HOUGHTON — For Amy Negro, there is truth to the saying that time flies when you’re having fun. Since she opened the doors to her downtown Houghton gift shop, The Wicker & Willow Co., in December 2005, the months have been sailing by, thanks to the community.
“We have had a wonderful beginning thanks to our local customers and community support,” she said. “I have made many new friends at The Wicker & Willow Co., and because of them, I love my job! Houghton seems to be turning a corner, and it is exciting to be a part of a growing community.”
Located at 300 Shelden Ave, The Wicker & Willow Co., carries a wide variety of gift items, ranging from baby gifts to housewares, ladies accessories and gourmet food and candy. While many of the gift items change from season to season, Negro said certain brands remain a mainstay and have been with us since they opened. Some of the brands include: Iittala, Marimekko, Fossil, Elegant Baby, Gund and Stonewall Kitchen.
The Marimekko line — popular for its vivid colors and large patterns — is from Finland and includes a collection of products from home accents and handbags to table setting textiles. Because the line is such a hit, they’ve expanded by adding some clothing samples for women and toddlers.
“Marimekko is one of Finland’s premier design companies and we are proud to offer it here in the Copper Country, which is rich in Scandinavian heritage,” she said. “It’s well received by customers because it is so unique.”
Like any new business, Negro said they’ve continued to make changes and plan to continue to adapt to customer’s needs and requests as the business grows. Some of the changes aren’t always intentional. For example, she said they’ve wandered away from their initial focus which was creating gift baskets.
“We haven’t kept up with our initial focus of creating gift baskets, and we hope to expand this area more in 2008,” she said. “Baskets not only make a beautiful presentation, they are a quick and easy way of showing someone you care.”
Gift baskets can be created according to a variety of themes, Negro said.
“We do everything from gourmet food and chocolate lover varieties to coffee baskets that might come with a mug, thermos, and gourmet coffees. We’ve done spa baskets and baby baskets, too,” she said. “They provide a unique choice for individual gift giving.”
Mini baskets for corporate gifts are also popular, she said. They take the pressure off a business owner who wants to show appreciation to customers, staff or clients.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, gift baskets are the perfect surprise.
“You could give her a relaxing spa basket, or a blueberry breakfast basket,” she said. “The ideas are endless.”
While many of the gift items in the baskets come from The Wicker & Willow Co., customers can also bring in their favorite beverage and she’d be happy to create around that.
“If we don’t have something for a basket we’ll go elsewhere to get fillers,” she said. “Every basket is treated as a special order and is one of a kind. Just call and let us know your price range and we will make a basket sure to please your special someone.”
The Wicker & Willow Co., has a collection of new items including handbags, jewelry, fun summer hats and more recently, a popular line of designer diaper bags.
“We just got them in and I am so excited about them,” Negro said. “The quality of the handbags speaks for itself.”
The designer diaper bags come in a variety of styles and patterns sure to please any new mom or dad. There is even a classy “man bag” for new dads.
Each diaper bag is unique and depending on the style, comes with a variety of features including removable pockets, stroller clips, diaper changing pads and a container for wipes.
“Every size has a different attribute,” Negro said.
The Wicker & Willow is in the process of updating its Web page, www.wickerandwillow.com. Since the business opened, the Web site has provided information about the kinds of gifts customers will find, business hours as well as photographs of the shop.
“We haven’t had time to make changes to it since we opened,” Negro said. “Now we have someone to help us keep it updated.”
In the future, she said she would like to open her Web page up for online shopping, but for now it will be an information center.
“We will list sales and specials and post new item updates for our customers,” she said.
The Wicker & Willow Co. is located at 300 Shelden Ave in Houghton. Business hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday though Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Watch for extended summer hours coming soon.
Call 483-0251 or visit www.wickerandwillow.com
Editor’s note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by The Wicker & Willow Co. of Houghton. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.