Green Table Gifts in Tempe will celebrate its 2nd anniversary on Saturday, July 13, and owner Patty Brees, along with her family and staff, is busy planning some extra special festivities. There will be door prizes and exclusive Trunk Shows from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—Bella Notte Linens is just one of those taking part—and the shop will offer sales all day. You won’t want to miss this event!
Before opening her shop, Patty had found herself looking for a change of direction in her life. So, after fourteen years in the corporate world at a national gift shop chain, listening to her customers asking for more unique and locally made products, she took a giant leap and opened Green Table Gifts. The name comes from two sources—green is Patty’s favorite color and her trademarks are two large green tables that she uses to showcase her ever-changing featured displays. The display tables quickly began bringing customers back to the shop wanting to know, “What’s on the Green Table this time?”
Green Table Gifts opened on July 13, 2011, with the help of Joy Getz, her assistant and former co-worker in the corporate world, and seven local vendors. The first location was a 900 square feet storefront near the Chandler mall that only carried gift items.
One of the things that makes Patty unique is her ability to change and grow with the needs of her customers—she listens and responds. She says, “Being nimble and flexible has been the key to growing the business. And listening to my customers!”
When customers wanted to buy the vintage furniture being used to display gift items, Patty began carrying furniture, and vintage became a large part of the shop’s inventory. The pieces sell very quickly so the shop is constantly changing.
The shop soon outgrew the space as Patty added more vendors, furniture and Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan—a product she discovered a few weeks after opening the shop and which has revolutionized her business. Chalk Paint® is a very special decorative paint that is specifically designed for furniture but can also be used on walls, floors and in paintings. It will cover just about every surface, including fabric, with minimal preparation, if any.
Patty moved to her current location in November 2012 at 1840 E. Warner Road, which gives her the space she needs to accommodate her expanding business.
Customers love the techniques Patty uses to restore and repurpose the vintage pieces so she teaches classes on various Chalk Paint® techniques as well as offering custom refinishing. A large well-stocked display of Chalk Paint® is located on the back wall next to a work area used for classes, demonstrations or one of Patty’s many projects. She has become an expert on Chalk Paint® and finds herself carrying around a paintbrush most days as she answers customers’ questions and demonstrates techniques.
You feel like you are visiting a neighbor when you walk into Green Table Gifts. A friendly hello from Patty or one of her four staff makes you feel right at home, and everyone is ready and eager to help you find what you are looking for.
The shop is full of fun and exciting items with between 35 to 55 artists and vendors displaying a wide range of antiques, vintage, home décor and gift items. Patty enjoys finding local providers who share her philosophy of being eco-friendly. She is a firm believer in supporting local business and is proud that approximately 75% of her vendors are local artists. Other items the shop carries are carefully selected for quality and craftsmanship and most are from small family-run businesses.
“I like picking up the phone and knowing the person on the other end,” Patty says.
Patty has always been a creator and, surrounded and supported by her family, she still creates each day. When she was a child, her parents—who were professors and symphonic musicians—nurtured her creativity and she credits their support for her “craftiness.” Her dad, Bob Wittkamp, is her shopping buddy and often finds treasures that Patty has overlooked on their “picking” trips. He helps in the shop, making repairs or moving heavy items. Her mom Becky helps out with Patty’s 10-year-old son, Jonny, allowing Patty to work the many hours needed when you have your own business. Jonny has also started helping in the store behind the counter and greeting visitors and is very comfortable in that role.
Husband Sean is the technical support, working on the website, blog and with print media. He has been very supportive of the business. This spring, he and Patty traveled to Europe on their honeymoon and they stopped for a few days in Oxford so they could spend time with Chalk Paint® originator Annie Sloan, touring her shop, home and local neighborhood.
Taping into her creativity and listening to her customers, Patty is still growing and expanding her business. Keep your eye on Green Table Gifts because you never know what the shop will offer next!
Green Table Gifts is located at 1840 E. Warner Road, Suite #115, in Tempe. The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 480-855-5620, email email@example.com, visit www.gtgifts.com or http://greentablegifts.blogspot.com/. You’ll also find the shop on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.