Saint Paul’s Grand Avenue is a charming avenue lined with brick apartment buildings and arts and crafts bungalows. Some of the apartments and homes are actually homes, but many have been turned into businesses: An upscale spa, a cigar shop, a massage therapist, a kitchen goods store, and a wide range of independant cafes and restaurants. Garden of Eden is in a low brick storefront. It's not a huge store, but it's packed with lotions, oils, soaps, face wash and sunscreens by the likes of Kiehl’s, Thymes, Crabtree and Evelyn and Kiss My Face. Also for sale are small, gifty things, like men’s shaving kits, sweet-smelling sachet packets, eye pillows and so on.
But the highlight is Garden of Eden’s signature line of products: lotions, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, face wash and body oils, all unscented. Want fragrance? At the front of the store, a small table features dozens of vials of scent. Visitors can choose a product, then choose a scent and staffers will mix it up behind the counter. Essential oils include mint, ginger, grapefruit, sweet basil and cedarwood. Perfume blends include plum blossom, China rain (their signature scent), lemon verbena, Earth and cucumber lime. Add one or mix and match. Half the fun is smelling the different options.
The base products are quality. Lotion is dense and creamy, and the sweet almond oil absorbs quickly into the skin. They’re affordable—on par with Bath and Body Works—and the choose-your-own-scent adds an element of fun that avoids being gimmicky. This is a sweet destination for luxurious skin-care goods.