The quaint town of Victoria, located three miles west of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, has seen something of a mini retail boom over the past year, with several new shops opening within the same block of one another offering an array of modern clothing, accessories, home goods, and gifts, with an emphasis on handmade goods by makers from Minnesota and beyond. Make the trip, and hit three shops in one fell swoop.
Willa June Apparel + Home: With a focus on women’s apparel, accessories, home goods, and gifts, Willa June opened its doors back in January of this year. The store sells a trend-forward, casual-chic selection of clothing by brands such as Gentle Fawn, Chaser, Splendid, Cupcakes and Cashmere, and Minnesota’s own Sota Clothing, plus denim from James and AG, footwear by Dolce Vita, throw pillows and blankets, tea light votives, semi-precious stone bracelets, and hand-poured candles by Mame Luxury Soy Candles.
Where: 7940 Victoria Dr., Suite 102, Victoria, 952-855-4351, shopwillajune.com
Winnie Lu: Located across the street from Willa June, Winnie Lu opened in August, selling rustic farmhouse styled home goods and gifts, many of which are by Minnesota makers. Products include Duluth’s Woodfire Candy Company’s wood-wick, soy-wax candles in cozy scents such as tobacco-and-honey and campfire, plus Minnesota-state baby onesies, dog collars made with leather and Pendleton wool, naturally dyed scarves, and Rifle Paper Co. products.
Where: 7924 Victoria Dr., Suite 103, Victoria, 952-443-2757, shopwinnielu.com
White Birch House: This new boutique opened in March of this year within the same building as Willa June, offering a unique selection of furniture, home décor, and gifts with a modern-farmhouse aesethetic. The selection includes goods from several Minnesota brands, such as Thymes fragrances and candle and wool throws by Faribault Woolen Mills, plus vintage European metal bowls, S’well water bottles, and Bavarian bread boards made from 19th-century reclaimed wood. Recently, the store has picked up women’s clothing—think cozy knits in neutral tones—handbags (including wool-felt handbags by Minnesota’s own LES Bags), and minimalist jewelry.
Where: 7940 Victoria Dr., Suite 104, Victoria, 952-737-1884, whitebirchhouse.com
While you’re there, eat and drink at these Victoria hot spots:
- The School of the Wise: Find nitro cold brew coffee on tap, handcrafted Belgian waffles, and hickory-smoked brisket sandwiches at this cozy coffee shop, cafe, and wine bar. 1750 Tower Blvd., Suite 103, Victoria, 952-361-9463
- The Noble Lion: Familiar European and Mid-American fare gets an elevated twist with nods to German and Minnesota heritage this eatery, which opened this past April. Beer-brined pork chops, jager schnitzel, scallops and bacon, and Lake Superior whitefish cakes—plus an extensive wine, beer, and cocktail list—within a clean, modern setting. 7940 Victoria Dr., Victoria, 952-855-1008, thenoblelion.com
- Roulette’s Pizza: This family-owned, longtime pizza shop has a cult following for its gourmet pizza pies, which includes gluten-free options, plus subs, salads, and pasta. 1550 Arboretum Blvd., Victoria, 952-443-4644, roulettespizza.com
- ENKI Brewing Tap Room: This microbrewery is one of the best places to find craft beer in the southwest metro, and in warmer months, boasts a backyard beer garden patio. 1495 Stieger Lake Ln., Victoria, 952-300-8408, enkibrewing.com