General Store of Minnetonka thinks outside the box.
This time of year, surprises can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, including by way of a custom gift box from the General Store of Minnetonka. And to think these specially-culled boxes got their start not from helping Kris Kringle, but from supporting his springtime counterpart—the Easter Bunny.
With Easter fast approaching in March 2020, the team at the General Store was at a loss. Between quarantine closures and Easter inventory arriving daily, staff had to get creative with how it could help the Easter Bunny. “The Easter Bunny needed to visit our store [but couldn’t],” says Jenny Putnam, co-owner. “So, we decided that a way to bring Easter goods to our customers was to put together custom Easter baskets for kids.”
After adding the option to its e-commerce site and advertising it on Facebook, Putnam says she and her coworkers were blown away by the response. The store created hundreds of individual, custom Easter baskets.
Customers filled out forms that indicated to the team a bit about the baskets’ recipients, and employees worked their way through the store, crafting perfect Easter baskets.
“[It] was a success, and it was fun, so we decided this was something we wanted to do for Mother’s Day,” Putnam says. Again, the team set to work crafting custom surprise boxes, this time for over 500 moms, wives, grandmas and others with basket prices that ranged from $50 to $200. “They were so touched by the gifts they were given, and we were thrilled,” Putnam says.
Based on the positive reception, the store extended the program after quarantine measures were lifted. It now offers surprise boxes that are ideal for a range of occasions, including holidays, birthdays, graduations, housewarmings and tokens of appreciation.
Inspiration for goodies to include run the gamut from age to hobbies; special interests to sweet cravings (“We have a lot of local sweets and candies that we like to include if someone has a sweet tooth,” Putnam says. “We like to include as much local as we can in these surprise boxes because it’s always a fun thing to get and know you’re supporting two local businesses.”); scents or lotions (“We have a lot of bath and body [items], so it’s good to know,” she says.); or favorite sports teams and pop icons are also a great way to go. (“That’s something that’s so trendy right now—[fandom items for TV shows] Friends, The Office [and] The Golden Girls,” Putnam says. “If they like things like that, we’ve got lots of cute little things to go in a surprise box.”)
For December holiday gift-giving, the boxes are well suited for delivery to in- and out-of-town relatives and friends, as host/hostess gifts, for teacher and employee appreciation presents or as care packages for homesick loved ones.
Although the General Store has a whole host of holiday-themed gifts, Putnam says they usually don’t include these in the boxes unless specially requested. So, if you’re looking to add a little extra holiday cheer to your surprise box, be sure to let them know.
Explore the selection of surprise boxes at generalstoreofminnetonka.com.