By Fabian Sandler
Northpark Drive is a busy street, with many small businesses facing it. One of the nicer, more pleasant ones to visit is Best Wishes Gifts, located at 3032 Northpark Drive. Eleven years ago, Dana and Larry Koslovsky decided to open the gift shop. It has become a staple in Kingwood. Best Wishes Gifts is a specialty gift shop that caters to the discerning buyer.
Gift store staples like candles and soap are available. In fact, the candles, which are housed in reusable containers, are all made in the United States. Dana goes out of her way to find products to carry that are made in the U.S. “All of our soaps, all of our body lotions, none are made in China. We’re trying to get as much jewelry that’s made in the USA into our store.”
Dana has honed her display-case skills from her experience in the restaurant business in both management and ownership. She had been in the retail industry for seven years before opening Best Wishes Gifts, whose customers range from Kingwood and Atascocita to Huffman, Crosby and Porter.
One would be hard pressed to find a more amicable, friendly environment than can be found inside Best Wishes Gifts. “We are here, we are absolutely family. You will always be dealing with one of us, my daughter, Carrie, my mom, Carol, or myself. My husband, Larry, sometimes helps out,” Dana beams. “It’s four generations, since my granddaughter, Kylie, who is turning thirteen. She works for Beanie Boos,” Dana laughs. “That’s it. There’s nobody else, so when you come in, you’re dealing directly with family. We treat you as if you’re family when you walk in. We’ve tried really hard to deal directly with ownership in small business.
“When you have been here for ten years, you have customers you connect with,” the owner adds. “Some have become personal friends. We have such an awesome foundation, I’m so thankful.
“We focus on products made in the USA,” Dana asserts once more, which includes local artist Carol Roby, who produces handmade pens. Best Wishes continues to look for products made in the United States, particularly in Texas.
The store is filled with a variety of lines. Jacob Musical Chimes is made by a U.S. musical instrument maker. Switchables is a night-light line with a twist. The facing, depicting different settings or events that the night light backlights, can be changed out. Grandma’s cleaning line’s Spot Remover, Dana says, is quite an effective product. “It is one of the best products I’ve ever used.” Dana feels that way about their jewelry cleaner, as well.
The Corinthian Bells line continues to be a staple at the store. The wind chimes give a distinctively soothing chime.
Boutique items are other lines that keep Best Wishes fresh and new for long-time customers to explore, as well as new customers to experience. “We have home décor. A lot of people are looking to remodel. We do have interesting pieces,” Dana asserts.
As with any retail store, new lines are an exciting addition for repeat customers to check out. Willow Tree Angels is an inspirational line of statues. The handmade knives line is called Uncorked. The knives feature a blade that folds into its handle that is shaped like a fish, carrying the inspirational theme further. Their car fragrance line is made in the U.S.A, while Enchanted EsScents is made in Texas.
“One line that we added to our collection is the Leaning Crosses,” Dana states. They’re made out of stone by an artist in Dayton, Texas. His name is Rodney Maple.” Another new line that Best Wishes Gifts has added to their collection is Shell Bell Designs. “It’s all handmade, Sterling silver jewelry.” The line includes rings, earrings and pendants. The line uses a technique called reticulated silver. “It’s torch-created texture,” Dana adds.
“We have handmade plaques, made in the USA. It’s a husband and wife team.” The plaques have catchy sayings that are whimsical, funny or inspirational, but the makers can also customize a plaque with a customer’s favorite or unique verbiage. It takes about two to three weeks for a customized saying to be produced and shipped back to Dana for pick-up.
“We also have a Texas company that does cement blocks and they can be customized as well,” the store owner explains. “Another artist does custom canvases. Her name is Whitney. She’s local, here in Kingwood.”
Amish Country Essentials make soaps and lotions. “They have a special cream called 3 Magi Salve. It’s made with frankincense and myrrh.”
Silver Forest is a line of handcrafted earrings made in the USA.
One of the candle lines, Bridgewater Candles, is making a difference to children around the world. “When a customer buys a Bridgewater Candles product,” Dana explains, “it feeds a child for a day.” The company donates a portion of each jar candle sale in partnership with Rice Bowls, a faith-based ministry, which makes contributions to orphanages around the world.
“I’ve always said we have everything from birth to bereavement,” Dana says. “We’re known in the area as the inspirational store.”
“Shop local, shop small,” the owner adds. “Every small business in Kingwood supports the community. The taxes go back to the community.”
A new section is geared toward men. There are various items that women can pick up for that retreat that the man in their lives refers to as the mancave. Items include leather wallets and leather travel kits. “There’s a company called The Grommet,” Dana relates. “They specialize in small, new business. We carry a lot of their things, a lot of out-of-the-ordinary things that are created by individuals.”
One of the more interesting, and humorous, items Dana brought in is Poo-Pourri. “You spray it in the potty before you go and nobody will ever know,” is the item’s motto. It really is a spray scent for the bathroom. The line has done very well.
Best Wishes Gifts has available gift baskets for businesses or corporate accounts. The gift baskets are theme-based that include Mardi Gras, Texas, Christmas, Fall, Halloween, New Home Owner. “They give me their ideas and I create. I enjoy doing that,” Dana says, smiling.
Their business card carries the slogan, “For the gift that says it best.” The slogan is right on the mark.
Not only is Best Wishes Gifts still around, but it’s been a success. There’s nothing like growth for any business.
The phone number for Best Wishes Gifts is 281-361-0013. Business hours are 9:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday, and 9:30 am to 5 pm Saturday. Gift wrapping is free. “We want you to be able to walk out of the store able to give the gift away. That’s always our goal.”
To stay in touch, the store sends out emails. “Get on our email list,” Dana instructs. “Because we have great sales, and the only way you find out about our sales is via email. When we send out an email, it’s always good. You’re always going to get either a discount or something free. Always.” There’s also a Facebook site, Best Wishes Gifts.
Products made in the United States, great customer service, the business run by a family. Best Wishes Gifts has found the right formula for success. They’re about to start their tenth year, proof positive that customers are being treated right.
It is not just the customers who are treated right. With the recent Hurricane Harvey still fresh in mind, Dana has felt the love and compassion of her customers and friends in treating her and her family with equivalence.
“As we all recoup and rebuild from Hurricane Harvey, my prayers and thoughts are with my friends who are rebuilding homes and businesses,” Dana explains profoundly.
“I would like to thank everyone for holding us close during Hurricane Harvey. Our family suffered the loss of my parents’ home and my dad passed away from a heart attack preparing for the storm. Our hearts are heavy. Through all the tragedies of the storm, God was ever present. He placed His angels around us, from the police officers who stayed with us in the pouring rain. He placed my dad in the loving hands of Darst Funeral Home, who also came in the pouring rain. The love and compassion shown by John Darst and Joseph, will forever live in my heart. He placed angels around us in the food that was prepared by local students, delivered to tired family and friends as we gutted my mom’s house. Not only was food delivered, they took the time and wrote little sayings on the bags. “Kingwood Strong” was on mine. Yes, we are Kingwood Strong. As we all rebuild, let’s keep Kingwood Strong, let’s all support the businesses that make Kingwood great. Thank you for ten years in business. It has been an honor to be a part of this great community.”