Whether you’ve lived in the Lake Minnetonka area for five months or 50 years, you know it’s a beautiful—and interesting—place to call home. Our communities have it all: Natural beauty and opportunities to explore the outdoors; great schools and a family-friendly culture; active local governments and organizations that keep our cities clean, healthy and active; blossoming indie shops, eateries and other small businesses; and endless places to experience—and participate in—the arts.
But you already know all of that, dear readers. In fact, thanks to you, we’re able to present this annual list of your favorites: the best of Lake Minnetonka. Last fall, you voted for your favorite businesses and individuals in 38 categories, and we’re pleased to highlight the winners and runners-up here.
What if you’re brand-new to Lake Minnetonka? Maybe you recently moved to the area, or are in town for the weekend to visit family or friends. Welcome! We like to think of our annual Best of Lake Minnetonka feature as the ultimate visitors’ guide. After all, who better to recommend places to eat, drink, shop, relax and explore than the locals?
Now what are you waiting for? Stick this magazine in your bag, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to hit the town (or the trails). We’re happy you’re here!
FOOD & RESTAURANTS
With fine dining, irresistible popovers, fried cinnamon rolls and a good cold beer, this year’s top eats earned their votes with consistently delicious fare and exceptional service.
Best Patio Dining
A burger, a nice breeze, and a view of the sunset: These are a few reasons why Maynard’s is Lake Minnetonka’s favorite spot for patio dining. “We not only have the best views on the lake, but we offer a consistently high quality of food and service that keeps the locals and tourists coming back,” owner Jack Stevens says.
Runners up: CōV, Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge
(Maynard’s serves up a refreshing mojito, perfect for patio dining and drinking; Photo courtesy of Michelle Patrice Photography)
Best New Restaurant
Offering lakeside dining with an airy atmosphere and a nautical theme, CōV Wayzata provides an escape from everyday life. “Even if you’re sitting inside, it still feels like you’re outside; you really feel like a part of the lake,” manager Tom Anderson says. With walls that open up toward the lake and a large patio, CōV transports customers to an East Coast getaway in downtown Wayzata.
Runners up: Victor’s on Water, Coalition
(CōV serves up fresh, seasonal fare all year round, including this springy pan-seared salmon; Photo By Emily J. Davis)
Best Tavern & Bar
Jake O’Connor’s Public House
Owner Dermot Cowley’s Irish accent adds to the authenticity of Jake O’Connor’s Public House, with an Irish pub feel. “Coming up on 10 years old, it feels like it’s been part of the fabric of Lake Minnetonka for 100 years,” Cowley says. “After you and I are long gone, there will still be people enjoying Jake’s taverns and bars.” Come out and enjoy a drink. Slainté!
Runners up: McCormick’s Pub & Restaurant, The Narrows Saloon
Wuollet Bakery produces delicious cakes, pastries and breads on a daily basis. “Wuollet Bakery especially appreciates the support of Lake Minnetonka-area residents. We wish to continue to offer fresh bakery goods in a neighborhood, friendly, personal environment,” co-owner Jim Jurmu says.
Runners up: Patisserie Margo, Hans’ Bakery
(Find prettily plaited loaves and other delicious bakes at Wuollet Bakery; Photo by Emily J. Davis)
Hazellewood Grill & Tap Room
When asked what makes Hazellewood a memorable breakfast spot, general manager Tim Breeggemann answers, “Our complimentary popovers with maple butter. But more or less, good food, and great service.” Managing partner Lori Frazier raves about the hash browns, and the overall fresh fare: “Everything at Hazellewood is made from scratch, and 95 percent of guests are loyal regulars,” she says. “It’s the best-kept secret you’re going to want to share.” Come for a popover, or the smoked gouda hash browns, and see if you can keep this local secret to yourself.
Runners up: Scotty B’s Restaurant, Maggie’s Family Restaurant
Every day starts and ends at home, so it’s only fitting that Lake Minnetonka area residences are as charming and lovely as the scenery that surrounds them, and as comfortable as possible for the families who live there.
