The polls have closed, and those candidates left standing celebrate a win.
Everyone has their favorites. Perhaps you have a saying on your wall that expresses your view on life, or a window sticker on your car that reflects your take on an issue, or you wear a T-shirt that shows support for a favorite team. We express our preferences in myriad ways and Maple Grove makes it exceedingly clear each year as to who gets their backing as the “best” in a number of categories during the Maple Grove Magazine Best of 2014 competition. The races are always a bit heated because the competition can be tough. But, when the polling is closed and a clear winner emerges, we celebrate the fact that we are extraordinary in having so many great options to vote for, so many people who do their jobs well, so many businesses that exemplify service and community spirit.
Food and Restaurants
Megan Mitchell, Maple Tavern
Megan, who goes by her last name, Mitchell, has been bartending for six years, three of those years at Maple Tavern. Her boss, David Lantos, was not the least bit surprised that she was a finalist. “She is a friendly conversationalist that people love to come in and see,” he says. “Although she can and will put you in your place if you ask for it!” 9375 Deerwood Lane N.; 763.425.2700.
Finalists: Granite City Food and Brewery, Rush Creek Golf Club
“I’d like to think that we are recognized not just for the quality of our goods but also for the impact we have on our communities,” says owner Abby Jimenez. Nadia Cakes supports many local causes geared towards helping sick children and aiding local families in need like donating dream cakes to seriously ill children through Icing Smiles. Last Christmas, they started a new tradition and become a drop off location for children’s letters to Santa. The staff made sure that every letter received a hand penned response to the children who wrote to the big guy. “One of the letters we got was from a 5-year-old boy named Zander. Zander and his family spent 3 months that year homeless, “ Jimenez says. “We decided a letter from Santa wasn’t going to be enough; instead we adopted Zander and his little brother Derek’s Christmas lists and sent them all the gifts they asked for.” That’s what Nadia Cakes is about: doing what’s right for their customers and staff. “It’s our compass,” Jimenez explains. “Do what’s right.” 11650 Fountain Drive; 763.575.8885.
Finalists: Chez Arnaud, Panera Bread
Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon
Wild Bill’s takes great pride in their burgers. Their Angus ground beef is never frozen, hand-pattied and served on a butter grilled bun sourced from a local bakery. They use the freshest topping ingredients they can get their hands on and offer a bevy of creative toppings like mushrooms and teriyaki sauce. On Mondays only, get an original burger and fries for only $5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. That gets our vote! 12730 Elm Creek Blvd. N.; 763.420.2422.
Finalists: 5 Guys Burgers and Fries, Maple Tavern
3 Squares Restaurant
At 3 Squares you can get breakfast all day long. In fact, approximately 50 percent of their business is breakfast food, so they have a lot of practice making steak and eggs, and pancakes that look like Mickey Mouse, especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Their most requested item? French toast! “We know that we may be a bit biased,” says general manager Tim Walker, “but we think that it is the best around!” 12690 Arbor Lakes Pkwy. N.; 763.425.3330.
Finalists: Granite City Food and Brewery, The Original Pancake House
Best Ethnic Food
When it comes to ethnic food Maple Grove continues to appreciate the sweet, sour, bitter and salty taste combinations found in the authentic Thai food offered at Sawatdee. And, if you are ready for an Asian mashup, you can also order fresh sushi and other Japanese favorites. You can even watch the nimble fingers of the sushi chef making your custom roll. 7885 Main St. N.; 763.494.5708.
Finalists: El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, P.F. Chang’s
Best Happy Hour
Malone’s Bar and Grill
Malone’s just hit their third anniversary and they have captured the vote in the 3 to 6 p.m. period each weekday, known as happy hour. “I think we’ve created a great place for gathering with friends and relaxing after a long day of work. Our atmosphere and menu really cater to everyone,” says Malone’s general manager, AJ Stevens. In case you miss the afternoon slot, slip in between 8 and 11 p.m. (Sun.-Thurs.) for a happy—or perhaps “happier”—hour when Stevens and his crew continue to serve everything from wings and steak bites, to jumbo mugs of beer and specialty cocktails. 12635 Elm Creek Blvd. N.; 763.447.6500.
