Meridian Industrial


12/13/2019 | Keith O'Connor


Small quaint gift shops offer a welcome alternative to big box stores when shopping for that "little something special" for loved ones, friends, or even yourself!

Somersvillage Gifts & Gourmet Baskets on Route 190 in Somersville, CT offers a wide variety of items to choose from, including cards, wine glasses, soaps, lotions, candles, and a baby and children’s section perfect for birthdays or baby showers.

Right now the shop is brimming with seasonal decorations for the home and garden, and there is a book rack that cooks, sports fans, and those looking for a little inspiration will find the perfect read.

“Santa’s elves are scurrying every day to put out Christmas and winter items. They will be adding new things throughout the month for those who want to make a return visit,” said Mary Lou Romano, who owns the shop withher husband, Fred Romano.

“Customers will find ornaments, wreaths, silk arrangements, lighted snow globes and so much more. Among the many gift items for sale include scarves and hats, texting gloves, socks, beautiful handbags and totes, and sparkling `earrings from New England artisans. We also have a line of Innis perfumes imported from Ireland that is a favorite with customers,” she added.

The couple opened their shop in 2005 after Fred retired as a sales rep for Veterinary Vaccines. “I was on the road a lot and it was time for a change,” he said.

Retail wasn’t entirely new to the Romanos, whose daughter owned a frame shop. “I helped my daughter as a consultant. I was a sounding board for different ideas to enhance her business. We dabbled in her store selling little gifts and some jewelry. So, when the space next to her shop became vacant, we decided to give it a go with our own gift shop,” he said.

Selling gift baskets – a large portion of their business throughout the year – was a “natural thing” for them.

“I learned how to make them as early as the age of 16 when I worked in the produce department at the old Food Mart in Enfield. Baskets are great for people looking for a special way to present gifts,” said Fred.

“Christmas is our biggest time for gift basket sales, but we do sell them year-round. Most are custom made, but especially during Christmas we do have what you call ‘grab and go’ baskets for the hurried shopper,” he added.

A typical “grab and go” basket might include items such as candy, cookies, dips and crackers and/or a decorative item at various prices.

Many of the food items included in the baskets come from the shop’s Gourmet Pantry which is stocked with a wide selection of relishes, jams, jellies, preserves, sauces, as well as beer bread, muffin and scone mixes, dipping oils and a wide variety of dips. Foodies will also find imported Italian sauces, pastas and antipasto items to makean authentic gourmet Italian meal at home.

“Some of these products are sold under our own shop name and others come from Terrapin Ridge and many other gourmet companies. We have many distributors and try to keep current with food trends,” Mary Lou said.

The shop also offers a selection of memorial items to remember those who have passed such as memory lamps and garden stones.

“These gifts are lasting sources of comfort at a difficult time,” she said.

While the store does not offer gift wrapping, they do give free gift bags and tissue paper for customers to dress up their purchase.

Check out the store’s Facebook page or website for special events, including Friends and Family Day on Dec. 12. Also, Dec. 15 is Countdown To Christmas Day with sales and some surprises planned.

“We have a dedicated staff who are cheerful, friendly and willing to help customers to find just what they are looking for. We have many repeat customs and special customers who travel to see us for the holiday,” Fred said.

And they must be doing something right. One woman on the shop’s Facebook page wrote: “Love this shop!! Can’t say enough good things. I always leave with something unexpected. A great place to find gifts!”

The store also placed first in the Best Gift Shop category of The North Central News Reader’s Poll 2019. Somersvillage Gifts and Gourmet Baskets is located at 111 Main St. in

Somersville, Conn. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For the holiday season, the store is open Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit or call 860-265-2282.

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