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Soderman wasn’t sold on the idea right away: “When Brian first brought me here, I thought he was insane,” she said.
That was 24 years ago. Since then, Rock Gardens, which the couple runs out of their garage, has grown into a thriving business. A decade ago, the Sodermans opened up shop at the State Fair.
Through the years, they’ve enhanced the stand with a pergola, a pond, a retaining wall and a paver patio, which makes it easy to spot near the Department of Natural Resources site.
Rock Gardens sells gifts, including lawn ornaments on a stick, in keeping with the State Fair motif. “It’s actually a stake that goes into the ground,” she said.
This year, the place is offering a deal on garden fairies. Fairy gardens, which involve creating miniature scenes, akin to a model railroad, are popular right now, she said.
The Sodermans, along with their three sons, put in long days during the fair, but they enjoy the excitement of it all. The one downside is that their stand is right by Sweet Martha’s Cookies, so they’re tempted by the smell of cookies all day long, she joked.
Anna Pratt is a Minneapolis freelance writer.