Excelsior Boutique Lake Effect. PHotos by TJ Turner.
Excelsior, the charming town on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, is synonymous with water culture. And now it has a shop dedicated to the boating lifestyle: Lake Effect. The new shop is equal parts New England and Minnesota, filled with nautically inspired home decor and gifts geared toward local boaters.
The store is owned by Danielle Riley, who grew up boating on Lake Minnetonka with her parents. She managed her family’s store, Scandia Down, at Galleria for five years before deciding to launch her own shop. She updated a store concept named Lake Affect, originally created by one of her aunts.
The shop’s products are largely unique to Minnesota, including custom-made mini wood boats crafted into children’s wagons, rockers, and even dog dishes—all of which can be customized with the name of a boater’s vessel. Other goods include topographical maps of Lake Minnetonka, laser-engraved wood clocks dedicated to Minnesota lakes (also customizable), and a woodcut featuring the names of Minnesota breweries. There’s also plenty of gear for serious boaters, including plastic tumblers, bamboo sunglasses that float (so you never lose another pair in the lake), and non-skid dinnerware, as well as some nautical clothing for women, rubber sandals, and fish-shaped Gurgle Pots that percolate when they pour.
But the store’s biggest “get” is branded gear from Chris Craft, a U.S. heritage builder of a range of motor yachts, cruisers, launches, and bow-riders. Riley’s great-great-great-grandfather, Chris Smith, founded Chris Craft; today one of her uncles continues the tradition by crafting mahogany trunks featuring the Chris Craft name. They’re expensive, Riley admits, but heirloom pieces are guaranteed to stay in the family for years to come.
Lake Effect, 219 Water St., Excelsior, 952-474-1229, facebook.com/lakeeffectmn