(A stunning master suite created by Best Builder / Remodeler Arbor Haus; Photo courtesy of MJFotography)
Best Builder & Remodeler
Arbor Haus clearly sticks to their mantra of working with honesty and integrity in all that they do, making sure to loop customers in on every step of the remodeling process. “We are always grateful to be invited into our clients’ homes to help them transform rooms into superior spaces using their uniquely personal vision and style,” owner Nate Stangler says. Building homes as well as relationships, Stangler and his team have a reputation for befriending their clients during the remodeling process.
Runners up: Shoreline Builders, Lecy Bros.
Best Home Furnishings
Manor House Interiors
Whether you envision a Mediterranean-style home makeover or ornate Christmas decor filling your entryway, the Manor House Interiors team can take it on. A full-service design firm, with offerings from accessorizing to construction, Manor House Interiors is accomplished in various design styles. While their work is beautiful, they also focus on functionality.
Runners up: The Sitting Room, Que Será
(The Manor House Interiors team designs spaces that fit each client’s style, like this stunning great-room hearth; Photo by Landmark Photography)
Best Interior Designer
Lora Marceau, Marceau Interiors
A listening ear, a passion for people and a love for design drive Lora Marceau’s success. “I take the time to really listen to what clients need and I also give clients education on design, and what will be best for their home,” Marceau says. She’s been listening to client needs for the past 15 years, making her our readers’ favorite interior designer.
Runners up: Jamie McCandlish: Manor House Interiors; Julian Design
Best Landscape Designer & Architect
Understanding that the project doesn’t stop when the last shrub is planted, the team at Outdoor Excapes commits to following up with clients after the official completion of a job. “We really excel in taking care of clients’ ongoing needs,” owner and president Hans Frees says. “It’s more than a bunch of employees; it’s a family, and we try to extend that family into the community with our customers and clients.”
Runners up: Norlings Lake Minnetonka Landscapes, Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens
Best Home Service
Abel Heating & Cooling Experts
Opening their doors in 1944, Abel Heating & Cooling Experts has an updated service plan and a more modern company van, but delivers the same devotion to customer service as when they started 70 years ago. Beginning to tinker with pipes at age 6, current owner Fred Ridler brings many years of experience and commercial training to the table, making Abel Heating & Cooling a trusted choice for locals in the Lake Minnetonka area.
Runners up: Ditter Cooling & Heating, City View Plumbing and Heating
Best Senior Living Residence
Located in the heart of downtown Wayzata, Folkestone’s new campus is spacious and luxurious, and offers a variety of amenities. “Location is a huge component for our residents,” campus administrator Mark Pederson says. “Residents have the ability to walk anywhere in downtown Wayzata outside or through the internal skyway system between our buildings.” With retail and dining in the same campus, Folkestone residents can also internally access groceries, shops and dining. In addition, there are several care options, from independent living to memory care.
Runners up: Lake Minnetonka Shores, Sunrise of Minnetonka
Editor's Pick: Best Place for a Garden Spruce-up:
Kelley & Kelley Nursery
Kelley & Kelley Nursery opened in Long Lake in 1922 and has offered lake-area residents plants and gardening advice ever since—that’s almost 100 years! Current owner Steve Kelley talked with us about his family’s green-thumb legacy and what it means to be part of the lake community.
What is your favorite part about operating in Long Lake?
It really does feel like a community. Though we no longer feel “in the country,” still the relative quiet and slow pace we’ve become used to are abundant. Everything we need is close at hand, yet hopping on 394 gets us downtown in a jiffy. Also, we appreciate getting to know local business folks, who treat us as friends….We really do operate as a small, family enterprise. The heritage of being located on the old family homestead gives us a down-home feeling, more like a garden than a garden center.
Can you share a gardening tip with our readers?
Patience: Don’t be too anxious to stomp around in the garden [this spring] before the soil is firmed up. Relax and enjoy the first delights of the emerging spring landscape before garden work begins in earnest.
What can customers find at the nursery this time of year?
Our woodland wildflower garden is quite entrancing in May. We grow many of our own perennials in the ground and will dig them at customers’ requests.
