The Store at Mia has been morphing for years now, from something of a postcard and catalogue kiosk into a bonafide boutique, selling the artisanal equivalent of the art on the gallery walls.
But the latest redesign pushes the concept of store as living room, object as lifestyle. Gone is the enormous “cash wrap,” or sales counter, that once signaled the store’s transactional priority. Instead, the children’s area—stocked with books and toys—has been brought forward and now has a play table for parents to leave their charges while they shop. There are more cookbooks, more local books, and more books altogether—and a lounge with couches and tables where you can read them.
“We wanted to make the store a place you want to spend time in,” says Rita Mehta, Mia’s head of retail and merchandising strategy, “like a home.” A home you would kill to call your own.
Now, though, it’s time to think about others. And Mehta, along with her staff, has some favorites among the new merchandise. Here are their top gift ideas, for hosts, for family, or simply for yourself. Stop in to the museum to shop these picks or head over to our new online store for even more unique gifts that give back: https://shop.artsmia.org/
1. Mia’s Rooftop Gold honey and honey sticks. “My favorite gifts tell a story or complete an experience,” says Mehta. These items check both boxes. Several years ago, Mia became a beekeeper, installing some beehives on its roof and harvesting the bees’ produce every fall. Called Rooftop Gold, it’s different every year depending on what the bees ate and when the honey was collected. The store is also selling honey sticks, which have become a kitchen must-have for indulgent locavores. You can indulge your inner Pooh for $14 a jar, $8 a stick.
2. Hand-decorated Colombian chocolates from UNELEFANTE. These exquisite Mexican-made morsels, shaped like cars and beach balls and packaged like a piñata, were first brought to the store for Mia’s Guillermo del Toro show last spring. And they’ve never left—for good reason. Get them for $22 to $34 a box.
3. Traditional French market totes. If you were French and walked to the market every day for your groceries, you might well carry them home in something like this mesh bag. But you could also carry your lunch in it, or your water bottle, your paints—whatever gets you through the day. For $18.
4. Pots, pans, and mugs by Utilitario Mexicana. Staff love these hard-to-find, retro-looking Mexican wares, including an honest-to-goodness cast iron pot that looks like it was forged in a volcano. From $14 for an enamel mug to $225 for an enamel water dispenser.
5. 2018 agenda book from Rifle Paper Co. Having a traditional paper book to keep track of your appointments instead of your phone calendar “makes you feel more put together than you really are,” says a staffer. Fake it till you make it for $38 a book.
6. Pouches from Baggu. When you’re ready to step up from plastic bags, for traveling or parenting or simply existing with all your stuff. Starting at $35.
7. Plush ornaments from Minneapolis artist Ashley Mary. When you need a reminder of the childlike wonder behind the season, or a hostess gift, or simply an ornament that won’t break, these creations fit the bill. For $40.