Finalists: Houlihan’s, Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse
Best Wine Selection
Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse
Pittsburgh Blue has an expansive wine list where everyone can find a wine they like in a price range they are comfortable with. Better yet, the staff is great at making informative recommendations if you are unsure. Their most popular wine right now, by the glass, is the house cabernet; by the bottle, it’s the Alexander Valley Vineyards cabernet. However, general manager Felipe Navarro says he wishes more people would try the Jordan cabernet. “To me it is a well-balanced cabernet that has a very versatile flavor profile, meaning that it can go with a variety of foods or it can be consumed by itself,” he says. 11900 Main St. N.; 763.416.2663.
Finalists: Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano, Redstone American Grill
Best Kid-friendly Restaurant
Dave and Buster’s
What is it about Dave and Buster’s that makes kids feel right at home? General manager Mike Laudizio thinks it’s the combination of “food, drinks and games in an ideal environment for celebrating all-out fun”. However, while a kid may lobby for Dave and Buster’s, it’s a parent that casts the final vote. Dave and Buster’s gets the nod. 11780 Fountains Way; 763.493.9815.
Finalists: 3 Squares Restaurant, The Lookout Bar and Grill
Best New Restaurant
Redstone American Grill
We were glad when Redstone was able to throw its hat into the ring for New Restaurant by opening in Maple Grove. With upscale dishes like rigatoni bolognese, pesto crusted halibut and blackberry jus pork tenderloin served in tastefully appointed surroundings, by an attentive wait staff, we can throw our backing their way along with the voters (with extra points for their open flame rotisserie). 12109 Main St. N.; 763.420.0232.
Finalists: Chick-fil-A, Malone’s Bar and Grill
Best Outdoor Dining
The Lookout Bar and Grill
This is true outdoor dining for the entire family. The Lookout patio has a playground, volleyball court, tether ball, horse shoes and a fenced-in yard where kids can romp. In the summer, it’s a hot spot for watching the Maple Grove Days fireworks. “This year we have added a few things to the patio to make it island themed,” says banquet coordinator Lauree Benkowski. “We have added palm trees around the perimeter and hammocks to lounge around in.” 8672 Pineview Lane N.; 763.424.4365.
Finalists: 3 Squares Restaurant, Redstone American Grill
Best Private-Party Venue
Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse
It’s not enough to win in the Best Wine Selection category this year, Pittsburgh Blue had to give us a spectacular place in which to drink that venerable vino. Their private dining room can seat up to 55 people, but still feels intimate. You can book the room with a specialty menu for a large group (if you are lucky enough to reserve it first) or seat up to 18 in a smaller portion of the room (again, if you call it early). 11900 Main St. N.; 763.416.2663.
Finalists: Houlihan’s, Rush Creek Golf Club
Best Pasta Dish
Fettucini with Lobster at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
Black fettuccini tossed with lobster, wild mushrooms and a homemade lobster-cream sauce. Need we say more? 12051 Elm Creek Blvd. N.; 763.416.2225.
Finalists: Mac and Cheese at 3 Squares Restaurant, Butternut Squash Ravioli at Malone’s Bar and Grill
Best Cool Building
Hands down, the coolest building in Maple Grove has to be the Great River Energy Headquarters. It’s not just the contemporary exterior that exudes an “I’m here but not screaming for attention” vibe, or the iconic wind turbine planted boldly out front next to solar panels and intentional green space, and it’s not even the Platinum LEED-certification the structure boasts, making it one of the most energy-efficient and sustainable buildings in the state: it’s the way the building sits without apology in the middle of prime shopping and eating real estate and holds its place as a strong presence, supporting the community in which it resides. Cool!
Building at present in the Cedarcrest neighborhood, at the intersection of Bass Lake Road and Lawndale Lane, LDK Homes offers stunningly beautiful new homes full of amenities that look like they came directly off the page of the latest national interior design magazine. 8242 125th Ave., Milaca; 763.268.9232.
