We all know ’tis better to give than to receive, but when you’re rushing from store to store—each of which seems to employ the same buyer—finding a unique gift worthy of its recipient can be an ordeal. More often than not, we eventually settle on something kind of ho-hum, which we proceed to wrap, then present apologetically: “Hope you like this. I was trying to find something better, but…well, hope you like it.”

Ellen Hertz. Photo by Leah Lofgren

Shoppers at Max’s have a decided advantage: 90 percent of the inventory is not found elsewhere in the Twin Cities. It offers handmade gifts from glass art to chocolates and jewelry.

The store is the namesake of owner Ellen Hertz’s grandfather, who spent 54 years in the jewelry business. However, Her original jewelry-store concept expanded quickly to include items for the home, as well as her personal passion: chocolate.

Hertz says, “I would love it if most people thought of it as a jewelry store more than anything else, but we have a lot of customers who only come in and buy chocolate from us, and that’s great!”

Perhaps the best way to get a feel for Max’s jewelry and decor selections, short of stopping in to the store, is to visit the Web site at <>.

The selection of glass and jewelry leans toward the contemporary side, but Hertz explains, “We also have a number of things that are more appropriate for someone who considers their personal style to be more traditional.”

Featured jewelers, for example, often incorporate unusual metals like oxidized sterling or blackened steel, and unique combinations of stones. Instead of the modern standby of harsh geometric shapes, they often embrace a more natural grace and fluidity in their designs.

It was important to Hertz to carry chocolates from all over the world: “Chocolate is kind of like wine, if you will. Different regions—because of different soil conditions, the flavor of the bean is also different like the grape.”

Chocolates grown and packaged in Madagascar have a different flavor than those from Ecuador. Items from both countries are available at Max’s, as well as chocolates from France, Italy, and other parts of Africa. Max’s also carries chocolates with unusual flavors, such as spicy habanero peppers, ginger, sesame seeds, and single malt scotch.

To sample some of Max’s exotic chocolates, stop by the store at 3831 Grand Way (Excelsior and Grand), St. Louis Park. Parking is available at two nearby free ramps, as well as in front of the store.

Name of Company: Max’s
Year Founded: 2006
President/CEO: Ellen Hertz
Number of Employees: 5 plus one seasonal
Address: 3831 Grand Way, St. Louis Park
Phone: (952) 922-8364
Web Site:

5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107 • Edina, MN 55436
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