Photo by Jonathan Chapman
Christine Hoffman in her boutique Foxglove Market & Studio
It's a gift just to shop for presents at these stores, where there's a clever idea or a beautiful object around every corner. All you have to do is point, pay, and wrap it up.
Brand We Love to Claim: Mara-Mi Stillwater
Mara-Mi, the flagship store for Gartner Studios, is a bright, inviting place to get entertaining, organization, and correspondence ideas. Enjoy an ice cream at the front counter while you mull patterns and colors.
The Ultimate in Homegrown Gifts: General Store of Minnetonka Minnetonka
Minnesotans can’t get enough Minnesota. Take it from General Store of Minnetonka, the 31-year-old mega boutique where an entire department is devoted to gifts with local flavor (great for custom gift baskets!). “Lady slippers and loons aren’t the only souvenirs anymore,” says Jenny Putnam, a store buyer. “People are crazy for anything that speaks to our local Minnesota-isms!” Dontcha know.
Impress the Out-of-Towners: JB Hudson Downtown Minneapolis
If ever you’re feeling glum about downtown shopping, head to JB Hudson jewelers in the historic Young-Quinlan building for inspiration.
What to note: The 130-year-old clock above the Nicollet Mall entrance; the original plaster ceiling; the cases and chandelier from the old store, dating back to the 1920s.
What to shop: Top-of-the-line jewelry and watches from brands such as Cartier, John Hardy, Marco Bicego.
Don’t miss: The certified pre-owned watch selection—a great way to get a Rolex or Paddox for 30 to 50 percent off the original price.
Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Day Brightener: Bean + Ro St. Louis Park
Bean + Ro, which evolved from Grand Frames, is fast becoming our destination for clever personalized gifts, like the YETI cooler. They updated the hottest—er, coolest—tailgating accessory by adding a monogram that’s available in a variety of fonts and colors.
The Trendsetter: Max’s St. Louis Park
Max’s bridges the gap between fashion and fine jewelry, selling collections that are both. Let’s be honest: The gourmet chocolates are a big draw, too. Always on the pulse of trends, owner Ellen Hertz is currently excited about Suzanne Kalan’s baguette bangles, Carolina Bucci silk and woven wrap bracelets, and inverted-set diamonds from Todd Pownell.
Three fragrances you’ll only find locally at La Petite Parfumerie:
Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle Notes of oriental rose, sandalwood, and patchouli are perfect for fall and winter ($240 for 50 ml.).
Amyris Femme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian This musky amber scent has accents of orange and Haitian vetiver ($185 for 70 ml.).
Bal d’afrique by Byredo An exotic unisex scent inspired by the Parisian infatuation with African culture in the late 1920s ($145 for 50 ml.).
The Innovator: Michele Tobin
Turning a profit is the indisputable goal for most retailers. But at the Walker Art Center, store director Michele Tobin is charged with reflecting the museum’s artistic mission.
And making money. “I’ve honed this very specific skill that doesn’t seem applicable anywhere else,” she jokes. No matter: The Walker is unlikely to let Tobin get away after the year she’s had.
Tobin and design director Emmet Byrne attracted national attention with Intangibles, a collection of experiences that intersect with art, commerce, and Internet, giving shoppers the unprecedented opportunity to buy things like a Snapchat with photographer Alec Soth. There will be more Intangibles to come, Tobin promises.
This summer, Tobin sat on a panel alongside heavy hitters from Nordstrom, The Land of Nod, and Refinery29 to review product lines for Etsy Wholesale, a private, juried marketplace that the popular e-commerce site created to connect retailers to independent artists. Look for an Etsy display at the shop this fall. “We’re craving handmade things,” Tobin says. “It’s the counterpoint to digital.”