Finalists: J Brothers Home Improvement, Lennar Homes
Best Home Retail/Furnishings
A Place Called Home
A Place Called Home is a perennial favorite because they carry an unparalleled offering of unique home furnishings. Co-owner David Bakken is well known for his design style and it shows in everything you see in his store. 7889 Main St. N.; 763.773.4663.
Finalists: HomeGoods, Pottery Barn
Best Interior Designer
Koppendrayer says that when she was younger her favorite thing to do was walk through furniture stores and model homes. “For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for design and I am just lucky enough that I get to live out my dream.” She is the interior designer at LDK Homes (winner in the Best Builder/Remodeler category this year) where she works with clients who take full advantage of her vast array of product knowledge and ability to design in a range of styles from contemporary to traditional, and everything in between. 8242 125th Ave., Milaca: 763.639.3573.
Finalists: A Place Called Home, Pier 1 Imports
Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery
Landscapers at Lynde’s are getting their equipment ready this month, anxious to begin their first projects of the season, if the weather cooperates. They undertake both commercial and residential landscaping projects of all sizes. 9293 Pineview Lane N.; 763.420.4400.
Finalists: Task Masters, Patio Town
Best Garden Shop
Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery
It’s no surprise that Lynde would carry away the vote as both the Best Landscaper and Best Garden Shop in town. They’ve been operating for over 100 years, and during the 40 of the years they have been in Maple Grove they’ve established more than a few recognizable, friendly faces. “Gardening can be therapeutic and rewarding, so we do our very best to provide our customers with the materials needed to produce a garden that they can be proud of,” says Rachel Czech, sales and marketing administrator. 9293 Pineview Lane N.; 763.420.4400.
Finalists: Border Magic, Lowe’s
Health & Wellness
Dr. Douglas Broman, Broman Chiropractic
Dr. Broman has been helping people to better health in Maple Grove for more than 25 years. He has specialized training in the treatment of “whiplash injury” and is certified in acupuncture, as well as non-surgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, rotator cuff and various soft tissue conditions. 7237 Forestview Lane N.; 763.420.8595.
Finalists: Dr. Keith Johnson, Johnson Chiropractic Clinic; Revolution Chiropractic Wellness Center
Best Dental Clinic
Maple Grove Family Dental Clinic
They opened their doors 29 years ago and many of Maple Grove Family Dental Clinic’s original patients continue to see them, as do their children and, now, grandchildren. In fact, along with gentle, caring treatment, their goal has always been to gain a sense of confidence and commitment from their patients and to have them become patients for life. Looks like their “lifers” know how to vote. 12000 Elm Creek Blvd. Ste. 220; 763.420.4421.
Finalists: Metro Dentalcare, Park Dental
Dr. Mark Dale, Accorde Orthodontists
If you want a healthy smile, the voters say you should spend a bit of time with Dr. Mark Dale. He’s straightened a lot of Maple Grove teeth over the years and proves how fun braces can be. Really! Check out his website where you can map the color of the bands for your braces. 6810 Hemlock Lane N.; 763.425.9888.
Finalists: Kottemann Orthodontics, TC Orthodontics
Best Pediatric Clinic
Partners in Pediatrics
A total of eight doctors and three nurse practitioners at Partners in Pediatrics team up to bring care to newborns all the way into their college years. “As an affiliate clinic of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, we are able to offer our patients some great resources,” says Mary Jenkins, clinic administrator. 12730 Bass Lake Road; 763.559.2861.
Finalists: Park Nicollet, South Lake Pediatrics
Best Yoga Class
Gentle Flow, Heat Yoga Studio
On your whistlestop tour to better health, heat yoga can accelerate the effectiveness of your daily workout. At Heat Yoga Studio you can assume the downward dog in Hot (105 degrees) or Warm (95–100 degrees), but voters chose Gentle Flow (80 degrees) as their favorite yoga class. 6818 Hemlock Lane N.; 763.400.7453.
