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Better Giving by Kipling Back in Avon for Holiday Season

After closing its store in May, the popular online business is opening temporarily in the upstairs level of A&M Furniture in Avon for all your gift-giving needs.

Simsbury resident Kipling Gottshall, 46, has always liked giving people presents. When often asked what she'd like to do if she could do anything, her response was usually "a professional gift giver."

That modern-day Santa role became a reality for her seven years ago when she launched her Better Giving by Kipling gift website. The store that she and her husband, Gary, 47, opened in Avon two years ago closed in May to her customers' dismay, but the Gotshalls are bringing their gift-giving business back to town for the holidays.

Better Giving by Kipling ware will be sold in A&M Furniture upstairs between Nov. 1 and Dec. 23 Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"We can do it again," Kipling Gottshall said on Halloween. "We're thrilled to be back for the holidays."

The "pop-up store" opportunity has been in the works for quite awhile. Gotshall suggested the idea to Marilyn and Al Nemarich, owners of A&M Furniture. Marilyn was one of her regular customers.

"She was immediately receptive to it," Gottshall said.

Gottshall said it'll be nice to have a store again temporarily. Her shop had a large following and became a "destination stop" even though it didn't have "frontage" to the main road.

"I loved having a store. It was fantastic," she said. "The community was fantastic."

The Gottshalls won't be carrying some of the larger furniture items they used to have, however there are plenty of home accessories and tabletop gift items from Julia Knight and Beatriz Ball products to candles, scarves, kitchen towels, salt and pepper shakers, picture frames and mirrors. She also carries some handmade products.

"In a way, you're selling your taste to the public," she said.

Many of her friends have told her, "Don't buy what you like. Buy what sells." But Gottshall said, "I buy what I like" and it's worked for Better Giving by Kipling so far.

The pricing remains the same as it used to be in their store. The Gottshalls continue to keep affordability in mind given the economy.

"That was the thing when we had the store before that people liked," she said.

Kipling goes to a gift show in New York every year to find items and artisan-made products to resell for her business and has never stopped running the website since she and Gary closed their store.

While the Better Giving by Kipling opened in a more dire economic time than now, Gottshall said, the store was actually very profitable every month. They closed to spend more time with their kids. The Gotshalls had signed a two-year lease with Ensign Bickford to "play it safe."

"It was a really heartbreaking decision for us (to close)," she said.

She said the shift to working from home is good and the pace of the job has changed now that she doesn't have to buy as much inventory or staff a store full-time.

"It was all about a life change for me to fit my kids into the mix," Gottshall said, who is raising 11- and 8-year-old boys. "I spend six days a week to bring my boys to activities like any other mom.... It's nice to have my life balance back."

She originally got into the retail business because she and her husband are photographers.

"I couldn't have done it without him," she said of Gary.

She used to sell custom-framed pictures at house parties and online. At the gift shows she went to with her brother, she would pick out candles and other small items to bring with her at house parties. Gotshall began selling those too and then her business began to evolve.

"It just turned into Better Giving by Kipling," she said.

Gottshall hopes to do more "pop-up stores" for future holidays.

"We'll probably be back sometime in the future," she said.

A&M Furniture is located at 16 West Main Street. For more information, you can contact Gottshall at 860-707-6494 or visit the website at www.bettergivingbykipling.com.

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