Known as the Gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely Minnesota is known more for its outdoor opportunities and natural beauty than its shopping district. But not all Ely visitors come for a rugged outdoor adventure. Ely also offers much to do in way of local attractions, festivals, restaurants, and best of all, great shopping. Ely’s main street is covered from one end to the other with outfitters and boutiques. If you’re looking for a quality shopping experience with unique products you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else, be sure to check out these five gift shops first.
1. Mealey’s Gift & Sauna Shop
Located on the corner of Central Avenue and Camp Street, Mealey’s has long been a favorite of Ely’s frequent visitors. Best known for its beautiful, award winning garden and eclectic product line, Mealey’s is not your typical souvenir shop. It consists of two shops – the Sauna Store and the Furniture and Lighting Gallery. Both offer a unique blend of products. The Sauna Store offers everything you could possibly need for a home sauna; pre-fab and custom cut sauna kits, stoves (wood burning and electric), doors, hardware, accessories, even decor. Plus, the staff is knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to any questions customers may have. They also carry a great selection of toys for the kids, accessories for the kitchen, books, trinkets and bath goods – a little bit of everything. The Furniture and Lighting Gallery is right across the garden and offers high quality furniture, lighting and home accessories. Their selection of high-end pottery, glass work, metal work, jewelry and home decor may not fit everyone’s pocket book, but the one-of-a-kind artistry from American artists is well worth the expense. You will find wonderful American-made work here, plus many items that are eco-friendly and purchased on fair trade standards.
2. Pengal’s Basswood Trading Company
For three generations, Pengal’s Basswood Trading Company has been serving the Ely area. Located on Ely’s main street, it is the area’s oldest, continuously operated, family business. It began in 1915 as a candy store and has since evolved into a shop carrying a variety of goods including clothing, food specialties and gift items. The candy store and fudge shop are still part of the business, plus the store now boasts the area’s largest imprinted and embroidered sportswear collection. The upstairs level is home to a Nordic Ski Shop which carries an extensive line of swim-wear during the summer months. The detail given to the outside appearance of the shop easily draws customers in, and inside, the northwoods decor complete with antiques makes any visitor feel right at home. The selection of candy at the candy store is great, plus the fudge is homemade. And you won’t find a better selection of tees, sweatshirts and sportswear anywhere in town.
3. Evergreen Cottage
Located on Chapman Street, one block over from Ely’s main street is the Evergreen Cottage. Serving as both a spa and gift shop, the Evergreen Cottage has a little bit of everything. The spa is located upstairs of the shop, so if you’re not into being pampered, you can still find a great selection of gifts and decor for the home. Every nook and cranny of the Evergreen Cottage is covered with treasures worth finding. With pottery, glassware and tableware, the artwork and decorations found here are of the highest quality. Their furnishings reflect a cozy northwoods cottage theme and all 7 showrooms feature a variety of styles including Rustic Decor and a European Cottage design. Their own furniture line is also featured in the shop, designed and handcrafted right in Ely using native materials like birch bark and twigs. Plus, there is even an on-site whole foods pantry selling organic produce, juices and other natural foods.
4. Secret Sister’s Boutique
Located in the pretty yellow house on the corner of Ely’s main street and 2nd Avenue West, Secret Sister’s is a recent addition to Ely businesses that has taken off with a bang. The shop consists of 2 floors plus a garage full of consignment items. With a varied selection of new and consignment women’s clothing, jewelry, fashion accessories, gift items, furniture, home decor, garden accessories and antiques, Secret Sister’s has become a must-stop shop for women shoppers looking for a great deal. Their product selection is of the highest quality, so you won’t find discount-bin items here. They specialize in the trendy and stylish. Plus, the staff is welcoming and helpful to boot.
5. Brandenburg Gallery
Located on Ely’s main street, the Brandenburg Gallery is the place to stop to see the beautiful artwork of Minnesota native, Jim Brandenburg. An award-winning nature photographer, Brandenburg has traveled with National Geographic and won more prestigious awards than any other nature photographer. His Ely gallery carries an extensive collection of his work, including prints, posters and other products in a reasonably wide price range. There is also a small theater where his video projects can be viewed. Plus, the elegant design of the gallery (designed by Brandenburg himself) offers a unique solitude unlike other bustling shops in the area.
These shops are just some of the treasures you’ll find when visiting Ely. More than just tourist traps, the shops in Ely will ensure you bring home something special.
Mealey’s Gift & Sauna Shop: http://www.MealeysInEly.com
Evergreen Cottage: http://www.ElyEvergreenCottage.com
Pengal’s Basswood Trading Company: http://www.basswood-trading.com
Secret Sister’s Boutique: http://www.secretsistersely.com
Brandenburg Gallery: http://www.jimbrandenburg.com