Best Landscape Designer/Architect Outdoor Excapes helps clients with yard, garden and blurring the line between indoor and outdoor living. Photo courtesy of Steve Silverman
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Lake Minnetonka residents naturally seem happy and healthy, and these great facilities support the community’s holistic health and wellbeing, year round.
Editor's Pick: Best Way to Hike Around the Lake:
Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail
The Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail stretches along the south side of Lake Minnetonka, from Hopkins all the way to the southwest metro and Carver Park Reserve. We talked with Danny McCullough, regional trail system manager for Three Rivers Park District, who shared some lesser-known facts about the LRT. So grab your bike, your roller blades, your pup, your family—or even just your own two feet—and hit the trail.
What’s the history of the trail?
The trail follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way that was originally constructed in 1881…the railroad was founded by a group of prominent Minneapolis millers and lumbermen to ensure that wheat from southern and western Minnesota could be transported to the mills at St. Anthony Falls…The line also carried passengers to Lake Minnetonka’s grand hotels during the “golden age” of lakefront resorts. It opened to the public as a trail in 1994.
Tell us about your favorite stretch of the trail.
My favorite trip is riding the trail from Minnetonka City Hall to Carver Park Reserve, with a lunch stop in Excelsior, of course! Riding along Lake Minnetonka in Deephaven and Greenwood is very scenic.
Where can people pick up the trail in our neck of the woods?
The trail crosses many quiet neighborhood streets in Deephaven, Greenwood, Excelsior and Shorewood. Those are always good places to access by bike. There is public parking along the trail at Carson’s Bay in Deephaven if you need to get there by car. The Minnetonka City Hall area has good access to the trail, too.
Best Fitness & Yoga Studio
Where are locals heading to get a good workout? Steele Fitness on Water Street. Focusing on keeping personal training personal, general manager Joel Obermeyer says, “When we train with clients, we try to tailor it and correct any imbalances, follow up and work with their schedules to provide them with the best service possible.” Offering personal training and group fitness classes on clean, well-kept equipment, Steele Fitness in Excelsior is Lake Minnetonka’s favorite place to sweat.
Runners up: Life Time Athletic, Spirit of the Lake Yoga & Wellness Center
Best Dental Clinic
West Lakes Dentistry
While most folks don’t eagerly anticipate dental check-ups, West Lakes Dentistry works to ensure clients have a consistently positive experience at the dentist’s office, whether patients come in for a routine check-up or are in need of more restorative care. In addition, West Lakes takes customer finances into consideration. “We have an in-house savings program to accommodate our patients if they don’t have dental insurance,” Tricia Grossbach says. “Being a private practice, we are able to focus on the patient when they walk in the door, with insurance, finances and patient care.”
Runners up: Excelsior Family Dental, Wayzata Family Dentistry
Best Orthodontic Clinic
Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics
The staff at Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics understands that patients sometimes need immediate service. With three locations open with flexible hours, and four doctors able to treat all patients, they have the flexibility to schedule last-minute appointments without skimping on good service. “We really balance patient care and providing a top-notch clinical experience,” office manager Heidi Saleska says.
Runners up: Kottemann Orthodontics, Ovation! Orthodontics
Best Chiropractic Clinic
The Brost Clinic
One of the largest chiropractic clinics in the area, the Brost Clinic offers a number of different therapies and treatments. “We offer acupuncture, massage therapy, decompression and nutritional supplements,” Dr. Barbro Brost says. “Having everything under one roof makes it convenient for people to get the care they need.” Originally from Sweden, Dr. Brost brings a uniquely holistic approach to the table, and the Brost Clinic is celebrating 30 years of patient care this year.
Runners up: Knewtson Health Group, SuNu Wellness
Best Pediatric Clinic
Wayzata Children’s Clinic
Celebrating 45 years in the community, Wayzata Children’s Clinic has a reputation for several generations of quality care. “It’s fun to see generations coming here; we see children come in here, and we had seen their parents and their grandparents,” clinic operations manager Patti Knapp says. What sets them apart from other pediatric clinics? “Lots of people don’t know that we are privately owned by the physicians who work here,” Knapp says, “Also, our appointments are longer than the community average, and our charges are lower than the community average.”
