Visitors to the new gift shop in Herkimer will find just what the name on the sign suggests – a Little Touch of Country.
Kitchen items, plaques, candles, lamps, furniture and pip berry garlands and wreaths – all with a country look – are on display throughout Barb Weber’s shop at 312 S. Washington St., Herkimer.
And she’s hoping customers will enjoy coming to the shop as she does, although she admits opening a new store during a pandemic has not been easy.
“It was very scary to open,” said Weber. Still, she felt Herkimer did not have a lot to offer along this line and opening a gift shop was something she had been wanting to do.
The Herkimer area resident previously worked as a buyer and manager at the Arcangel Gift Shop in Utica and, more recently, worked at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Utica office, which closed due to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a wonderful organization,” she said of the center. “I met a lot of wonderful people. But every day there was a sadness.”
Weber wanted her next job to be one that would bring happiness to herself and others.
The gift baskets the shop offers help accomplish that for both givers and recipients, as well as for Weber.
“We craft the handles,” she said, pointing to the pip berry handle on a sample basket.
The baskets have been popular last-minute gifts and an option for people reluctant to go to stores because of the pandemic, she said.
“If someone forgot a birthday or an anniversary, they can call and we’ll get it out the same day,” she said.
Some people with family members in a local nursing home have ordered a Party in a Basket to be delivered to their loved ones.
“We put balloons on it and make it fun,” said Weber.
She delivered one to a resident at Foltsbrook Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Herkimer. The man immediately opened the basket and put on the party hat. “He said it made his day.”
Baskets can be filled with dips, bread mixes, chocolates and other wrapped gourmet items or, in the case of a bathroom themed basket, soaps and candles. Funeral homes have ordered comfort baskets for families, and a realty business also has ordered a couple of baskets. Delivery is free in the valley area.
The shop has been open about two months now, and Weber has been pleased to see some repeat customers.
“We get new items in about twice a week,” she said.
Even the furniture items merchandise is displayed on are for sale. If one is purchased, she has another like it to take its place.
Opening the gift shop was not something she could have accomplished on her own, Weber said. “My lifelong partner helps with everything.” Robert Rando painted the space, installed the air conditioning and helped with other tasks.
“He’s even delivered baskets for me,” she said.
Store hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Those hours will likely change during the holiday season, according to Weber. Check the store’s Facebook page.
Donna Thompson is the government and business reporter for the Times Telegram. Email her at [email protected]