Finalists: Yoga Sculpt at CorePower Yoga, Hot Vinyasa LifePower Yoga at Life Time Fitness
Best Fitness Studio
Life Time Fitness
“Life Time Fitness Maple Grove is not just your typical gym,” says manager Lauren Flinn, “it offers a variety of programs and services to help individuals find ways to achieve success with a program that they like doing ranging from group fitness, small group training, swimming, yoga, etc.” If you are looking for support in your fitness goals, voters say this is one of the best places to find it. 12601 82nd Ave. N.; 763.420.8282.
Finalists: CorePower Yoga, Orangetheory Fitness
Best Golf Course
Rush Creek Golf Club
Rush Creek is an 18-hole championship golf course that has hosted many national events. The nature and scenery on the course will make you shrug off that last slice. If not, their golf academy combines premier instructors with top-notch equipment and facilities (including a 300-yard practice range) to help you adjust that swing. 7801 Co. Road 101; 763.494.8844.
Finalists: Pheasant Acres, Sundance Golf & Bowl
Best Medspa/Rejuvenation Clinic
Rejuvenation comes in many forms. Nine years ago a female entrepreneur named Robin Bernens was scared to death to open a business. Now she says, “It was the best decision I ever made.”
Owner of Belladerm MedSpa, Bernens has gained the important trust of her clients. Whether it’s a chemical peel, laser hair removal, spider vein therapy or botox, Bernens and her highly trained staff offer the most effective FDA-approved treatments available and are careful not to recommend more than what is needed for the best long-term results. 7940 Main St.; 763.494.9905.
Finalists: New Reflections, Simonson’s Salon & Spa
Best Place to Commune with Nature
The Community Garden at Lord of Life Lutheran Church is the perfect place to not only commune with nature but to truly enjoy its beauty and unique relationship to humans. If you visit during the day you will often be the only one wandering around the patchwork of garden plots; rows of vegetables and flowers, each reflecting the particular relationship of a specific gardener with their portion of nature. There’s always a bite to eat in this place. And really, what better way to commune than to have nature inside of you, becoming a part of you and ultimately you a part of it?
Lord of Life’s LifeGARDEN donated 12,668 pounds of produce to C.R.O.S.S. foodshelf in 2013.
Best Children’s Shop
It might have won for Best Children’s Shop, but there are also cool things for adults at Creative Kidstuff. You can build a bot, play a board game, try out your skateboard skills—your kid may have to take the toys out of your hands before it gets embarrassing. 11647 Fountains Drive; 763.424.2576.
Finalists: Edelweiss Baby, Little Feet Childrens Shoes
Best Sporting Goods
Dave’s Sport Shop
Dave’s carries equipment and customized team apparel. They also have a state-of-the-art repair shop and a staff that knows their business. Voters trust Dave’s to outfit them for an active lifestyle. 13950 Grove Drive; 763.420.8837.
Finalists: Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI
Best Small-Business Customer Service
Because Willow Salon takes such pride in each one of their clients, it’s hard to deliver anything but a great customer service experience. Here, it’s personal! 13555 Grove Drive; 763.494.0399.
Finalists: First Class Mortgage, Stonecrop
Best Gift Shop/Place to Buy Unique Gifts
Goodthings has 5000 sq. ft. filled with unique items for all ages. “Our customers know when they are looking for something unique and want to get away from all the big box and discount stores, Goodthings is the place they go,” says owner Tyler Conrad. Most customers don’t know that Goodthings is a 41 year old family owned business. Again, unique. 12139 Elm Creek Blvd. N.; 763.494.9255.
Finalists: Stonecrop, The Woods
Mark Michael Diamond Designs
Ninety-five percent of what Mark Michael Diamond Designs sells is designed and manufactured on site. “This allows us to fill our showcases with a variety of completely unique designs that simply can’t be seen anywhere else in the Twin Cities,” says owner Mark Lauer. While they create the finest in materials and craftsmanship, they aren’t as expensive as people expect. And, when customers reuse their own gold and stones, allowing Lauer to create a new design, he says the savings increase. 7897 Main St. N.; 763.494.5700.
