ice cream business we have always dreamt of ways we would be able to incorporate his passion and expertise as we continue to create that special Refinery experience throughout various locations. It has been a long time in the making, but we have received state plan approval and will begin the transition of a portion of our St. Peter store to a hard scoop Ice Cream shop! Our vision with this side of the store is to be able to come in and enjoy a sweet treat, old pops and candy, gifts, and our love for all things Minnesota.  We hope to have this set up and ready to go late Spring and look forward to bringing this concept to the downtown St. Peter area.

Minneapolis: Everything is in motion and we are hoping to be open by early to mid-April!

In our household we try to end our days with recapping our highs and our lows, and this post was definitely filled with a few of each.

The highs:

  • Effective the week of 4/9 all locations we will be expanding our hours at each location.
    • St. Peter (7 Days a week- No Change)
    • New Prague (Tuesday-Saturday)
    • Chaska (Tuesday-Saturday)
    • Minneapolis (Tuesday-Saturday)
  • We will be adding a new experience to a portion of our St. Peter store (Ice Cream)
  • We will be relocating our New Prague location down the block to the old Prairie Pond Winery space. Creating a new experience with the original Refinery feel.

Lows:

  • The closing of our Waseca location. This was such a tough decision for me and one that has weighed on me heavily. This decision was 100% made based upon overall logistics and where we see our overall business going. Our Waseca customers have been nothing short of amazing and I truly thank you for an incredible year.  I thank each and every one of you in the Waseca community and the surrounding communities that have shopped our Waseca location. Our Waseca doors will officially close to the public Saturday March 17th.

Growth is good and change is hard and although I don’t have a crystal ball, I am confident in the direction we continue to head in and look forward to continuing this journey with you! Thank you for your continued support and growing and changing with us along the way!

Ashleigh

 

Ashleigh

 

Hey Hey Minneapolis!

We are almost to the weekend my friends! Last week we shared some pretty exciting news via social media and assured you details were to follow. Yes, it’s true we are opening a new store in South Minneapolis and couldn’t be more excited!

You may be thinking another one? This girl is crazy. I like to think of it as driven (Crazy was when my husband and I decided to have 5 children in 6 years.. but of course a good crazy!). I have always had it in the back of my mind of wanting to explore the metro area. We have customers who come down often to our various locations from the Minneapolis area but knew it all had to make sense. I didn’t want to rush into anything that was way over our head and I wanted to make sure the location fit our business model but again wasn’t necessarily in the 1-2 year plan but more the 3-4 year plan… But then I received a call…

One of the most remarkable things about my journey with The Refinery has truly been the relationships formed throughout the last few years. The individuals I have met along the way who share a very similar drive and focus but also those who see a big picture and most importantly those who believe in not only me but the dreams I have not just  for myself, but for the community, the individuals who work for us, and everything else in between. That call came from someone who has played a vital role in the growth of not just The Refinery but also many businesses throughout the communities we serve. The call presented me with the opportunity of expanding our business in a way that made sense, was affordable, and most importantly provided the experience that The Refinery looks for in each of the locations it serves. It may not have been in the timeline I had imagined but the days following that call.. Everything and I mean everything fell into place.

A little about our new space! One of the most incredible pieces about our new location is that we will be connected to the beautiful Harriet’s Inn Restaurant. A gorgeous restaurant located at 4000 lyndale Ave S. Just a few blocks away from the 50th and France area, Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, and the uptown area. As I have always said it is so important to me to provide an experience to all of those who shop our different location(s) and this location is one of a kind. You will be able to dine indoors or on their beautiful patio right outside of our front door, shop, and take in the beautiful surrounding area. We hope to host ladies nights, live music, group events, and so much more in collaboration with this beautiful space and restaurant next door. Since announcing we have been asked to be a part of so many neat and unique twin cities events which I look forward to sharing more with you as time gets a little closer. We are shooting for an opening date of late March 2018!

 

(Everyone loves a good patio in the summer!)

(A tiny look into one side of the store)

I have learned throughout time that life is truly about seizing the opportunities that are presented. I have learned often to trust my gut but most importantly to follow my heart. These two things have lead The Refinery to Minneapolis and I can’t wait to share this journey with you! In the mean time… Head back to our Facebook page to enter our exciting shop and dine giveaway!