“I love it,” was the simple response from Clover Gift Shop owner Patricia Eames to the question, Why did you want to become a retail shop owner?
With a background in banking and women’s and children’s product merchandising, Patricia was ready to go out on her own when she learned that the Clover Gift Shop - somewhat of an institution, since it had originally opened its door as Wilson’s Gift Shop in 1923 - was for sale. The shop had been purchased in 1982 by Donna Lewis and renamed Clover Gift Shop.
In need of funds for this venture, Patricia approached Chittenden Bank, her former employer, and it was suggested that she contact SCORE for some assistance in evaluating the business and preparing a comprehensive business plan - usually a necessary step in securing a loan.
Patricia was assigned to veteran SCORE counselor Barry Rotman. In addition to helping Patricia prepare the business plan, Barry worked with her in valuing the inventory and in understanding all the nuances of the purchase and sale agreement. “After the purchase was finalized in January 2008, we discussed ways to improve the appearance of the shop including things like a new awning and signage, and better window displays,“ said Barry. “It helps that Patricia works in the shop and is charming and knowledgeable.”
Patricia has added several lines of new merchandise including a beautiful line of quilts and April Cornell linens; the shop has a new logo which pictures a red clover - the Vermont State Flower - and, eventually, customers will be able to make purchases on line. The Christmas Shop at the rear of the store is open year round and, of course, now is the perfect time to visit it.
The new shop hours are Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 5:30; Saturday from 9:00 to 6:00; and Sunday from 11:00 to 5:00.
You can reach Patricia at the shop at 10 Elm Street in Woodstock or you can call her at 802-457-2527 or you can e-mail her at email@example.com or you can check out her web site at www.clovergiftshop.com.
“Working with Barry was a real treat,” said Patricia. “With his extensive retail experience and his experience with SCORE, he was able to lead me down all the right paths to making this venture a success.”