MY LITTLE ONE
• My Little One is named for the lullaby that owner Stacey Stein’s mother made up to sing to her and her sisters when they were young. Stein turned her mom’s sweet song about trying to comfort a baby into a book and CD, which, of course, are sold at the store along with plenty of other “mom-tested baby gifts.”
Stein, a White Bear Lake native who lives in Clearwater with her husband and 6-year-old daughter, opened My Little One three years ago in St. Cloud. Rather than change the store to suit the customers, Stein moved her shop to Excelsior last year. “I always loved it here,” she says. “It’s really a boutique town.”
With its pretty dresses, adorable dolls, and luxe blankets, My Little One, in its new location next door to Gray Gardens, is becoming a destination for grandparents, but also for moms in need of shower gifts or that special little outfit for family portraits. Girls’ clothes go up to size 12, boys’ to 4T. “I’ll always have the classics, like Sophie the Giraffe,” Stein says. “But I’m also looking for the next new innovation.”
370 Water St., 952-474-4914, shopmylittleone.com
• Recently relocated from the Galleria to Excelsior, Que Será can finally be what owners Mary and Tom Lauer always intended: an interior design studio with a retail showroom.
At the Galleria, Que Será’s design studio was wedged into a back corner, and as a result, the store felt cramped. The Excelsior space is more open and more contemporary with organic elements and rustic touches. Mary Lauer designed the interior from scratch—installing a floor made of reclaimed hardwoods, sandblasting the plaster walls to expose original brick, and repairing and glazing the original tin ceiling.
In this fresh setting, some of the same merchandise is suddenly more inspiring—from wall art to furniture. While the emphasis is on interior design (note the nursery vignette, a nod to the Lauers’ Oh Baby! boutique, which will remain at Galleria), there are plenty of impulse buys at Que Será, such as stylish matchboxes and pretty journals. Bedding and locally produced pillows continue to be staples, with an expanded assortment of Dash & Albert rugs.
244 Water St., 952-924-6390, quesera-style.com
• Beyond the garden, the newly remodeled Gray Gardens home store is taking shoppers on a trip around the world. The Tuscan-style room is filled with rustic furnishings and cement statues. Nearby, find organic linens from Belgium and France. A new line of indoor/outdoor furniture is made of acacia wood, grown in Egypt and Australia.
And then there’s the otherworldly fairy garden. Owner Andrew Kruger, whose mother opened Gray Gardens 30 years ago, and store manager Deborah Antone turned an old cottage behind the store into a charming showroom for miniature fairy homes and accessories, crafted locally. In front of the cottage are the fairy gardens with fountains, benches, and space for special events and parties. Suddenly, this is a great place to bring kids. Visitors of all ages are encouraged to create their own fairy garden in a dish, filled with blooming mosses and miniature perennials and annuals. It plants the seed for a love of gardening, which could one day lead to the larger-scale garden and landscape projects that remain Gray Gardens’ bread and butter.
366 Water St., 952-474-9150, graygardens.net