Maija Riikonen’s dream came true when Mai Art opened its doors on February 3, 1978. Lappeenranta’s first art shop was born. A few months later, the shop’s range of goods and services expanded to include art supplies and picture framing.
In late 1979, Riikonen also opened Café Galleria, a venue for art shows and Sunday coffee concerts. The following year, she opened a Mai Art shop in the Pohjolantori Market Hall in Kouvola.
The shop in Kouvola was later sold to its manager, and Café Galleria also changed hands.
Mai Art moved to the IsoKristiina Shopping Center after it opened in August 1987. The product range was expanded to include craft and porcelain painting supplies. Thus was born Mai Hobby, a shop that was also located at IsoKristiina and opened its doors in March 1990.
A few years later, Mai Hobby was sold, and Mai Art renewed its focus on selling art and art supplies, as well as its professional picture framing service, whose staff members were and still are trained and certified art framers.
In April 2002, Mai Art moved into splendid new digs on IsoKristiina’s central promenade. The move coincided with the expansion of the store’s selection of goods, which now featured antiqued furniture, handcrafted in India from recycled material. Mai Art did business at this location until IsoKristiina was closed for major renovations.
In June 2013, Mai Art moved to its current location on Valtakatu. Since the size of the store was reduced, furniture was removed from its stock.
In the autumn of 2016, Mai Art acquired a new owner, Anna Lebedkova, a Petersburg art historian who has had a long and varied career at different Petersburg museums and done a stint at the Hamburg Kunsthalle.
Maija Riikonen retired in early 2017.
Mai Art continues fulfilling its original mission.
In 2018, the store has been celebrating its fortieth anniversary.