Solid Manufacturing Co.'s Founders Open Ace General Store in Excelsior

Solid Manufacturing Co. has become known for its handcrafted stools with signature paint-dipped legs, pour-over coffee stands, and leather accessories. Now, the brand’s husband-and-wife owners, Dan and Alex Cordell, are expanding with Ace General Store, a new retail storefront in Excelsior dedicated to the outdoor spirit of Minnesota and the maker movement.

“The store has been a dream of ours since starting Solid Manufacturing Co. back in 2012,” Alex explains. The couple, who moved to Excelsior earlier this year, received a phone call the day their daughter was born a few months ago letting them know the carriage house was available, and they decided to jump on the opportunity.

Ace, which fittingly celebrated its grand opening on Small Business Saturday this past weekend, has taken up residence in the old carriage house behind the Golden Rule (another maker-oriented shop) on Excelsior’s Water Street—formerly home to a showroom for Lululemon kids’ line, Ivivva. 

The shop’s offerings focus on artisan-made, practical clothing, accessories, and gear inspired by Minnesota’s tradition of enjoying the outdoors all year round. Brands include St. Paul’s own Lanona Shoe Company, Omaha’s Artifact Bag Co., San Diego bag maker Bradley Mountain, Tennessee-based workwear brand L.C. King Co., archival sport–inspired brand Ebbets Field Flannels, the masculine-scented Olo Fragrance, and heritage eyewear brand American Optical Company. Of course, Ace carries Solid Manufacturing Co.’s pour-over coffee stands, iPhone stands, stools, and a selection of leather goods, although due to the shop’s small, nearly 400-square-foot footprint, Solid goods will be on rotation to make room for other guest artisans and makers.

While the shop focuses on hand-crafted men’s clothing and accessories, it also carries a varied selection of artisan-made home furnishings and décor as well as vintage home accents. Home goods include St. Paul maker Concrete Pig’s unique concrete and metal furniture pieces, modular ceramic vessels by Japanese studio Hasami Porcelain, an assortment of Japanese cleaning brushes, Bindery paper goods, Lightwell candles, limited-edition outdoor photography prints by BLK WLF (the moniker of Minneapolis photographer Brandon Werth), and Minnesota-themed watercolor prints by Lake & Loon. The store’s vintage selection is curated, minimal, and on a constant rotation.

“The goal is for our customers to find something new during each visit,” says Alex. “The aesthetic is focused on the practical, the useful, and the beautiful.”

Ace will expand on the community-driven retail presence of Excelsior’s Water Street—which is also home to Gray Home + Lifestyle, Brightwater Clothing & Gear, Lake Effect, and Epitome Papers—by showing art and photography by local artists, hosting weekend bonfires and song-and-supper outdoor gatherings, and leading creative workshops, plus free Five Watt coffee every day.

And it won’t end there: Ace is part of a larger concept the Cordells plan to open a larger space in the next few years offering men’s retail as well as a subscription-based barber shop and billiards. “Experience-driven retail is our goal,” says Alex.

Here’s a look at the new store, now open @ 356 Water St., Excelsior: 

Modular ceramic vessels by Japanese studio Hasami Porcelain

Concrete and wood furniture by Concrete Pig

Etched leather coasters by Artifact Bag Co.

Photography prints by BLK WLF