Union Market Mankato is bringing a whole new shopping experience to this Minnesota River city. It features more than 20 Minnesota brands in one convenient location.
This eclectic market stocks a homegrown selection of art, clothing for men, women and kids, gifts, accessories, home decor, vintage items and more. You can buy houseplants to feed your oh-so-2020 hobby/addiction and stock up at the apothecary.
Fashion designer Gina Moorhead (the force behind both the GinaMarie womenswear and GräsMark menswear lines) founded Union Market Mankato after relocating to the city after stints in Seattle, Stockholm and the Twin Cities. (If you’re interested in learning more about other Midwestern fashion designers, this profile about a maximalist on the other side of the border and design spectrum might intrigue you.
The shop is a place where art, fashion and design meet. But the project is about so much more than just shopping.
The coronavirus pandemic has challenged small businesses. It’s also reminded consumers that supporting locally owned businesses close to home is a simple way that they can keep their communities strong. Union Market Mankato makes it easy for customers to shop small and give back to Minnesota creatives without even trying.
In addition to focusing on regional brands, Moorhead also committed to the 15 Percent Pledge, dedicating at least 15% of shelf space to products from Black-owned companies. She also mentors and makes samples for new fashion businesses through her Apparel and Allies project.
Union Market Mankato taking COVID safety precautions very seriously. The shop offers free disposable masks for guests who need one and hand sanitizer is readily available. There’s a shield at the register to protect both employees and customers and staff members regularly wiping down the shop’s surfaces and steam clean clothing before returning it to the racks.
A contact-free checkout process encourages customers to bag their own items. The space is professionally cleaned every week as an added precaution.
Plans for the future
Union Market Mankato is both a boutique and a gathering place — even though gatherings have changed in the era of COVID. There’s a community space for movie nights, art classes and wine tastings and whatever else local artists and businesses can dream up.
A future expansion will include adding a deli so customers can grab charcuterie, cheese, breads and beverages on the go. A podcasting space is also planned.
A Grand Opening celebration featuring promotions, giveaways and refreshments from Homegirl Snacks will be held Saturday, October 24. Look for illustration, houseplant and crochet workshops, live music and a photo booth.
If you can’t make it on Saturday, additional promotions and activities will take place October 27-31. It’s closed Sundays and Mondays, so plan your visits accordingly.
What about you?
What do you shop for at Union Market Mankato?
What are your favorite Minnesota brands?
Where else should we go when we’re in Mankato?
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