Heard on the Street; Exquisite Leather opens on Historic Third

Lisa Ihrke's latest project is one for the record books, because she has pulled off a rare retail triple play and she's done it on Rochester's Historic Third Street.

Exquisite Leather, Luggage and Furs is the latest local venture to stake out space on downtown's increasingly hot Historic Third Street.

Ihrke's new shop opened its doors last week in the 1,600-square-foot space at 20 Third St. S.W., last occupied by The Nordic Gypsy. Exquisite Leather is a women's boutique featuring clothing, jewelry, purses, luggage as well as leather and fur coats.

A grand opening featuring live music, refreshments, secret sales and more is scheduled for Nov.16.

This new location joins Ihrke's two other Exquisite stores in downtown — the original in the Kahler Grand Hotel subwayand a Peace Plazaone that opened in June at 100 1st Ave. S.W. General Manager Lynne Rileyhandles the day-to-day operations of all three.


"I've needed more room for sometime. There's enough business for all three stores," she said.

Having double the floor space in the Historic Third Street store versus the 750-square-foot spaces of her other shops means this store can carry home decor as well as more lines of gifts and cards. The other stores will focus more on the clothing and accessories lines.

She also cites Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Centerinitiative as a driving reason she's working to create a larger footprint in Rochester's rapidly evolving downtown.

The store is based on the street level of the same building that houses the new speakeasy-style basement bar, The Doggery. Ihrke said the addition of The Doggery to the mix of popular restaurants, bars and stores on the short street is really ramping up the foot traffic.

Unlike her subway location, Ihrke plans to offer expanded hours at her Third Street shop by being open most nights and on the weekends.

To staff the trio of stores, Ihrke said she and Riley have been on "a hiring rampage" to bring her team up to a total of 12 employees.

Heard something? Contact Mike Klein (mklein@postbulletin) or Jeff Kiger (, or call the P-B newsroom at 507-285-7700.

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