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11/20/2001 - Skywalk Store Offers Gift Cornucopia

Where can Terabyte Triangle shoppers find unique and interesting gifts? A birthday? A wedding? Brick and mortar---or click and order? Made in Washington on the skywalk in Riverpark Square has a large selection of tantalizing items on the shelf, or you can go to www.madeinwashington.net to do it all on-line.

Made in Washington, owned by Julie Rector since 1996, sells items made only in four northwest states-Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Many items are handcrafted and unique. Some are practical; some are decorative. Some are wearable; some you eat. The store features both a line of pottery and a line of art glass made with Mt. St. Helens’ volcanic ash. Exotic woods are used for boxes, boards, and birdhouses. All things huckleberry from cordials to jam and syrup occupy shelf space next to smoked salmon, smoked sturgeon, and smoked trout. Spokane’s own creation, Buckeye Beans soups and mixes, now made in Kent, Washington coexist with Walla Walla sweet onion mustard.

Deer Mountain berry preserves are very popular because they are full of fruit and flavor-“as home made as you can get,” according to Rector. People call and e-mail for more from all over the United States whenever their supply starts running low. However, the best seller from the shop, by far, says Rector, are the T-shirts and sweatshirts, all of which have Spokane or Washington printed on them. “They fly out of the store during tourist season,” says Rector, “making July and August two of the best business months for the shop.”

Made in Washington’s on-line store doesn’t list or picture all of the items available in the store, but you can get any store item by e-mail order. The gift baskets pictured and described on the web site, www.madeinwashington.net, sell briskly, especially at holiday time. “We’ve shipped gift baskets all over the world,” says Rector. Baskets shipped outside of the United States have to comply with myriad rules and regulations imposed by the postal service of the receiver. Rector recently sent a “thank you basket” to a former communist country and learned that the postal service there wouldn’t accept anything they couldn’t see into-so the canned smoked salmon had to be replaced by something in a jar. “Italy has a lot of things they won’t accept either,” says Rector.

Of the gift baskets offered, the Washington Sampler Basket is the most popular. It is also the most expensive. “People call and ask if that’s the most expensive basket we can send,” says Rector, “and I always answer that we can make and send a much as they want---no limit.”

Last year, two weeks before Christmas, a customer ordered 112 gift baskets as corporate thank you gifts. These baskets were for destinations all over the United States. Riverpark Square lent the needed extra space for assembly, and all 112 baskets reached their destination by Christmas day.

When the customer orders from the Made in Washington on-line store, the shopping cart mechanism takes the order and the customer information, then transmits that information by e-mail to the Made in Washington store. A real person then responds, by e-mail, confirming the order, and stating the cost (with shipping and handling). When the order has been prepared and shipped, the store sends an e-mail that the order is on its way. Only the communication is done on-line---a real person does the rest.

This will be the fourth holiday season for the on-line store, and sales have grown every year. Made in Washington has done no special advertising for the on-line store but has included the URL in all of their print ads, brochures, and collateral material.

Billie Moreland
 
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