Come with me, and you’ll be, in a store of pure imagination... at Imagine Gift Store in Warren. The shop is overflowing with local artwork, handmade jewelry, fashion accessories, candles, candy and tons more. It’s basically a one-stop shop for all things gifts. I spoke with owner Michelle Fox to get her advice on shopping thoughtfully and locally, for everyone from foodies to fashionistas.
Did you ever, forgive the pun, “imagine” having a business such as this one?
I always had a vivid imagination growing up and dreamt of owning my own business. As far as specifically owning a retail business such as Imagine Gift Store, that is where fate jumped in. I graduated from Roger Williams University, and while I attended school I frequently shopped at Imagine. The store quickly became my favorite gift shop and about five years after I graduated I heard the business was being sold. I jumped on the opportunity and the rest is history.
Can you highlight some locally made items you carry?
Along with a large amount of Rhode Island souvenir items we also carry jewelry, photographs and paintings from local artists as well as handcrafted kitchenware and gifts. Our most exciting new feature that we will offer this holiday season is locally made foods. We have partnered up with local food co-operative Hope & Main and have dedicated a portion of our third floor to various vendors to give them the opportunity to sell their delicious foods.
For all of us last minute shoppers, what advice can you offer to better organize our holiday shopping?
The best advice I have to offer is to visit a one-stop shop. At our store you can shop for multiple people. With our wide range of merchandise you’ll be able to pick up the gift, the card and even get it gift-wrapped. And it’s all done locally.
It can be really difficult to choose the right gift. What do you recommend for a coworker?
A coworker is one of the easiest people to shop for. Consider your workday and something you wish you could have done to make your day more efficient and enjoyable. We carry a spectrum of professional-specific items, or, go the silly route like a wine glass the size of a wine bottle for the end of a stressful workday.
How can you impress the foodie on your gift list?
With foodies and wine connoisseurs, pick out items that are not easy to get your hands on. For instance, our barbecue sauce comes all the way from Missouri. Then add a few accessories like wine charms, wine bottle aprons, wine bottle holders and bottle stoppers.
We all have that friend in our life that is a little quirky and silly. What are some unique gift options for them?
I have dedicated a whole display full of unique coloring items such as tote bags, ceramic mugs, tumblers, picture frames, adult coloring books, wristlets and decorative dishes [for creative types]. These items not only gift a person the item itself but you are also offering them the gift of time and relaxation to sit down and enjoy a good craft.
Do you have any gifts for book lovers?
Why not think outside the box for bookworms? Put together a reader’s essentials kit: a quality backpack or duffel bag that can carry the weight of all their books, throw in some unique books, bookmarks, etc. Then, check out our special LED night light switch. This looks like a light switch that comes in all sorts of colors and sticks onto any surface. Your bookworm friend can stick the light switch on the side of the bed so that after they’ve curled up reading a good book they can simply flip the switch off while still laying in bed.
There are certain people that have a “thing.” Do you have a particular “thing” that you can’t help but buy if you see it?
My “thing” is foxes. My last name is Fox, therefore I have always had an attachment to the animal. I mean who couldn’t? They’re so cute! Whenever I see an item with a fox on it I immediately think I need to purchase in fours, for my mom, aunt, grandmother and myself.
Imagine Gift Store
5 Miller Street Warren