Runners up: South Lake Pediatrics, Park Nicollet
Best Eye Clinic
Art of Optiks
Whether you’re in need of eye care or eyewear, Art of Optiks has you covered. Owner and certified optician Stephanie Haenes started Art of Optiks 15 years ago with her husband. Now with three full-time doctors, and one great location on the lake, Art of Optiks is not only helping clients find fashionable frames, but they’re using cutting-edge technology for early detection of eye disease in clients. “We have a way of making people feel comfortable,” Haenes says, and as clients leave the shop, they can more clearly see the beautiful scenery that surrounds us.
Runners up: Northwest Eye Clinic, Excelsior Eye Care
Best Dermatology Clinic
Skin Care Doctors, P.A.
With a staff of board-certified dermatologists, Skin Care Doctors, P.A. focuses on fostering a professional but nurturing environment for patients. “We treat our patients like family; it’s a very positive atmosphere,” managing partner and president Dr. Michael Ebertz says. “We have patients from newborns to 104-year-olds, and everybody in between.” With doctors who specialize in clinical dermatology, surgical treatment of skin cancer and cosmetic dermatology, Skin Care Doctors, P.A., touches a wide range of specialties.
Runners up: Skin Specialists, Metropolitan Dermatology
InnerBeauty Med Spa & Laser
Specializing in services from make-up applications to chemical peels, the owner of InnerBeauty Med Spa & Laser, Brandi Wiege, has been in the beauty business for over 14 years. “We customize and personalize all of our services for our clients’ needs,” Wiege says, “Ensuring that our patients have 100 percent satisfaction, we go above and beyond for each client.”
Runners up: Lili Salon Spa, Wayzata Cosmetic Surgery & Spa
SHOPS & RETAIL
When you’re in search of a little “wow” gift for a friend (or, ahem, an on-fleek outfit for yourself), it helps to have a few go-to stops in your shopping arsenal. These are your favorites: fun, local and staffed by friendly folks who’ll help make shopping a breeze.
Best Apparel Boutique
“We love to style our clients…in fun, realistic fashion you can wear every day,” says Merilou owner Keaton Frees. “Our vision was to focus on creating a warm, welcoming environment.” They carry so many designers—local ones and internationally known names alike—that we can’t even begin to list them here. Stop in and pick out a piece or a whole wardrobe that’ll put a little zing in your spring.
Runners up: The House of Amore & Fede, Evereve
Best Gift Shop
General Store of Minnetonka
You know it. You love it. You go in for a quick gift or mid-day pick-me-up and (oops!) come out with a car full of unique treasures. “To make the experience over the top, enjoy a made-from-scratch breakfast or lunch…spend an hour or spend the day,” says owner Jenny Putnam. “We’re super excited about building on our unbeatable and ever-popular selection of Minnesota spirit gifts and goods (think trendy t-shirts, glassware, home decor and more), much of which are from local artisans. This adds another dimension to shopping local, which is so important to our Lake Minnetonka community.”
Runners up: Capers, The Golden Rule
(Make a day of it: With a store full of goodies and a cafe to boot, you can easily spend several hours perusing the General Store of MInnetonka; Photo courtesy of General Store of Minnetonka)
Candlelight Floral & Gifts
They’re defending their 2015 Best of Lake Minnetonka title with an enduring focus on top-quality product and over-the-top creations. But when it comes to the Battle of the Buds against fellow florists in the lake area, new co-owner Lesa Fenwich swears, “We’re all friends! It’s a friendly competition. We’ll be sitting at the awards ceremony in solidarity.” We think that’s nice.
Runners up: Bayside Floral, Excelsior Floral
Best Jewelry Store
Looking for a unique antique piece? A modern bauble? A custom creation using a unique metal or an heirloom stone? Graham Jewelers stocks pieces ranging from $50 to over $250,000; they’ll take care of jewelry repair and restoration; and they even have a full studio onsite for design and maintenance. “There’s something for everyone, at every budget,” says owner Chris Graham.
