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The Super Bowl pop-up shop that isn't

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The Meet Minneapolis visitors center includes a retail store.
The Meet Minneapolis visitor center includes a retail store operated by Love from Minneapolis. Super Bowl themed clothing have been top sellers this week.
Tom Weber | MPR News

Suzie Marty has heard a similar plea from several customers she's had this week: I hope you stay open after the Super Bowl.

Not a problem, Marty chuckles. This isn't a pop-up shop. The store has been here two years.

"It's putting us on the map in a good way."

The store is Love from Minneapolis, a retail operation inside the city's visitor center at Fifth Street and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. 

The Meet Minneapolis visitors center at 5th & Nicollet.
The Meet Minneapolis visitor center opened in October, 2015, and has seen a sharp increase in traffic and sales this week.
Tom Weber | MPR News

It's the first storefront you walk by when you get off the light rail stop to come to Nicollet Mall. The rest of this mall is awash in Super Bowl themed ice sculptures, a concert stage and several other attractions.   Inside this building, the visitor center section offers information on public transit and local hotels and eateries.

The store offers Minnesota themed bric-a-brac, pieces made by local artist (including many depicting Prince) and the big seller this week: Clothing featuring the Super Bowl branding "Bold North" that has been visible across the Twin Cities in the weeks leading up to the game.

The crowds at the store this week have been unbelievable, says Marty, the store manager. 

"This is a lull," she adds, pointing to a smattering of 15 or so people. "From 4-9 this afternoon, you won't be able to move in here."

These crowd sizes have not surprised Marty, who has worked in retail dating back to her days as a buyer for Dayton's in downtown Minneapolis. But she is surprised it's been a mostly local crowd so far. 

"Up to this point we've had a ton of customers who are locals who haven't realized we're here,'' she says. "Now we're ramping up for all the out-of-town guests to come in."

And yet, even with a mostly local crowd, Marty has spent a lot of time explaining to customers that it isn't a pop-up store. 

Suzie Marty is store mgr. at the retail store inside the visitors center.
Suzie Marty is the store manager at the retail store inside the Meet Minneapolis visitor center at Fifth Street and Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.
Tom Weber | MPR News

She assures folks it will be here after the Super Bowl.

Minneapolis opened the center in October 2015. While Marty describes the corner as a prime spot for retail, the timing wasn't ideal.

There was hardly any foot traffic because Nicollet Mall was dug up for a yearslong renovation project that only ended a few months ago. 

Plus, winter was coming and the store isn't connected to the skyway.

That first year was tough, Marty notes. The only claim to fame for the store was as the temporary home of the  famed Mary Tyler Moore statue during the mall project construction.

But numbers have been up since then, especially this week. The store averages around 2,800 customers a month. There were 2,000 people in the store just last Saturday, she says. 

The batteries died in the electronic sensor on the door that counts traffic, so they have no count from Sunday.

"We've been practically sleeping here," says Michael Hernandez, Director of Visitor Services for Meet Minneapolis, the city's visitors bureau.  "My voice is going out."

Chip Bell of New Hope was in the store Wednesday mid-morning, looking to buy two sweatshirts with the new branding, "just because it says Bold North." 

Rory Kaplan of Plymouth also wanted something from the line. The hat she tried on was too small. 

"I could do Bold North socks or scarf. I want to get something, though."

And even with an influx of out-of-town guests expected as the game approaches, Marty expects the Bold North to sell well. 

Out-of-town, after all, appears relative. 

"I had a conversation with a couple the other day and I said: 'Are you from out of town?'"

"They said: 'Yeah.'"

She asked them to sign the visitor sign-in book. 

They were from Roseville.