Eric and Andrew Dayton on Obama's visit, Askov Finlayson, men's fashion

Categories: Fashion
All photos by Ward Rubrecht
Andrew and Eric Dayton aren't just the owners of a high-profile bar and restaurant. They're also proprietors of Askov Finlayson, a 1,000-square-foot high-end men's boutique situated in the front end of the same building that houses the Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar. The shop features items with high construction quality favoring a preppy look, as well as a variety of luxury lifestyle items. We sat down to pick Andrew and Eric's brains about the philosophy behind Askov Finlayson, and what it's like trying to buy clothes for Minnesota men.

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Obama came here; did he take a look at the shop?

Eric: Actually, they took over our store. As people entered, that's where they passed through the Secret Service security. We moved all our stuff to the side, and put up big metal detectors and that was the screening point.

We did do something really fun with our friends Katherine and Mac McMillan. They have a brand, Pierrepont Hicks, that's primarily neckwear. We did a collaboration necktie with those guys. On the back it said, 'Askov Finlayson X Pierrepont Hicks in honor of President Obama,' and then the date of the lunch. All of our staff wore the tie for the service, and then we gave one to President Obama as a gift.

Have you seen him wearing it in a press conference?

It's more of a date night tie -- it has a casual look to it.

All photos by Ward Rubrecht
What made you want to open a men's boutique?

Eric: The building was an opportunity for us to take an old building that we saw as having a lot of potential, in a neighborhood we were really excited about, and bring it back into service. We started thinking about what we wanted to do in the different spaces, and came up with this idea of the restaurant and bar and clothing shop working together within the one building. We liked the way that fit together. We hoped that it was something the neighborhood would value and appreciate. It also combined shared interests that Andrew and I had.

Andrew: I think there were also brands that we were really excited about that we hadn't seen in Minneapolis yet. There are a lot of great stores in the Twin Cities, but nobody had been focusing on exactly what we wanted to see and thought would be successful here.

How would you characterize those brands that you wanted to feature?

Andrew: For the two of us, it's focused on quality. Things have to be really well made. We look for items that are special because they're beautifully designed and because they're well made, but also because they're useful. We also keep an eye for color and pattern, which is something we respond to. You'll see it throughout the building, and the bar and restaurant. We wanted to bring that into the store as well.

What were some of the brands that you knew you wanted to bring in right away?

Eric: The jeans Andrew's wearing, Momotaro denim, we felt that was the best jean in the world and something we could bring to Minneapolis. Norse Projects was a first brand. While in Copenhagen, we got to visit their headquarters when we were on a trip. Not everything that we have is just unique to our store, but that's certainly been one of our driving principles: How do we do this differently than other people are doing it, in a way that feels like us and adds something to the retail mix of Minneapolis?

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