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Call it 4M? 3M expands at the Mall

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An early season of Saturday Night Live featured a skit about the Scotch Tape Boutique; the gag was built around the silliness of a shop with such a narrow product line.

In a belated case of commerce imitating art, 3M has embraced the concept. No joke – the Maplewood-based manufacturer opened its first-ever retail kiosk earlier this fall. The outlet at the Mall of America offers shoppers 3M's well-known products, including (yes!) decorative Scotch tape and a variety of Post-it notes.

The Pioneer Press reports the kiosk features dozens of patterns and designs on Scotch tape, paper tape, and masking tape. It also frequently sells out of a popular small football-helmet-designed tape dispenser, with Vikings, Packers, Bears, or Broncos logos.

While 3M researches, manufactures and sells a wide range of medical, surgical, adhesive and building products, its consumer division carries the company's most visible brands and the Mall of America provides a showcase for those products. It has also turned into a spot where 3M marketers can listen to customers and get their ideas. Sales associate Peg Schafer said shoppers often ask for various specialized designs to appear on the design tape, including musicians who have requested musical notes. The ideas get passed onto the company.

Shoppers, take note: The kiosk is set to remain open only through January.

Last month, Bloomberg reported that 3M posted third-quarter profits that beat analysts’ estimates. Sales in its electronics and energy businesses rose 2.5 percent, following declines in the previous two quarters.

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