May 17, 2007
Beyond the basket; Marketing, creativity keys to success of Lakewood gift businessBy Briana HovendickJeffCoNews.com

Kay Ehalt’s creations go beyond the traditional wicker basket full of fruit and chocolates.

Instead, Ehalt fills gallon paint cans, time capsules, picnic baskets and boxes with gourmet coffee, snack mixes and gifts selected with the recipient in mind.

The owner of Dream Baskets By Kay, Ehalt has been building gift baskets for nine years, first in an office at Garrison Street and Jewell Avenue, and since August at a storefront at 1000 S. Wadsworth in Lakewood. Despite the difficulties inherent to running a small business, Ehalt has carved a niche for hers with a combination of shrewd marketing and creativity.

Ehalt and one part-time employee fill the baskets and decorate them with colorful ribbon and cellophane before they are delivered or shipped out. Some of Ehalt’s best sellers are wine carriers and time capsules for graduates, newlyweds and babies, which parents and family members can stuff with their own mementos and open at a later date, she said.

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