Activewear and lifestyle apparel store Of The Lion opens Monday in South Uptown at the corner of 36th Street and Bryant Avenue.

At first glance, its name may seem like a simple translation of that of its owner, Minneapolis apparel and retail industry veteran Erick DeLeon. However, despite how much of his identity and effort DeLeon has put into the store, it means much more than that.

“I want our customers to walk away with the confidence a lion has, to feel good in his own skin, to be their own king,” DeLeon said. “There’s no better symbol than that that I could think of.”

At Of The Lion, that confidence will come from clothing and other products, for both working out and the rest of a customer’s day, from brands DeLeon believes are high-quality and not easy to find anywhere else.

DeLeon said he thinks most retail stores are predictable and that customers know what they’ll find before they’ve even stepped through the door. He plans on Of The Lion breaking that mold.

“I’m motivated by being different from everyone else,” DeLeon said.

Of The Lion will carry brands and products that can’t be found anywhere else in the Midwest, according to DeLeon.

One of those brands is norda, a Canadian trail-running shoe manufacturer that has recently burst onto the scene, according to DeLeon. The brand prioritizes sustainability and durability to allow customers to “buy better to buy less,” an approach that is emblematic of Of The Lion’s own priorities.

norda running shoes at Of The Lion. Photo by Charlie Rybak

“[People] want to support brands that live, eat and breathe what they do,” DeLeon said.

Other brands DeLeon highlighted include Los Angeles-based running gear suppliers District Vision, cycling outfitters Rapha and menswear manufacturers Barena Venezia.

Of The Lion’s offerings don’t end at clothing. DeLeon is also stocking skin and hair care products and other daily essentials to care for his customers beyond their workouts.

Candles available at Of The Lion. Photo by Charlie Rybak

Those workouts do matter to DeLeon, though. Not just for the sake of physical fitness, but more importantly because of the community he’s found through sports.

DeLeon said that he’s always been an athlete, growing up playing soccer and now coaching his son’s team. As an adult, he’s stayed in good shape, even reaching what he called the best shape of his life. Then, he tore his meniscus.

Being injured took DeLeon away from the community he had found at his gym. At the time, he was also working for a brand based in Germany and often traveled for work. This created a sense of isolation he said he had to address.

He did so by returning to the place he calls home, the Twin Cities. DeLeon grew up in Chicago but moved to the Twin Cities after college, where he studied acting, to pursue new opportunities.

After his move north, DeLeon said he fell in love with the Cities’ combination of big-city diversity and opportunity and small-town community feel, as well as its proximity to the outdoors. Ever since then, it’s been home.

“This shop is kind of like my love letter to the Twin Cities because this is where home was made,” DeLeon said. “This store is everything that encapsulates the Minnesota customer. It’s all through the perspective of living an active lifestyle, of appreciating an active lifestyle and also just being of full mind and body.”

While the store opens this week, DeLeon said he plans on having a more official launch event toward the end of summer, filling a weekend with different experiences to celebrate the community he’s found in the Twin Cities and the one he hopes to build from the corner of 36th and Bryant.

Of The Lion is located at 3554 Bryant Ave. S. and is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. You can browse Of the Lion’s collection online at