Shirt Shop trying on new Fargo location; Phone-N-Fix gets its own storefront

Longtime West Acres retailer Shirt Shop is moving to the 45th Street Colonnade mall, while Phone-n-Fix gets a bigger space at West Acres to expend its repair capabilities. Meanwhile, Gap ends its run at Fargo's biggest mall.

Shirt Shop co-owners, Kathryn Lester, left, and Jennifer Pepple, are preparing their new space in the 45th Street Colonnade mall in south Fargo. Pepple said Monday, Jan.25, that the move from their longtime West Acres location will give them the room they need to expand. The Shirt Shop will open in its new home Monday, Feb. 1. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

FARGO -The Shirt Shop is trying on a new location while a phone accessory company will soon be dialed into that bay in the mall.

Shirt Shop, which was part of the West Acres mall for 26 years, will open Monday, Feb. 1, in its new spot in suite 103 of the 45th Street Colonnade mall just north of Scheels, at 4501 15th Ave. S.

Shirt Shop’s last day at West Acres Shopping Center was Sunday, Jan. 24.

"This is about four times the size of what we had in the mall," shop co-owner Jennifer Pepple said Monday, Jan. 25, as she, her mother and co-owner Kathryn Lester, and her husband worked on fitting up the new shop. That will allow them to bring in more stock and equipment, Pepple said.

"We can get into sweatshirts, athletic wear" and more embroidery, she said. "It's been coming together. We've been working on it for a couple months. I think it will be good. It's exciting," Pepple said. "It's been a long time coming."


A second embroidery machine will be moved from her home to the new location, "so now it's not in my dining room. So, that's nice," Pepple said.

The Shirt Shop has been family-owned since 1994. It offers a wide range of embroidery, heat application and laser engraving. services.

“We offer a wide selection of personalized baby gifts, engraved cutting boards and cake pans, baby blankets, funny T-shirts, personalized wedding and anniversary gifts,” the shop's website says.

Alissa Adams, West Acres' chief operating officer, congratulated Pepple on the move.


"Jen and her team at Shirt Shop will be dearly missed. She is a wonderful person, business owner and friend to many. We will miss her smiling face in the mall, and we wish them nothing but the best in their new location! We are happy for them to see their business grow in size and scale of their offerings," Adams said in an email to The Forum.
Phone-n-Fix, a locally owned firm that has operated out of a West Acres kiosk for four years, will be expanding into the Shirt Shop spot, owner Carl Burfeind confirmed Monday.

Phone-n-Fix owner Carl Burfeind sits at the repair station for his West Acres mall kiosk on Monday, Jan. 25. The business will be moving into much larger digs by taking over the former Shirt Shop location in the mall. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)


"Honestly, it was just space availability. We've been looking for another store, a bigger location in the mall, and it just happened to become available. A lot of the other spaces in the mall are too big for us, and this was just the perfect size and the perfect time," Burfeind said.

Burfeind said he hoped to make the move by mid- to late February.

Phone-n-Fix buys, sells and repairs all cell phones, iPads and other tablets, and game systems. They also sell accessories for cell phones and tablets, Burfeind said.

The biggest plus for his business will be space, he said.

"That means we're capable of doing more things. Right now, we do very minimal game system repair, but with a new location with a much larger footprint, we'll have a lot more space to do those things," as well as moving into computer repair, he said.

Goodbye to Gap

In other news, the Gap store at the mall closed Sunday.

Gap has been a struggling brand nationally and is restructuring and adjusting its business model.

Chain Store Age reported in October that Gap, Inc., expects to close about 30% of its Gap and Banana Republic stores in North America by the end of its fiscal year 2023 (early 2024). About 75% of those closures are to be completed by the end of fiscal 2021. In all, the retailer expects to close about 350 stores.


Gap is moving to a business model driven by e-commerce and off-mall locations, CSA reported. It expects about 80% of its namesake stores to be out of malls within three years. Currently, about a third of Gap Inc.’s total sales are made in malls, CSA reported.

The West Acres Gap Kids store had closed in late June of 2020 after 25 years at the mall.

Another store in the Gap, Inc., stable, Athleta, is expected to open in winter 2021. The women's athleisure brand store is being fitted out in the vacant space between Loft and Zumiez.

Phone-n-Fix owner Carl Burfeind stands by his mall kiosk in the West Acres Shopping Center on Monday, Jan. 25. Phone-n-Fix will be moving into the former Shirt Shop location in the mall, allowing it to expand its repair capabilities, Burfeind said. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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