Walking into Simplee Stated Gifts in Plymouth, one is greeted warmly by Owner Sandy Saenz. It is reminiscent of the old-time variety store so common in small towns, and her warm welcome is appreciated by her longtime customers as well as the new ones who come through the doors of the former Bosworth’s department store.
“I am definitely involved in the community and I want my business involved in the community,” Saenz says. “We help as much as we can.”
Saenz has been a small-business owner for about a decade, although not all of those years have been at her location in historic downtown. Her business started as a pop-up shop in the local grocery store. At that time she became known for the gift baskets she created.
While she still does gift baskets, her inventory has expanded and includes unique gift items for everyone. Focusing on American-made products, Saenz has the shop laid out in sections, as a slight nod to the vibe of the former department store. There is one section devoted to lake-living decor, another that serves as a clothing boutique, and another that displays informational decor. Food products, cabin decor, jewelry and even a paint studio are tucked neatly into the L-shaped space.
The products she sells are made in the U.S. and many come from small businesses.
One product line she offers that has become popular includes slate and wooden gifts, personalized with laser engraving. Gift shoppers pick out a product and then have it engraved with a name and date, a meaningful saying, or anything else they would like. Some common items include slate coasters, wooden boxes and journals.
The store carries a line of popular Chala purses from California, and a line of stuffed animals called Warmies. These can be heated in the microwave to provide a warm bedtime companion, and they also release a soothing lavender scent.
“This is a great way to give someone a truly unique gift,” Saenz says. “This is not like anything you find in a big-box store.”
Another new experience for customers is the Make and Take corner. Customers select a wooden plaque to paint in the shop. Paints and all supplies are available in the space. Artists of all ages and abilities can paint between the lines already on the piece, and create their own work of art to take with them.
Saenz has hosted paint parties in the store. Customers have also requested classes, and she hopes to offer them in the next few months. It is all part of the environment she wants to create – one that is open to the community and her customers.
“My customers are part of my extended families,” Saenz says. “They know about my kids. They know about my grandkids. My store is a safe place for my customers.”
Saenz grew up in South Bend. After she married, she and her husband settled in Osceola and built a house in Argos in 2002. She likes the fact that her small business is located in downtown Plymouth. The small-town atmosphere meshes well with her own perspectives.
“It’s all about small towns,” she says.
Saenz is grateful that her business has grown and thrived. Her interests in crafts spurred her into small-business ownership and she has not hesitated to take advantage of the opportunities that have come her way.
When she acquired the framing shop that occupied the space previously, she took a hands-on approach to learning the framing process. She learned from the previous owner, took classes at national conferences and signed up for membership in a national framers association. With a background in the construction industry, Saenz says she is making a living, but most of all, she has what she needs.
“This is my happy place,” she says. “I enjoy going to work.”
Simplee Stated Gifts is located at 100 West Garro Street in Plymouth. For more info, visit facebook.com/simpleestatedgifts or call 574-936-5259.
Please wait while you are redirected to the right page...