Finalists: Goldwear Jewelers; Jared, The Galleria of Jewelry
Best New Shop
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods is a leading natural and organic grocer, and while you can score organic in a limited way at other area grocers, the nearest organic specialty shop was quite a jaunt from Maple Grove. We welcome Whole Foods to the neighborhood with a big vote of confidence as Best New Shop, and some darn good cooking tips and fab recipes on the website and in-store too. 12201 Elm Creek Blvd.; 763.416.7300.
Finalists: Daily Dose Café and Espresso, Mainstream Boutique
Last year they won in the Best New Shop category. They’ve got a loyal following because they have the most fashion-forward designs available and stellar staff to help any woman look her best. 15501 Grove Circle N.; 763.315.0812.
Finalists: Hot Mama, Stonecrop
Owners Jim and Donna Hawley are well known in the community for their active high school sponsorships and for providing free eye exams and eyewear to underprivileged children in Osseo area schools. They maintain an unmatched selection of eyewear and sunwear brands and fill outside prescriptions as well. It’s easy to “see” why they are winners. 13195 Weaver Lake Road; 763.420.5112.
Finalists: Bass Lake Family EyeCare, LensCrafters
Good Karma is a small foster-based animal rescue. While I applaud the way they save homeless and forgotten animals from high-kill shelters and high-risk situations, they rise to the top of my editor’s ‘best’ list because their philosophy of rescue is based on quality instead of quantity. Good Karma fosters dogs in family environments in order to get to know the animal’s temperament and personality. This way, the match with an adoptive family is more likely to be successful. Instead of simply being a “connector” between needy animals and prospective owners, Good Karma understands the importance of (and time required to build) relationship. They also lavish their volunteers with gratitude and outlandish support, and they are never short on sharing furry cuddles.
Our community is our greatest asset when it comes to creating a safe and invigorating environment for raising the next generation.
Kids & Family
Best Winter Activity
You may have witnessed a curious sight, driving through Elm Creek Park Reserve this winter, and thought. “What in the world is that person doing in skis, wearing a harness, hooked up to a…dog?” It’s called skijoring and if you have a dog with some pent-up winter energy, and you like the feeling of the wind in your hair accompanied by fast moving scenery as you glide across winter itself, then this is the activity for you. No dog? Well, it’s fun to watch, too.
Best High School Teacher
Beth Hellstedt, Maple Grove Senior High (choir)
“Being a teacher is sometimes like being an actor,” says Beth Hellstedt. “You are ‘on stage’ all day and you have to keep the ‘audience’ engaged. So, I try to be high energy and funny, and probably come off being a little crazy at times! I will do just about anything to get my students to sing more confidently or to perform with more passion.” Hellstedt leads choir concerts that are engaging for audience members as well as performers; her musical theatre students are also held to professional standards and their hard work has resulted in sold-out performances and multiple awards. 9800 Fernbrook Lane N.; 763.391.8700.
Finalists: Matt Detloff, MGSH (social studies/ football coach); Bill Quan, OSH (science/volleyball coach)
Best Community Event/Festival
Maple Grove Days
Our community’s annual Maple Grove Days celebration is anticipated by many, near and far, for many different reasons. The streets are lined with thousands of spectators for a big parade, the Community Center is filled with visitors to 130 Business Expo booths, two stages of live entertainment offer a variety of talent for young and old, smells fill the air of the ever popular Lions Corn Feed, and entrants line up in serious fashion for the Rice Lake Run and in comical fashion for the fun-filled Rotary bed races. Families enjoy time together as they participate in the Kids Run, Kids Parade or games of all sorts, garden tours, an art fair, competitions galore, fireworks and so much more.
“The pleasure and pride of Maple Grove Community Organization volunteers (over 250 of them) working together for months to produce a successful Maple Grove Days for our community and neighboring communities, is evident over and over again for more than 25 years,” says organizer Deb Syhre. “Maple Grove Days brings us all together; embracing why we live in and love Maple Grove, Minnesota.” 12951 Weaver Lake Road; 763.494.5985.
