Local boutiques are the new department stores. In an increasingly global society where everything from dental floss to designer dresses can be ordered online and chain stores tend to look the same, independent boutiques give our neighborhoods distinct flavor. They champion the “makers” among us. They help us cut through the clutter, stand out from the crowd, and give more thoughtful gifts. They inspire our closets and homes. The Twin Cities—birthplace of some of the biggest national chains—is also home to many of the most charming and innovative smaller stores. These are the leaders.

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