Runners up: The Golden Rule, David Douglas Jewelers
Best Liquor Store
There’s no place you’d rather go to pick up a six-pack of local brews, cocktail fixings, or a bottle of bubbly. They have a large selection of fine imported wines—Bordeaux, Rhone, upper-end California wines—from $3 a bottle and up, says store manager Patrick Brennan. There’s even a loyalty program that’ll earn you sweet discounts.
Runners up: Excelsior Vintage, Wayzata Wine & Spirits
(Pick up a bottle of wine (or beer, or spirits) at Haskell’s, your favorite liquor store.)
Best Specialty Foods Store
Yes, Kowalski’s is a grocery store. But it doubles as a restaurant or a veritable savior in case of a looming last-minute dinner party. The best part? You can take care of it all in one cart. “We go above and beyond to make sure every customer is very happy. We pack a lot of variety into a small space,” says store manager Max Maddaus. They’ve got a fresh-carved sandwich station, a pasta bar, meat counter with fresh seafood and…is anyone else getting hungry?
Runners up: Lunds & Byerlys, Lakewinds Food Co-op
Best Grocery Store
Lunds & Byerlys
They’ve got the basics and all the familiar goods you expect when running to your neighborhood grocery store. It’s the je ne sais quoi that keeps us coming back for more. “We take a lot of pride in the variety of options—it’s upscale, with conveniences like parcel pick-up, bagging, etc.,” says manager Brian Miller. “The produce is second-to-none.” The dedicated distribution center—something that’s rare for a grocer of this size—could have something to do with the ultra-fresh goods. All we can say right now is “yum.”
Runners up: Kowalski’s Market, Lakewinds Food Co-op
Editor's Pick: Best Spot for Local Makers
Minnetonka Center for the Arts
At the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, you can view stunning works of art, participate in workshops, and take classes in a wide variety of mediums and techniques. There’s even a gift shop and a café. Roxanne Heaton, executive director, tells us more about our favorite local place for getting creative.
How has the Minnetonka Center for the Arts evolved since its beginning?
In 1952, a small group of visionary “ladies of the lake” incorporated the center with a desire to create a home for art making in the western suburbs. More than 60 years later, our mission remains to make the visual arts accessible, to provide high-quality arts experiences for all ages, interests and abilities.
How do local artists get involved with the center?
With an average of 500 on-site and dozens more outreach arts classes a year, the center provides income for more than 100 teaching artists each year. Our exhibits program offers…opportunities for exhibition and artwork sales, and many open calls inviting local and regional artists to participate.
If you had to choose one favorite program, what would it be?
I do love when our summer arts camp fills the art center with the boundless energy and creativity of children ages 5 to 15. It’s also extremely satisfying that our outreach program delivers art experiences to…children and families living on the economic edge, seniors with memory loss, and adults and children with developmental or physical challenges.
FAMILY, KIDS & PETS
Sometimes it takes a village to keep a family running: from our preschool teachers to our dance coaches to our doggy daycare providers—we say kudos to these winners who keep our kids, our pets and ourselves happy and healthy.
Best Doggy Daycare & Kennel
Top Dog Country Club
On 38 acres—including 24,000 square feet of outdoor play space with a heated pool—Top Dog has one staff person for every eight furry guests. “That’s unheard of in the industry and greater than even human daycare centers,” says owner Jean Beuning. Your dog (all breeds welcome) will have five to six hours of playtime each day and get loads of one-on-one attention. From “Yappy Hour” bedtime biscuits to photography and grooming available onsite, it’ll truly be a vacation for Fido while you’re away.
Runners up: Adogo Pet Hotel, The Canine Club & Spa
Best Preschool & Childcare
Mount Calvary Preschool
They’ve got a 4-star rating with the state government’s Parent Aware service. They’re NAEYC accredited. What about super-experienced staff and a fun atmosphere that kids love? Mount Calvary Preschool gets an A+ for those, too. “Our curriculum covers all areas of development and learning: social/emotional, science, music, arts, math, literacy,” says co-director Debbie Zumbach Rengers. “Our staff has longevity—many of them have been here a long time. They’re dedicated and caring.”