Finalists: Maple Grove Farmers Market, Taste of Maple Grove
Best Kids’ Birthday Party Spot
For kids ages 12 and under, the Maple Maze is a treat. Multiple routes throughout the jungle-themed space bring kids down one of four slides and entice them to ascend again to crawl, swing, push and jump their way back down. Book a party room and you can grab some down time opening presents and eating cake. They also offer packages like the Princess Party or the Superhero Party package which include paper products, decorations, balloons and props. It’s an easy way to host a fun gathering while keeping your living quarters in order. 12951 Weaver Lake Road; 763.494.6500.
Finalists: Chuck E. Cheese’s, Dave and Buster’s
Best Doggy Daycare/Kennel/Boarding
Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove
Animal Wellness Center swept the category again this year and when you look at their website you can see why they are so popular. Nervous about how your dog or cat is doing at this spa-like retreat while you are at work or away on vacation? If they’re not outside playing, you can check in on them at any time via the webcam in their room. 7000 E. Fish Lake Road; 763.420.7958.
Finalists: All Seasons Canine Country Club, Six Wags Dog Daycare
Best Veterinary Services
Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove
Animal Wellness Center is a one-stop shop for behavior training, luxury boarding, day care, chiropractic, acupuncture and grooming services, not to mention veterinary care, including dentistry. “We truly care about our patients and provide a lifetime personalized care plan covering all their needs,” explains clinic manager Sue Maki. 7000 E. Fish Lake Road; 763.420.7958.
Finalists: Corcoran Pet Care Center, Heritage Animal Hospital
Best Music Lessons
Prima Music Studio
Prima provides music education from birth to 5 years of age. The seeds of this early music education prepare students to continue playing the piano and growing their love for music in general. Music classes also provide new parents a place to meet other parents. “I understand the needs of children and can truly relate to my students and parents alike,” says owner Jane Tate, a mother of four. “My students are an extension of my own family. We all root for each other. I think this is why we are successful.” 8264 Revelwood Place; 763.200.3042.
Finalists: Guitar Center, Pitch Fever Music Academy
Step By Step Montessori School
Children at Step By Step learn to work independently in the classroom in each subject area. Montessori training also teaches grace and courtesy and the children learn what it means to be a role model. “At Step By Step Montessori, we focus on preparing a child for more than kindergarten, we’re preparing them for life,” says school director Minny Kouanechao. 11601 73rd Ave. N.; 763.315.3602.
Finalists: Ave Maria Academy, Primrose School of Maple Grove
Best Summer Program/Camp
You may know that Kidstop offers a place to bring your child during the summer where they can work on fun projects, take off-site field trips and participate in special events. What you may not know is that Kidstop is a great place to get healthy. The program partners with Lifetime Fitness in Maple Grove to provide weekly nutrition, wellbeing and fitness opportunities. Each site also has a Go Out For A Run (GO FAR) program in which two times each week, K-8th grade students train for an end of the summer 5K run and 1K walk at Elm Creek Park Reserve. This summer’s theme is “Get in the Game.” 7051 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Center; 763.585.7280.
Finalists: Camp ROCKS!, YMCA
Best Pet Grooming/Services
Shaggy Dog Grooming
Shaggy Dog has a big passion for the community. “The big box stores go through groomers like crazy,” says owner Patti Swanson. “All my employees live and shop locally.” Swanson has had a small business in Maple Grove for more than 20 years. You’ll find her and her staff on Fish Lake Road, just south of Zinna and Wedgewood Ways. 7488 E. Fish Lake Road, Maple Grove; 763.494.4270
Finalists: Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove, PetSmart
Best Class/ Program for Seniors
AARP 55 Alive Driver Safety Course at the Community Center
Maple Grove seniors seem to like this special curriculum designed specifically for mature drivers to review important safety tips and share tactics for safe driving on our busy roads. Upon completion of the course, individuals may apply for a 10 percent discount on their auto insurance. The class fee is minimal and the savings can be substantial. 12951 Weaver Lake Road; 763.494.6514.
Finalists: Pickleball at the Community Center, Rose Arbor and Wildflower Lodge
Personal & Professional Services
Best Financial Advisor
Yard is a certified senior advisor who has made a commitment to helping local families and individuals create comprehensive financial plans and develop financial strategies for retirement. 8181 E. Fish Lake Road; 763.416.4244.
