The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

Lake Elmo brings life back to downtown

Downtown Lake Elmo is a historic town that is finally being brought back to life due to the strong community and small businesses. Sunshine Coffee Company, Thrive HQ, La Vie Est Belle and Be The Light Hair Studio are all businesses that have a high impact in this small town. 

Thrive HQ is a Physical Therapy clinic that offers many kinds of wellness opportunities. Clients can get a new approach to physical therapy, yoga and working out. Their main mission is to get the body moving. Sunshine Coffee Company is a coffee shop that uses precise weights to craft coffee or other beverages. They use special ingredients like local honey or maple syrup to make the drinks unique. Be The Light Hair Studio creates an intimate luxury experience that ensures to keep the style you want in mind. They have a mission of making clients feel beautiful inside and out while also bringing light to the world. La Vie Est Belle is a gift shop that donates part of the proceeds towards children mental health organizations.

Downtown Lake Elmo has created such a powerful community. Many people have met through these businesses and become friends. These places give people an opportunity to meet neighbors they have never seen before.

“There’s a retired couple and a woman that’s in her 90s, who live very close to one another. They could probably see each other’s house, but it is kind of the back of the houses so they had never met. And we introduced them because we know where they both lived. And they sat and talked for probably an hour,” Erica Madsen, Sunshine Coffee House owner, said.

I believe in this community. I think it is unique and special. Lake Elmo is one of the fastest growing cities in Minnesota.

— Kristin Rehkamp

Community is so incredibly important to this small town. The town relies on the community to stay in business. The strong, supportive community in downtown Lake Elmo allows businesses to thrive.

“I believe in this community. I think it is unique and special. Lake Elmo is one of the fastest growing cities in Minnesota,” Kristin Rehkamp, La vie Est Belle owner, explained. Lake Elmo has become a strong community that has been growing larger.

Downtown Lake Elmo businesses have made connections all over the surrounding cities. This allows small businesses to create a larger community. The larger the community a business has, the more successful they can become.

Greg Bailen, physical therapist and owner of Thrive HQ, talked about how relationships with businesses around the Twin Cities have helped him create a “bigger impact in the community.” He has worked with many local gyms like Up Lift, Spenga, CrossFit and Orange Theory. He has also made connections with the surrounding neighboring businesses that are in downtown Lake Elmo.

Businesses that are in downtown Lake Elmo do as much as they can to give back to the communities that support them. Owners of these shops help host events like the Fourth of July parade and local food truck socials. They also help donate to organizations that are meaningful them.

Rehkamp explained the mission and journey for La Vie Est Belle started with her daughter’s anxiety and panic disorder. The journey involves advocating towards youth mental health. One thing they do is donate to a nonprofit called Acres for Life. They use horses in a pasture instead of a clinical office.

“We like to participate in the fitness events but then we also like to participate in holiday events,” Bailen said. Some of these events can include the Fourth of July parade, lighting of the Christmas tree and working with firefighters to create a fun workout.

Downtown Lake Elmo has made a strong community. The impact and connections that have been created are throughout the whole Twin Cities.

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About the Contributor
Ava Biederman
Ava Biederman, Photography Editor-in-Chief
Ava Biederman is a senior and a Photography EIC. She has done gymnastics for the high school team since junior year. Ava also works at a gymnastics gym and coaches kids of all ages. She enjoys hanging out with her friends and going shopping. She looks forward to teaching students about photography and helping others.

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  • K

    Kristin RehkampNov 5, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    I want to be sure we acknowledge and thank the leadership and contributions of so many great businesses and residents in our Lake Elmo community! We are so fortunate for the strong foundation from which we continue to grow. It truly is a special community!