Runners up: St. David’s Center, Primrose School of Minnetonka
Best Veterinary Clinic
Westonka Animal Hospital
Whether you’re in search of routine vaccinations and nail trimmings, or care for an unexpected illness or injury, Westonka is the place to go. Take advantage of their extended evening and weekend hours, and you’ll be able to scoot from a conference call to the gym to Fifi’s heartworm test in two shakes of a dog’s tail. Can we get a “woof” for that?
Runners up: Excelsior Animal Hospital, Village Animal Hospital
Best Learning & Tutoring Center
College Nannies & Tutors
A key element of the College Nannies & Tutors model is pairing up middle and high school students with young adult tutors they can learn with and look up to. “We want students to want to come to tutoring. It’s about help, not more homework,” says Laura Davis, owner of the Excelsior, Wayzata and Edina locations. “Relatability is much higher with a role model…between sessions, our tutors are also studying! They can find common ground.”
Runners up: Sylvan Learning Center, Mathnasium
Best Place to Spoil Your Pet
LuLu & Luigi
Pet-a-Cures are just one of the luxurious services offered at LuLu and Luigi. And while a blueberry facial might sound over the top—even for a person—the antioxidants will naturally get rid of unsightly tear stains on fair-colored dogs. “We’re all dog people here,” says manager Katy Flynn, mom to fur babies Hazel and Jovi. “We have a very intimate atmosphere and we’re focused on every dog that comes in.” Book those nail trims, ear cleanings and dental cleanings—and maybe throw in a temporary tattoo or pink fur highlights for a special occasion.
Runners up: Adogo Pet Hotel, Top Dog Country Club
Best Place for Kids Activities
Creo Arts and Dance Conservatory
Creo is the Latin root for “I think,” “I create” and “I believe”—and those are the three things kids can say about a lesson at faith-based, family-friendly Creo Arts and Dance Conservatory. “From age 3 on, they have a chance to improvise and create their own pieces,” says director Christa Anderson. “We teach students to be fully present, with a focus on physicality, creativity, excellence…but above all, kindness.”
Runners up: Katie Lien School of Dance, Big Thrill Factory
(Dance instruction is, well, on pointe at Creo Arts and Dance Conservatory.)
Best Music Lessons:
Minnetonka Music Academy
For both kids and adults, private music lessons can be difficult to access—because of cost, scheduling, or other barriers. To keep things in tune, Minnetonka Music Academy offers an incredibly accessible alternative for music students of all ages. The academy is a program of Minnetonka Community Education, and it offers private music lessons for all ages; before- and after-school music activities for kids; summer lessons in Chinese for students in the district’s Chinese immersion program; classes for pre-school kids and adults; and much more. Program manager Amber Yang tells us more about the academy.
What is the mission of Minnetonka Music Academy?
We believe music is essential to our lives. Music is the language of emotions, as it allows us to express feelings beyond words. We love to share our experience in learning and performing, and feel truly honored to be a part of anyone’s musical journey.
What are some of the academy’s offerings?
We work closely with all elementary, middle and high schools in the Minnetonka Public School District to design curriculum and offer programs to support music education. Our offerings include private music lessons in piano, voice, guitar, and band and orchestra instruments; band and orchestra programs at the end of the summer to prepare beginning elementary band and orchestra students for the start of the school year; and Tonka band and orchestra camps for incoming middle school students. We encourage adult students to try any of the daytime, eight-week lessons to enjoy seasonal music. It’s never too late!
We all need those experts who will give us good hair days, financial peace of mind, and—yes—a deep tissue massage or facial every now and then. Look no further.
