Come along on a tour of Seasons by Design, the gem of a store which is a gift shop yet so much more.
The tour guide today is the always friendly owner of the store, Jillayne Bertram. While she has an equally friendly and knowledgeable staff, nobody knows the layout of the shop—and the reasons for it—as well as Jill does.
But first things first—finding the store can be a minor challenge on the initial visit. Everyone seems to know where Honeymoon Acres and the Altona Supper Club are along STH 32/57 on New Holstein’s north side. Go around the corner from the supper club onto Ford Drive, past the front entrance to the greenhouse business and take the first right to get to Seasons by Design, which is tucked behind the implement dealer Gruett’s.
For anyone who has been to Seasons by Design but not in a while, it would be a great idea to take a new tour. Things have changed quite a bit since a major resetting of the store about a year ago at this time. To some degree things are always changing at Seasons by Design— Jill likes to keep things fresh and is bringing in new products all the time, including the latest in home and fashion trends. But Seasons by Design is more departmentalized these days to help make shopping convenient for the customer who might be looking for something specific and is pressed for time.
The tour begins in the entryway and at the front of the store where seasonal lawn and garden items are still located. Spring will get here eventually and, if this year is anything like last year, the hot items at Seasons by Design will include rain gauges, wasp catchers in different sizes and styles, and decorative glass bird baths.
The garden area also includes newly expanded offerings of military, fire and police garden stones, some of which have holes in them to insert small American flags. Jill said many people are choosing to honor the veteran(s) in their lives or just America in general with patriotic items, including wine glasses with military logos on them also available at Seasons by Design.
Also on the right side upon entering the store is the seasonal area, right now stocked with Easter and spring items— a small portion of the more than 10,000 items in the shop. More shelving added in the past year has assisted the staff in displaying all those items.
With travel up more than a third during this harsh winter, a tropical vacation/ spring break area greets customers as they enter the store. The offerings include beaded sandals for women for only $20.
To the left at the front of the store is one of Seasons by Design’s best selling areas— inspirational and memorial items. That department is now more secluded as the messages on stepping stones, angels, concrete garden benches, memorial flags, etc. might tug at the heartstrings of shoppers.
Moving on along the left wall, shoppers find the baby and toddler department, one of the fastest growing areas of Seasons by Design. Within that area, baptismal items are the biggest seller, but Seasons by Design also offers Mud Pie brand clothing up to size 4T. Jill said one area resident had been driving to Chicago to buy that line until she learned it was at Seasons by Design.
Next up is the new area of ready-to-go picture frames, many with special messages on them. Wedding and anniversary gifts are in the same vicinity.
Home decor takes up much of the center portion and walls of Seasons by Design, highlighted by Tuscan-themed wine serveware and tabletop displays. Yet another study recently espoused the health benefits of drinking red wine in moderation, and Seasons by Design offers plenty of items to do so in style.
In the home decor area and others as well, Jill and her staff have taken the time to put matching displays of items together, perhaps saving time for busy shoppers or providing an idea for decorating that the customer might not have thought about. “I want to make it easier for the customer,” Jill said.
Moving back to the right wall of the larger room at Seasons by Design, customers will find the new “man cave” area. While it is often women buying gifts for the man in their lives, men are most welcome at Seasons by Design as well. Metal bottle holding characters representing many professions and hobbies are a hot seller, and the men’s area also features everything from candles which have the scent of bacon or fresh-cut grass, to Duck Dynasty items.
The jewelry area once located at the front of the store has now been moved closer to the primary checkout area and also now serves as a second checkout area. Kameleon interchangeable jewelry continues to be a hot seller at Seasons by Design, with rings, earrings, necklaces, belt buckles, watches and sunglasses (including prescription) all able to have their accent colors changed by putting in a new “pop.” Every 11th pop is free at Seasons by Design. Annaleece jewelry also is available at the shop.
All-natural Olivina and Caren lotions, bath and body products also have been added. Like many of the items at Seasons by Design, both are made in the U. S., and a portion of Caren sales go toward breast cancer research. Hand washes, foot scrubs and lip moisturizers are also available.
In a short amount of time, the fashion department has gone to #1 at Seasons by Design. In addition to jewelry and some clothing, that includes scarves, purses, shoes, sandals, and more.
Entering the back room—which it is hard to believe at one time housed all of Seasons by Design—is the “tween” department, items for teenagers and young adults. Popular items in that department include wall art for bedrooms and dorm rooms.
The Green Bay Packers department stays out all year long, of course, and Jill said a customer recently came down from Green Bay because she heard Seasons by Design had just the unique Packers item for which she was looking. Badgers and Brewers items also are available.
Moving further back customers find the kitchen and food department, which includes Rabbit Creek mixes for dips, brownies, breads and soups. Rabbit Creek is another made-in-the-U. S. product.
Against the windows are stained glass items and suncatchers. Kitras hand-blown wishing balls are the hot item these days as they feature different inspirational messages such as motherhood, sisterhood, celebration and others.
Just beyond the birthday area, the tea area, the pet department, and the year-round Christmas ornaments display at the back of the store is the discount area which has been doubled in size in the past year, offering items at discounts of 40 to 75 percent. The clearance area is still departmentalized to make shopping easier.
As if all that is not enough, coming soon at Seasons by Design will be more items from two recent major acquisitions— numbered framed wildlife prints from Terry Redlin and other artists, and antiques big and small acquired from a former antique mall in Fond du Lac owned by Jill’s grandparents.
This ends the tour of Seasons by Design. Whether going there for the first time or for the first time in a while, check out the always changing, expanding and improving Seasons by Design.
Subscribe to the Tri-County News...just $35/year! 894-2828