Signs of success at Marquette County gift stores

Michigan Made and Touch of Finland say it has been business as usual for the most part during the pandemic
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:21 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - This year, it is back to business as usual for Michigan Made in Harvey, one of many gift shops in the area.

In 2020, cashier Jade Novara says the owner ran the place by herself from April to around the end of summer. Despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, there have been nothing but positives.

“Business has obviously increased,” said Novara. “But actually, even last year in December, we had our busiest day yet for Christmas. Overall, the store here had its busiest day.”

Whether it is wine, art or hats, customers have been happy to be shopping, and that makes Novara’s job all the more enjoyable.

“We love seeing happy customers’ happy faces and getting to welcome them,” she said. “Smiles on our faces as well because we finally get to see them face to face instead of eye to eye.”

Just west of Marquette is Touch of Finland, which was closed for the first two months of the pandemic. But that did not stop Bryan LaChapell and his family from making sales.

“It was real scary in the beginning,” LaChapell said. “{It was} real quiet. We do have a very strong online business that sustained us.”

The gift shop, though, has continued to show sisu. LaChapell says people have been avidly shopping, buying anything from dishware and purses to clothes and even a sauna or two.

This weekend, the store is celebrating its 40th anniversary, with some giveaways in store for customers.

“We’re having gift card giveaways,” LaChapell explained. “Forty dollars for 40 years. They can come in and we have drawings for up to 40% off your purchase.”

Both stores are grateful for the support received over the past year and a half and are already anticipating a busy fall.

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