If you’re looking for that perfect gift for someone or just yourself , you can’t go wrong by stopping in at To & From Gift Shop (5535 6th Ave.) We sit down and get to know owner , Samatha Unrath in this exclusive Q&A.
Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Samantha: My name is Samantha. I am a mom of three- Charlotte who is 7 and twins Reed & Sylvie who are three. I am originally from Illinois but, moved here in 2007 when I attended Carthage College.
Q. When did you open To & from Gift Shop?
Samantha: We opened April 2019
Q. What made you decide to open To & From Gift Shop?
Samantha:It is honestly kind of a long story – but, I used to own an appraisal company with my sister Kara and every time we had a job out of state we would hit up a bunch of local gift shops to bring stuff back for our family. I love shopping and gifting. One time I randomly mentioned to my sister how awesome it would be to have a gift shop that had a little bit of everything and that’s how it all started.
Q. What makes To & From Gift Shop stand out from all the other shops in the area?
Samantha:I would say our #CUSSCLOSET. It is a a separate room in the back of the shop that is packed with all thing a little naughty – clothing, balloons, puzzles, stickers, coffee cups, greeting cards, kitchen towels and the list goes on. Don’t be afraid to wander back there when you visit, we won’t judge you!
Q. What other kinds of gifts do you sell?
Samantha: Honestly, a little bit of everything- candles, tshirts, greeting cards, snacks, stickers, drink mixes, drink ware, baby blankets, baby pjs, stuffed animals, vintage items, stationary. And we are always getting in new items.
Q. What goes into selecting your product for the store?
Samantha: I really love to support other small businesses. I would say the shop is 80-90% small business. I also spend a lot of time searching and researching products. We want to have items that you don’t see everywhere; which is also why our inventory is always changing. We like for our customers to come in and not always see the same things.
Q. How are you preparing for the holiday season?
Samantha: Thankfully this year it seems like most items are ready to ship. Last year was an absolute nightmare. We preordered a lot of awesome stuff to later find out if wouldn’t ship till July. But, this year we have been able to get items ordered and delivered on time.
Q. Will you be featuring any holiday items this season?
Samantha: We always had a seasonal/holiday table in front to offer some holiday specific gifts and to be festive. But, as far as what we are going to be featuring, you’ll just have to follow us on social media to get some sneak peeks.
Q. You are a big supporter of shopping local, What are some of your favorite shops in downtown Kenosha?
Samantha: I love that Kenosha has so much to offer. I honestly cannot pick a favorite because they all offer such awesome things. I love that you can spend an entire day in Downtown Kenosha- getting coffee, going shopping, visit the lake, grab some lunch and even hit up a local pub or brewery. We’ve got it all.
Q. What can future customers expect when they first walk into To & From Gift Shop
Samantha: Most likely Jeremy. You can expect the best customer service from Jeremy. My one and only employee that holds down the fort, keeps me organized and loves the shop and our customers as much as me. He is hands down the best and has turned into an even better friend.
He is super dedicated and you can tell how much he loves the shop. He knows everything about the products we offer, a pro a folding tissue paper (he had to teach me) and gives top notch customer service everyday. Without him I wouldn’t be able to work from home and be a stay at home mom.
Q. You do product giveaway quite a bit, how can ppl get involved?
Samantha: We do a lot of giveaways to show appreciation to our customers. Some of our giveaways are different- most times we give a raffle ticket with any purchase. Sometimes we will do giveaways just by interacting with our posts.
Q. Something customers don’t know about you or your business?
Samantha: That my landlord is my Sister. When the store front became available she was the main person to push me into going after my dream. Once I committed to the shop and got things going- I found out I was pregnant. Then at my first ultrasound I found it it was twins. Let me tell you, I never thought I would have made it this far after finding out I was having twins. I’ve had a lot of wonderful support from my sister, my husband and my parents- so here we are going on year 4!
Q. What do you love about being a business owner
Samantha: I might not physically be at the shop as often as I’d like, but, there is a lot that goes into being a business owner. I am constantly working around the clock- but, I get to do something that I love and take pride into what I have built.
Q. What do you love about owning a business in downtown Kenosha?
Samantha: Our customers- we honestly have the best customers. Everyone that walks in is always so friendly and supportive.
Q. What’s next for To & From Gift Shop?
Samantha: Me! You’ll see more of me in the next couple of years. My twins will start 4K next year so I plan on being at the shop earlier in the day so that mean more hours of shopping!
To and From Gift Shop
5535 Sixth Ave
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Learn more about Samantha and To & From Gift shop by checking out her interview on the Ktown Connects Podcast click here
Q&A and photos by Donny Stancato
Edited by Jason Hedman
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For everything Kenosha see visitkenosha.com
(This article first appeared in the winter 2022 Downtown Kenosha Magazine)