Show Us Your Shop: Basketful Lifestyle & Gifts By Debbie Eisele

Owner shares how they are coping with COVID-19

With so many retailers facing similar challenges right now, we encourage you to Show Us Your Shop so we may share your story and help other independent retailers.

Laura Pascarella owner of Basketful Lifestyle & Gifts, a retailer located in Charlottesville, Virginia, offers both a physical and online store to its customers. The shop carries a variety of unique, eco-friendly products and is known to be in the service of helping people celebrate occasions. Pascarella shared how her business is still providing solutions to customers that will help them continue to celebrate the joys in life, even in the current retail climate.

Basketful Baby Bag Card

How have you transitioned your selling strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic?

This April, Basketful Lifestyle & Gifts celebrates its six month birthday. When securing the lease for a beautiful storefront, Laura Pascarella’s business plan did not include a response to worldwide pandemic. Basketful’s warm environment endears customers to visit in-person. Since early March, Basketful continues to provide retail and gift consulting services only online at, on social media @shopbasketful and by phone.

What special services, such as curbside pickup or delivery, have you implemented? advertises “Socially Distant, Free Local Delivery on All Online Orders” as well as free delivery to most U.S. addresses for orders over $50. In response to customer questions about the manner in which local deliveries were made, Basketful clarified the way customers could request and expect to interact with Basketful staff. This essential update has driven word-of-mouth referrals and sales given our extra attention to social distancing, personalized coordination and our promise of “clean hand” delivery.

Basketful Basketful Lifestyle & Gifts COVID-19 Sign

How are you reaching out to customers during this crisis?

Basketful is using social media, email and traditional media to remind people feeling alone or lamenting the cancellation of parties, graduations, even weddings, that the Basketful team is here to help. By visiting, you can buy and ship cards and gifts, and with them laughter and smiles. Normally, a cliché, now one of only a few ways to share support and affection during a time when it is so hard to share space.

What are your social media handles?

Facebook and Instagram: @shopbasketful

Is your business offering any new programs to assist others in the community at this time?

Basketful is researching ways to provide gifts and support to health care workers at the COVID-19 clinics at the University of Virginia Hospital and Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Have you increased your online retail presence to adjust to social distancing?

Very much. We are a new shop, so our concentration during the first six months was driving foot traffic, branding store character and delivering exceptional customer service. In March, we worked to drive online sales and improve our website’s usability and online inventory. We planned a large season ending sale in the store for March and have pivoted that plan into daily “Flash Sales” on items that people love, so there is reason to check the website often and snag a deal on a great Easter, graduation or “just because” item. Although sales are still down from February, March saw a 68% increase in unique visitors to and 100% increase in online orders. Small victories are keeping our team energized at the moment.

Basketful Lifestyle & Gifts Promotion

Are you creating any grab-and-go type solutions to help sell through existing inventory and to provide merchandise customers need in today’s environment?

Free, local delivery is our answer to grab-and-go. We are not manning our store every day, so the ability to make delivery appointments curbside at the store, or to a customer’s front door, has proven convenient for our customers and flexible for our business during this odd time.

What helpful tips would you like to share with other retailers during these unprecedented times?

Baby steps are worthwhile. You may not be able to accomplish a full list of business wishes in the same day your are homeschooling your children and managing your health, but progress is progress. Stay flexible and stay balanced. This too shall pass.

Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the former managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and a variety of special issue publications, including: The Guide, Holiday Shop, Celebrations & Occasions and Waterfront Living.

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