“We are a unique boutique,” says owner Jennifer Colón, who opened her store in the Shoppes at The Pointe plaza in Tampa Palms (next to Stonewood Grill) in the summer of 2014.
In her one-of-a-kind shop, Jennifer stocks an impressive array of gifts, home décor items, jewelry and women’s clothing, from beautiful Nora Fleming servingware, to Simply Southern tee shirts, to trendy “pop sockets” for your phone, to pajama pants and much, much more.
Whether you’re shopping for a gift for someone else or a treat for yourself, you’ll find something great at The Gift Box Boutique.
The store offers many items that are made locally, both to support small businesses in the area and because people like to give gifts that represent their hometown.
“We carry Toffee To Go, which was on Oprah’s list of favorite things a few years back,” says Jennifer. “It’s a fabulous product made in South Tampa, and we run out of it every year because they can only provide so much.”
Jennifer says, “We also sell gifts from Tampa’s Columbia Restaurant, which gives people an opportunity to purchase them without having to drive down to Ybor City.”
Jennifer also offers items from local artisans, each with their own unique flair.
“People want to share their talents in the things they make, such as wreaths or jewelry, and we like to support those local artists,” she says.
To make your gift even more special, The Gift Box Boutique offers personalization on nearly everything in the store.
“We personalize everything from dishes, to picture frames, to our Corkcicle products,” says Jennifer, “and we monogram everything from clothing to tote bags and blankets, so our gift items have that personal touch.”
Corkcicle is a line of insulated cups and canteens in a variety of colors, based in Orlando. Its stemless tumbler is on Oprah’s Favorite Things list this year, where Oprah says, “Here’s a 12-ounce covered stainless steel cup that keeps hot things hot for three hours, cold things cold for nine hours, and soccer moms happy right through overtime.”
Now Carrying Brighton, Too
Beginning in March of this year, The Gift Box Boutique began selling Brighton jewelry.
Jennifer says Brighton’s classic jewelry is popular and “easily giftable.” She says sales of the jewelry continue to grow as people learn it’s available at the shop.
Scott McGary is the Brighton account executive who approached The Gift Box about selling the brand. “We saw that Jennifer put her store together really well and has a great reputation in the retail world,” he explains. “We look for shops where customers can be helped ‘head to heel’ and can find other items to complement our jewelry. We wanted to partner with her shop because she carries other lines that do well with Brighton and look good together, too.”
While McGary wouldn’t say what brands he was referring to, Jennifer says clothing lines currently carried in the store include Escapada, NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans) and Elan.
She says, “It says a lot about our reputation as a small business that (Brighton) sought us out.”
It’s also important to Jennifer to give back to the community. The store carries Chavez for Charity bracelets, each of which supports a cause, such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand foundation for childhood cancer or Best Friends Animal Society, a national organization that advocates for “no more homeless pets,” and many others.
She gives back on a local level, too.
“We support the Oasis Network, which gives clothing to children (in schools throughout the county),” says Jennifer, who says the store also is a drop-off location for Toys for Tots donations every year.
Jennifer also serves on the St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital philanthropic committee, volunteering her time to raise funds and help women and children at the hospital.
And, Jennifer says, she’s happy to support local schools, charities, and churches when they come to her requesting items for silent auctions and other fund raisers.
For the holiday season, The Gift Box Boutique will host what Jennifer calls, “Sip & Shop Saturdays.” She says past events have featured tastings of food items available in the store, flower arranging to create a pretty tablescape for the holidays, and demonstrations for preparing food and beverages for holiday entertaining.
To find out what “Sip & Shop Saturday” events are coming up, go to Facebook.com and search “The Gift Box Boutique.”
Jennifer also prides herself on being responsive to what her customers ask her to carry in The Gift Box. She even keeps a “wish list” of items her customers have asked her to carry, and brings those items into the store whenever possible.
For example, she says people asked for more food items to make holiday gift baskets, so more were brought in this year, such as Wicked Mix (photo on next page)and Stonewall Kitchen.
And, while the store has always had a great selection of items for babies, she now carries gifts for girls, such as “magic rainbow unicorn” journals and pillows.
Jennifer says she has helped many Realtors find the perfect gift for housewarming presents. That’s one reason the higher-end Mariposa brand of servingware is now at The Gift Box. And, she says, not just Realtors are enjoying it. Mariposa offers a popular cocktail napkin holder that offers interchangeable weights, so your classic piece can be easily updated seasonally.
One of those customers Jennifer is sure to bend her ear to is Tampa Palms resident Wendy Grant, who says she has been shopping at The Gift Box since it opened.
“They make you feel so welcome, especially if you’re a regular customer, and they let you know how much they appreciate your business,” says Wendy. “They have original, interesting things, and I’ve never had a bad experience there.”
Wendy was on her way to the store to purchase Finchberry soaps, a beautiful decorative product she wanted for her bathroom. Jennifer says the bath and body lines in her store have been expanded because of customer requests.
In addition to Finchberry, The Gift Box Boutique carries Mussee bath “balms” with something special inside, such as its “Happy Birthday” balm with a candle.
Wendy says she loves the selection she finds whenever she shops at the store.
“It really answered a need in our neighborhood,” she says. “It’s a treasure. It has wonderful gifts, the prices are reasonable and the staff is very helpful.”
Jennifer says she wants to be sure it stays that way.
“I’m here all the time, listening to what people say they want,” she says. “We know our customers on a first-name basis. People tell us we’re their go-to store for gifts in this area. They tell us, ‘we’re so glad you’re here’ all the time.”
She adds, “I’m thankful for the people who have supported us through this venture. We wouldn’t be here without them, and I’m very proud of what The Gift Box has become.”
The Gift Box Boutique is located at 17032 Palm Pointe Dr. The shop is open extended hours during the holiday season. Now through the end of the year, shop Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. You can see pictures of what’s available in-store at Facebook.com/TheGiftBoxBoutiqueTampa. Or, for more info, or call (813) 284-5986.