Great Gifts

From practical to just plain fun, Vineland shops have gift items to please everyone on your list.

by Samuel Levy

Second of a three-part holiday gift guide, with Bridgeton treasures to follow next week.

The holiday shopping season is upon us and many people are, no doubt, flocking to the shopping centers, big-box stores, and malls to grab up the doorbusters and pick over the other specials—items mostly likely having rolled off some assembly line in a factory in some faraway locale.

Another way is to shop local and, one better, shop locally made. You will be helping our smaller local businesses that put your neighbors to work. At the same time, you will help and reward the local talented craftspeople who turn out beautiful gift items that your loved ones, friends, and associates will enjoy all the more because of the creativity that was put into making the gifts. Vineland has stores and vendors that stock locally made items for a wide variety of uses and tastes. Let’s take a look at a sampling.

We will start in the heart of downtown Vineland, on Landis Avenue—or, The Ave. At 618 E. Landis Avenue is The Spot—a marketplace containing more than 80 independent shoppes—boutiques and vendors selling arts and crafts, antiques, vintage items, homemade items, jewelry, and more.

Taking a look at some of the vendors selling locally made items, you will find:

• Art for All for specially handmade ornaments, earrings, cellphone holders, and other items;
• Cards and Crafts for decorated plates, potholders, handmade cards, and more;
• Cat’s Meow Candle Company for handmade soy candles, wax melts, tarts, tea lights, and votives, as well as handling custom orders;
• Cosecha Soaps for handmade soaps, oils, and creams;
• Custom Creations Outside the Box for resin jewelry, décor, wall hangings, keyrings, ashtrays, ornaments and more;
• Ethel’s Attic for handmade runners, pocketbooks, Christmas trees, burlap boxes, toaster covers, and more;
• Redone by Dana for repurposed furniture;
• Refurbished Relics for ornaments and antiques made out of screws;
• So Get Real for handmade jewelry made from rocks and crystals; and
• Wreaths by Robin Hope for one-of-a-kind wreaths.

“I don’t think that you will find so much of a variety of locally made and handmade items under one roof as you will find here,” said The Spot’s manager, Robin Hope.” It’s ideal and convenient for choosing the gift that’s a little different and shows the talent of some very talented artists and artisans.”

The Spot is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call The Spot at 856-839-2825 or visit their website at spotattheave.com.

Exploring around Vineland can turn up other treasures—from glassware to pottery to artwork:

Federici Designs, at 137 S. Brewster Road, sells handblown glass items. Karen and Rich Federici have over 30 years of experience in the trade, working at Wheaton Arts in Millville as volunteers before starting their own studio in Vineland. They have been selected twice to make an ornament for the White House Christmas tree and they bring those skills to this business. They sell glass jewelry, ornaments, marbles, and paperweights. For more information, call them at 856-794-2861 or visit their website at federicidesigns.com.

Tap Gallery Custom Picture Framing & Art Gallery, located at 3608 Oak Road, has been owned and operated by the Papadopoulos family for over 35 years. In addition to custom framing, the business has an art gallery. They serve private customers as well as providing custom framing and artwork for architects, interior designers, and businesses. For more information, call them at 856-262-1232 or visit their website at tapgallery.com.

Speaking of artwork, celebrated local artist George Perez can provide you with a with a portrait done from a photo of a special person in your life or of a pet. His artwork is well-known in the area for his portraits of celebrated personalities and the military mural that graces the mini-park at Landis Avenue and the Boulevard. Now you can have a specially created portrait by him for you own. To make arrangements, e-mail him at gparts82@yahoo.com. His website is GPArts82.com.

Why not give that special person a specialized, one-of-a-kind piece of pottery? Carmie’s Pottery Paint Works, located in LaTorre Hardware, 1607 S. Delsea Drive, has many items from which you can choose. Birthday parties can be made special as the attendees have the chance to paint the pottery for the occasion. Proprietor Carmella LaTorre will show you how special occasions become more special with a personalized creative gift. For more information, call 856-691-3637, visit their website at carmiespotterypaintworks.com.

Do not forget the several florists in Vineland that have locally made wreaths, floral arrangements, ornaments, locally grown flowers, and other items. Finer Flowers, at 645 E. Landis Avenue, 856-691-1023 and The Flower Shoppe, at 780 S. Main Road, 856-691-9292—are two of them.

Local bakeries have breads, cookies, cakes, and pastries that they make themselves. Crust & Krumbs Bakery, at 1370 S. Main Rd., Suite 4, 856-690-1200 and Jim Main’s Bakery, at 343 S. Delsea Drive, 856-691-1748—are worth your attention.

Shopping local—and shopping locally made—is special. In the words of Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dawn Hunter:

“As part of our mission at the Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce, we are always encouraging everyone to support our local businesses as it enhances our economy, provides jobs for the area, and means a significant amount of money spent locally goes back into the local area. We are especially focused on supporting our local members and businesses during the holiday shopping season.”

Main Street Vineland Executive Director Russell Swanson sees more advantages in shopping local and shopping locally made.

“You avoid the hustle and bustle, as well as the traffic and long lines of going to the big stores,” Swanson said. “You’re putting money into the hands of the local people whose talents and energy go into making some very special gift items.”

Shop these and any other of our local businesses. Support Vineland’s local businesses and look for locally made items to make your gift-giving extra special.

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