Curved around a quiet Lake Minnetonka bay, the city of Excelsior is charming as can be, much to the delight of visitors, and the pride of residents.

It’s a sign that summer has truly arrived in Minnesota: The Cottagewood Store flipped its “closed” sign to “open” on April 30.

There’s an ebb and flow within the Artist Mercantile store on Seventh Place in Saint Paul.

Armed with more than three decades, collectively, of custom framing experience, Ken Herren and Melissa Williamson-Herren opened Your Art’s Desire Gallery of Art & Framing in Minnetonka in May 2005.

Originally located at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and providing locally made Minnesota-themed gifts, Uptown MN is now bringing local art to Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka.

The Sitting Room, an interior design firm that has called Second Street in Excelsior home for the past five years, opened a second location in November, right around the corner from its original spot.

If you live near Lake Minnetonka, cast on and spend a day cozied up by the fireplace at Excelsior’s Lakeside Yarn.

Thumb through Chuck Kanski’s reading materials and one might find wine periodicals rubbing elbows with journals examining Eastern philosophy, meditation and quantum physics.

Bob Medcraft mentions the word “serendipity” often as we sit in one of the two birthday party rooms at Choo Choo Bob’s, chatting about his store on Marshall Avenue in Saint Paul that has become a Twin Cities icon.

Upon closing Peapods Natural Toys after 17 years of business, Saint Paul residents Dan Marshall and Millie Adelsheim opened a new store in October.