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GIFT SHOP Magazine's 2009 Ultimate Makeover

This year's makeover went to Le Papillon, a long-standing gift store in New Jersey. Find out how some tested merchandising techniques executed by OneCoast's visual merchandising team-on a $500 budget-worked wonders for the store.

Le Papillon is a wonderful store in Rumson, NJ, with a focus on both apparel and gift items. Storeowner Mary Louise van der Wilden explained that many years ago, in 1984, her husband had a separate high-end decorative brass hardware shop in the area called The Brass Horn. Then when Home Depot showed up, he gradually started adding gift accessories to the store's offerings. In 2002, he passed away and Mary Louise decided to merge The Brass Horn and Le Papillon into one.

This year, Roberta King, territory manager for OneCoast, nominated Le Papillon for a store makeover for several reasons. "This store has been in business for many years, owned by Mary Louise and her husband. When he passed away a few years back she rose to the occasion and with her strength, kept it going. It has so much potential but I felt it could use some enhancements to support the love Mary Louise has for her store and especially her customers in this beautiful town," King said.

Le Papillon employs eight part-time staff and van der Wilden says she is constantly reorganizing to keep the store looking fresh. She really appreciated having the store makeover to give things a breath of fresh air. "You always have to keep an open mind and look for new and fresh ideas," she said.

Paul Thompson, the vice president of creative and visual merchandising for OneCoast and Marc Dudley, also an employee with OneCoast, executed the makeover over two days. In addition to his responsibilities at OneCoast, Thompson is also adjunct instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the Home Products department.

GIFT SHOP thanks OneCoast for sponsoring the makeover. Jeremy Hirsch, vice president of marketing for the company, said terrific merchandising was one way that retailers could keep customers coming back to the store. "Retailers need to give their customers great reasons to visit their shops-particularly in today's challenging economy," Hirsch added.

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