ROBOTLove is movin’ on up

Geek-chic boutique relocates to the north side to merge with Pink Hobo and PUNY Entertainment.

Kara Nesvig

Watch out, Uptown, N.E. is gunning to be the new arts mecca of Minneapolis. What was once a relatively blah neighborhood, save for the presence of Lunds and SurdykâÄôs, has recently blossomed into a dining and shopping district to be rivaled. Now, an Uptown resident, geek-chic toy and goodie store ROBOTlove , has decided to pack up and move on over. Their new digs will fuse the store with dorky-cool gallery Pink Hobo and interactive entertainment studio PUNY, which contributes to the animation for Nick Jr.âÄôs âÄúYo Gabba Gabba!âÄù The three are set to fuse this June. âÄúLast year was rough on everyone economically,âÄù said ROBOTlove owner Kristoffer Knutson. âÄúI started coming out of the holiday thinking, âÄòMaybe thereâÄôs a different way to approach 2010.âÄô âÄù Knutson, who is also involved in local art nonprofit MPLSart.org and teaches at MCAD , hooked up with Pink Hobo/PUNY founders Shad Petosky and Vincent Stall and things happened quickly from there. âÄúWeâÄôd had conversations last year about doing a pop-up shop at Pink Hobo or sending some ROBOTlove goods that way. All of those things melded together to make a great move for all of us.âÄù ROBOTlove featured imaginative toys for the upscale, design-oriented nerd in all of us, as well as posters and clothing. He says the merchandise wonâÄôt change dramatically post-move. âÄúWhat weâÄôre gaining is a bit of gallery space. The product lines will remain pretty much the same, focusing on designer collectibles, artist toys and household items.âÄù He also plans to beef up the clothing selection, particularly for men. âÄúThereâÄôs a nice niche there in N.E.âÄù Adding ROBOTlove to the mix means that Pink Hobo Gallery will now have regular hours. Before, if you were interested in seeing a show, you had to do some finagling and recon work to get inside. Now, with ROBOTlove as the third piece in the design puzzle, interested onlookers can wander into the gallery anytime the store is open. Knutson is making some personal changes as well, taking over as PUNYâÄôs managing director. Knutson is excited to move near distinct retail spaces like baby boutique Pacifier and locally-grown gift shop I Like You. âÄúWeâÄôre moving out of our teens and becoming young adults,âÄù Knutson said.