Photos by Crystal Simon
Not all makers live in downtown lofts, so why should their goods be limited to urban boutiques? The “maker movement” is steadily moving out to the 'burbs, punctuated by last week’s soft opening of The Golden Rule, which attracted carloads of North Loop hipsters who may never before have ventured this far west of Spyhouse Coffee.
The owner is jewelry designer Erin Kate Duininck, who started with a small gallery called Orchard Art House, off-the-beaten-path on Lake Minnetonka, and then popped up two Christmases ago, just off Water Street in downtown Excelsior. That space, charming as it was, was always intended to be temporary, and finally, Duininck found a restored white house on Water Street to lay down her retail roots. She’s created a modern, artfully merchandised space worthy of a drive all the way from Washington Avenue.
Of course, boutiques featuring locally based artisans are nothing new, but the Golden Rule feels like part of a new wave of millenial-minded retailers: hyper-focused on visual impact (and natural light), storytelling, and relationships with modern makers, from Solid Manufacturing Co. leather goods and Carrier Pigeon jewelry in Minneapolis to textile wall hangings by former Anthropologie display coordinator Cindy Hsu Zell of Los Angeles. Duininck felt it was important to represent artists and designers from all over the world, but she has close ties with local makers—some of whom will work in the shop. Most of the paintings on the walls (don’t miss the bathroom—some of the best works are in there!) are by local artists.
The Golden Rule joins a vibrant community of local retailers in Excelsior, including Brightwater Clothing & Gear, an upscale apparel store with a heritage vibe that plays to the same modern shopper, and Que Sera home store. There’s room for more, with Grey Gardens planning to close its store in the old home right next door to The Golden Rule. Meanwhile, ivivva, lululemon’s line for young girls, is opening a showroom in the white garage behind Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. leading up to its grand opening on May 30. Hours will then be extended to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (8 p.m. on Thursdays), with the addition of Sundays, 12 to 5 p.m. 350 Water St., Excelsior, 612-598-2098