Neighborhood Fave Stonecrop Gets New Owner

New owner talks shop about the past, present, and future of the longtime local favorite.
New owner talks shop about the past, present and future of the longtime local favorite.

“It’s my intent to continue the spirit of the store.”—Diane Knutson, new owner

Diane Knutson was a loyal customer of Stonecrop, a premier shop for unique home décor and gift items, long before last June, when she became its second owner in its 18 years. When Stonecrop founders Jim and Kathy Buley sent out an email to customers last February, letting them know that they were putting their family-owned business on the market, Knutson was immediately intrigued. “I looked through my house, and I thought, ‘That’s from Stonecrop, that’s from Stonecrop, that’s from Stonecrop’,” says Knutson, who receives a gift certificate to Stonecrop from her brother every year. Knutson had worked in business and had always wanted to own a gift shop of some kind. When she realized that her favorite establishment was for sale, she weighed the news carefully before deciding to pursue the opportunity. She contacted the broker, and a few months later took over ownership of one of Maple Grove’s most beloved shops.

“It’s my intent to continue the spirit of the store,” Knutson says. As a customer, she valued Stonecrop’s tasteful gifts for all of life’s celebrations and season-appropriate approach to home décor. Knutson notes that the Buleys were actively involved in the transition of ownership and that all other Stonecrop employees have stayed on at the store. Additionally, Knutson loves that the selection at Stonecrop is “literally one of a kind”. Currently, Stonecrop sells the work of twenty different artists, two of whom are employed at Stonecrop. “Artists stop in [the store]. They see if there are special requests,” Knutson says. She intends to continue offering personal and unique gifts from artists around the metro area. 

 The earthy and elegant garden section also remains a Stonecrop staple. “Nature inspires so many things,” says Knutson, who embraces the store’s namesake, a type of succulent plant, as a “foundation of gardens”. Knutson is already looking forward to Stonecrop’s annual garden party this spring, and she relishes that Stonecrop’s selection emphasizes the connection between indoor and outdoor decoration.

As Knutson focuses on preserving the quality and creativity of items that metro area shoppers have grown to love, she is also excited to add her own touch to Stonecrop. With her extensive background in the business world and her long held interest in design, Knutson is well-equipped to guide Stonecrop forward. She is particularly interested in choosing inventory that will inspire customers. One special item can spark an idea or become the focal piece of a room, and Knutson wants Stonecrop shoppers to walk away with items they can build a room around. Stonecrop is also currently increasing its gift selection for men in what Knutson affectionately calls the “man cave section” of the store. Knutson hopes that this will provide even more variety in a store that is already known for its thoughtful and distinctive gifts for all kinds of occasions. 

 Knutson has enjoyed her introduction to the people, places, and things that make Stonecrop a unique shopping experience, and she’s excited about the store’s future. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter and getting to know the customers more,” she says. 

Diane Knutson’s Picks for the Perfect Hostess Gift

1. A hand-painted pot – Pick a unique pot, crafted by one of Stonecrop’s local artists, and fill it with artificial or real greenery, linens, or candy for a personalized touch.
2. Slate trays and iron mice – Knutson says this “clever gift” is a delightful choice for serving appetizers, particularly cheese. The trays are sourced from Minnesota slate and sealed with a food safe coating.
3. A tea cup – A delicate, thoughtful and beautiful choice that is particularly appreciated when paired with homemade treats.