Finalists: Tony Kieffer, Jim Bear
Lauren Miller, Willow Salon
Lauren Miller likes to cut short styles because they are all different. “I have just always loved short, sassy hair,” she says. Miller also loves to do color correction for those who have had a mishap that needs to be fixed. “It makes you think outside of the box. You get to use more of your ‘hair stylist brain’ to fix the problem,” she explains.
As with any good stylist, Miller is the confidant of many. “I have laughed with my clients, cried with my clients and been through different stages of their lives with them,” she says. “I feel truly lucky that they let me in on all parts of their lives, and I look forward to seeing them every time.” 13555 Grove Drive; 763.494.0399.
Finalists: Denise Sartor, Salon Sartor; Hannah Lewis, MarcDaniel Salon
Simonson’s Salon & Spa
While trends may come and go, “we believe that real style and beauty transcends age, sex or ethnicity,” owner Kyle Simonson says. “Our goal is to be a catalyst that brings about the unique ‘full presence’ of each individual.” From hair and skin care to nails and massage, Simonson’s is a full-service salon and spa with expertise delivered by some of the most rigorously trained and vetted technicians around. They also continuously train in the newest techniques in order to remain at the top of their game. 13950 Grove Drive, 763.494.4863.
Finalists: New Reflections, Willow Salon
Tracy Walsh, Poser Design
Capturing a subject just being themselves makes for a great photograph and that’s what Tracy Walsh has a knack for doing. “During a wedding I’m not just capturing the bride and groom as they say ‘I do’, I’m looking at the architecture of the building and how the light falls to form a dramatic composition for the image,” she says. Walsh’s goal is to create a piece of art that clients will hang on their wall. “Being real and genuine goes a long way when taking someone’s photograph too, and I believe it shows in my work,” she says. 651.538.0002.
Finalists: Clix Portrait Studios, Sports Photos Now
Best Massage Therapist
Jamie Lawless, Flawless Care Therapeutic Massage
Jamie Lawless has a wide range of experience, but specializes in injury recovery from car accidents and working with athletes. After graduating from the Aveda Institute 12 years ago, she opened her private practice. “To be able to heal with the gift of touch is extremely rewarding,” Lawless says. Her 2014 transition plan includes slowly moving away from doing so many massages and into a focus on the nutritional counselling area of her business. Born and raised in Maple Grove and a 2001 graduate of Osseo High School who attended North Hennepin Community College, Lawless proves you don’t have to stray far to find a passion and live it. 9505 Blackoaks Lane N.; 763.463.9444.
Finalists: Massage Envy, Simonson’s Salon and Spa
Best Real Estate Agent
Jarrod Peterson, Edina Realty
Peterson is a familiar face on area “for sale” yard signs and a familiar winner in this category as well. Raise your hand if he helped you find your present home. You’re not alone. 16303 80th Circle N., 763.258.4400.
Finalists: Carrie Schmitz, Keller Williams; Nick P. Johnson, Keller Williams
Best Insurance Agent
Jim Miller, American Family
After moving to Maple Grove in 1981, Jim Miller’s family decided to stay, so he moved his business to Maple Grove in 1989. “The reason for our success is that our agency is all about Maple Grove,” Miller says. “My associates Linda and Karla also have lived in Maple Grove since the 1980s. As a matter of fact, we all live within a couple of blocks of each other. Our families are heavily invested in our community and we have always believed in giving back and paying forward.” Miller’s long-time clientele no doubt cast a few votes for their favorite agent. 10650 County Road 8 Ste. 131; 763.424.7933.
Finalists: Greg Sniezek, Allstate; Steve Riebel, State Farm
Best Servant of the Community
Deb Syhre, Deb Syhre, Deb Syhre! No one even needs campaign for this woman who gives so much amazing time and energy to the community in her role as president of the Maple Grove Community Organization and chair of our favorite community event, Maple Grove Days. For her long-term commitment, care of those around her and for her generous character, we name her the best of the best of the best!