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Vittoria Woodill reports.
UKEE WASHINGTON: As part of our commitment to highlighting small businesses in our region, Eyewitness News Reporter Vittoria Woodill visits a gift shop in Delaware County where the owner wasn't sure her store would survive 2020, but personal determination along with community support helped keep her shop open for business. Vittoria, as you see, joins us now to tell you all about local Home and Gifts and Media. Hey, Vittoria.
VITTORIA WOODILL: Hey, Ukee. That's right. I mean, we hear that story too much.
As a result of this year, so many businesses have had to close their doors. And it's just been awful to not only hear those stories, but hear those stories and knowing that sometimes we could help that. And that is why we do open for business to support these small businesses.
And it's a business like local home and gifts and media that you're not only just supporting the person who owns it, but you're supporting the community there. And you'll see why this shop is so special and why people just love small town shops like theirs. Take a look. Look at this stuff. Isn't it neat? You might want to [INAUDIBLE].
KATHLEEN RODE: You sure you don't want the bigger size?
VITTORIA WOODILL: Upgrade it.
KATHLEEN RODE: This is the smaller size.
VITTORIA WOODILL: While I'm here. Let's just say your home collection will never be complete at Local Home and Gifts and Media. Why is it something like this that you're just like I need this matchbook? Why? They have everything you need or could ever want to gift a friend or treat yourself. Pull these out and you're like,
VITTORIA WOODILL: Did you see how pulled together she is? Candles, glittery things, baby gifts, barware essentials. I mean, they even have gifts that will make you crave breakfast while you're finishing up the dishes from dinner. And this scrapple towel--
KATHLEEN RODE: Yeah, we all need more scrapple. Isn't it so cute?
VITTORIA WOODILL: In 2014, owner Kathy Rode immediately jumped at the chance to take over the shop she loved so much as a customer.
KATHLEEN RODE: This is every woman's dream. I get to shop all day. I get to merchandise. I get to decorate. And it makes people really happy.
VITTORIA WOODILL: But it was COVID that felt like a gift that kept on giving in the worst way for her and her business.
KATHLEEN RODE: There was a lot of problems that we encounter being closed, not having enough money to buy new inventory, not sure if anyone was going to walk in when we reopened. We weren't able to pay our rent. We weren't able to pay our utilities. We weren't able to pay anyone. So it was really hard.
VITTORIA WOODILL: Where does all of that leave you now?
KATHLEEN RODE: So we considered closing. I toyed with the idea of closing a lot. But I thought I would be crazy if I didn't stay open through the fourth quarter and try to have a Christmas and buy what I could. And people responded. And we survived.
VITTORIA WOODILL: And just like a gift is so much more when a thought is behind it, so is a small business.
KATHLEEN RODE: I want people to remember it's not just coming in and spending money in a small business, it's following them on social media and sharing their posts or seeing the story and telling a friend that you saw the story. There's so many ways that you can support not just my small business if they're seeing this. But any of those businesses could use anyone's help.
And when you're supporting a small business, you're also supporting a small town. And people love small towns like Media. The reason they love these small towns is because they have these little stores.
And they don't survive on their own. They do not survive without customers. They don't.
VITTORIA WOODILL: Well, you know I had to pick something up, right? I mean, Ukee, the inventory was gorgeous. And I mean, I bought this matchbook and the candle behind me. I mean, stunning.
UKEE WASHINGTON: Nice, OK.
VITTORIA WOODILL: Things are getting lit, OK.
UKEE WASHINGTON: Yeah, blow it out quick.
VITTORIA WOODILL: It also matches my shirt, OK.
UKEE WASHINGTON: Yes, it does.
VITTORIA WOODILL: But here's-- right, I did plan that. And this is what's so cool about a small business like this. It's special items like this that you can discover by just walking in. And just the act of picking up something even as small as a matchbook or a candle, whether it's for you or for someone else, the effect it has not only on the owner but on the community is huge. We say we're all in this together.
And sometimes it just means just walking in and checking it out. And here's the last thing that I'll say. By the way, during the Christmas season, they blew up with support from-- they call her Beanie. But Kathy's classmates from Cardinal O'Hara, class of 1990. So shout out to them. I mean, her high school friends were helping her business thrive. That's love, Ukee.
UKEE WASHINGTON: Shout out to Beanie and friends.
VITTORIA WOODILL: That's family.
UKEE WASHINGTON: That's family. That's right. That's right.
So many ways to support. And you know you planned that. Come on. That looks like--
VITTORIA WOODILL: I did.
UKEE WASHINGTON: See-- [LAUGHS]
VITTORIA WOODILL: And the earrings and the ring. Did you see that, too?
UKEE WASHINGTON: Very nice, very nice. Work it.
VITTORIA WOODILL: Hey, and by the way, Easter bunny is coming to town. So maybe you want to hop on over to Local Home and Gifts.
UKEE WASHINGTON: I see what you did there.
VITTORIA WOODILL: Just-- you see what I did?
UKEE WASHINGTON: I see what you did there. Very well done. Thank you, Toria.