Anita Carroll, owner of downtown St. John’s store Posie Row, always had a soft spot for Memorial University’s Botanical Garden.
She would take her kids there when they were small. Her positive connection to the garden remained throughout the years.
Now, she is sharing her talents with the garden, re-envisioning the facility’s gift shop by using her experience and connection to the place to develop a range of gifts that reflects the garden itself and the interests and personalities of its visitors.
Retail challenges and opportunities
When Ms. Carroll met Kim Shipp, director of the Botanical Garden at a Destination St. John’s event, the women began chatting about the challenges of operating a retail store.
Ms. Carroll realized that her experience could have a significant impact on the garden. The two decided to form a volunteer partnership.
“I’m semi-retired, and the idea of being able to contribute with merchandising and procurement, two elements of retail that I really enjoy, for the benefit of a place that I love, was very appealing,” said Ms. Carroll.
Anyone who has visited Posie Row will recognize the fun, playful approach of the new, improved shop at the Botanical Garden at 306 Mount Scio Rd., now called Garden Gifts, but it also has its own unique outdoors-focused twist.
Along with selecting pieces from some of the same lines sold at Posie Row, Ms. Carroll and her team sought out entirely new lines for Garden Gifts, including some that aren’t available anywhere else in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The products are accessible to a wide range of shoppers, with prices for all budgets. There is a wide range of local products, along with items sourced from outside the province.
As Ms. Carroll says: “At this point, the name of the game is to provide something nice for everyone. From here, we’ll assess what people respond to, and focus there.
“My goal would be for this store to be able to stand alone,” she added. “When people know they need to pick up a gift for someone they care about, I want them to think: ‘Aha! I’ll go shopping at the Botanical Garden.’”
Garden Gifts officially launched in July and, according to Ms. Shipp, patron feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about the changes to the shop.
“We are so grateful for Anita’s help,” she said. “We know that people feel a sense of connection to this special place, and we truly appreciate her talents, and those of so many volunteers and supporters.”
You can visit Garden Gifts at Memorial University’s Botanical Garden, Thursday-Sunday, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 306 Mount Scio Rd. in St. John’s or anytime on Instagram @gardengifts_atmunbg through direct message.