Best Hairstylist & Barber
Heather Mackenzie, Bella on the Bay
“I love making people feel good about themselves,” says Mackenzie. With almost 20 years of advanced training, and clients who have walked the runway at New York Fashion Week, it’d be easy to assume her niche is high-fashion, ultra-trendy ‘dos. But Mackenzie focuses on getting to know her unique clients and what truly makes them feel best about themselves—with or without a red carpet. “It’s about wearable hair; not a ton of maintenance,” she says. Amen to that!
Runners up: David McCarthy, Twiggs Salon; Courtney Grace, Bella on the Bay
Best Salon & Spa
Bella on the Bay
With dozens of salons and spas in the west metro, options abound—but our readers have spoken about their favorite. Bella on the Bay is a boutique salon, housed in a renovated 1900s home near Lake Minnetonka. The venue makes going for a haircut feel like coming home…if only home had a team of knowledgeable stylists and estheticians waiting at our beck and call. “We treat our clients like guests; our clients are like friends who come to visit,” says manager Kim Richard. “We know our friends and are loyal to them, and they to us.”
Runners up: Juut Salon, Lili Salon Spa
(Tonya Cherba and the rest of the team at Bella on the Bay earned your votes for Best Salon & Spa; Photo by Amanda Gahler)
Best Financial Advisor
Rebecca Hopf, Wadell and Reed
Rebecca Hopf knows that just like no two people are alike, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to financial planning. For Hopf, every client relationship begins with an honest conversation about life stage, individual goals, and needs. Check out her website for handy calculators that’ll help you project your anticipated retirement income needs, IRA conversion costs, debt payoff schedules and more.
Runners up: Woody Balut, Edward Jones; Christina Boyd, Merrill Lynch
Melissa Davis, Bella on the Bay
Melissa “Missi” Davis goes beyond providing a great one-time appointment—she’s always keeping an eye on long-term care and wellness for her clients. “Esthetics is my passion! I love to talk it, read it, and I’m proud to be in this industry,” says Davis. “Continuing my education and keeping up with the latest research is very important to me. I strive to provide a customized experience where each client leaves not only feeling wonderful but with a better understanding and plan for how to care for their skin.”
Runners up: Tera Lawrence, Bella on the Bay; Brandi Wiege, InnerBeauty Med Spa & Laser
Best Insurance Agent
Chad Babcock, State Farm
Chad Babcock is involved with the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce, supports a number of local organizations, and is truly a neighbor to his clients. His approach to life—and business—is three-fold: “Be personal. Be a good neighbor. Differentiate,” he says.
Runners up: Janet Symons, State Farm; Colin Charlson, State Farm
Best Law Firm
“We are real people at Morrison Sund. We take pride in our firm culture that reflects our ability to relate to clients in our community,” says office manager Tammy Berlin. “We are extremely proud of providing excellent service and knowledge to our clients.”
Runners up: Sanford, Pierson, Thone & Strean, Waldron Law
Best CEO Giving Back:
Cindy Leines is the founder and CEO of CEL (which stands for “creative, effective and lasting”), a local marketing and design firm. In addition to her high-powered day job, Leines gives back to the community where she does business—a commitment that earned her recognition as the Greater Wayzata Area Chamber of Commerce’s Person of the Year in 2015. Among many other things, Leines has been involved with the Wayzata Rotary Club, Wayzata Public Schools and the Wayzata Citizens Financial Advisory Council (just to name a few); coached basketball; served as children’s music pianist at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church; and created the first Wayzata Art Experience. Her husband Darrell is also heavily involved in the community, including with Wayzata Public Schools, and their kids—Chelsea and Chad—both graduated from Wayzata High School. We asked Leines about her inspiration for volunteering, and what makes the Lake Minnetonka area so special.
How did it feel to be named Person of the Year?
It was an incredible honor and privilege. There are many people who give of their time and talents behind the scenes. The stories and memories shared at the [award] event were all reminders of the growth and challenges that have occurred over the years. Most of all, I was reminded of how truly grateful I am for all who have contributed to our company’s growth and to the community we call home.
What inspires you to give back?
Being involved in the communities in which I live and work is a part of who I am, and my parents were my example…The people in the Lake Minnetonka area make the difference.