Lake Effect’s merchandise, including a mini wood boat children’s wagon.
Excelsior, the town on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, is synonymous with lake 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 Lake Minnetonka’s boaters. It’s the latest entry in Excelsior’s recent retail boom over the last year, which has included the openings of stores such as Gray Home + Lifestyle, Golden Rule Collective, and a new storefront for The Sitting Room (coming soon, Epitome Papers).
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 embark on 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 of 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 by Minnesota’s own Signature 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 gurgle 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-grandfather, Chris Smith, founded Chris Craft, “so it’s very important to our family,” she says. One of her uncles continues the tradition by crafting mahogany trunks for Chris Craft. They’re expensive, Riley admits, but an heirloom piece guaranteed to stay in the family for years to come.
By Jahna Peloquin
Photos by Jahna Peloquin