The Times West Virginian

Business

May 18, 2014

Craft Connection remains ‘neat little shop’

FAIRMONT — Craft Connection Gift Shop LLC, which is under new ownership, is continuing to offer what customers have loved for more than two decades.

On May 1, Dana Summers officially took over the shop, located in Fairmont at 303 Tenth St. in the Gallo Square complex. The former owners, Frank and Ida Gallo, who operated the business for 23 years, decided to retire so they could focus on visiting family and spending time with their grandchildren.

Before becoming the new owner, Summers had worked at Craft Connection for years. She was friends with Ida first and began coming to the store to help her out. Summers then started working there part-time, and later moved to full-time.

“I just enjoyed my job,” Summers. “I loved what I did and just couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

She had never really thought about being a business owner herself, and she always said that she would follow Ida out the door whenever she left. But Ida and Frank made Summers an offer that was too good to refuse, and she was grateful for the opportunity.

 “I ... didn’t want Fairmont to lose this neat little shop, so I’m giving it a shot,” she said.

She commented that Ida was an excellent teacher and molded her into a business owner.

“It really was bittersweet,” Summers said of the transition in ownership, “because everybody loved Ida, but they were used to me being here, too. I’ve made a lot of good friends just from them walking in the door.”

Craft Connection features everything from jewelry to home decor. Customers can find wreaths, flags, candles, antiques, West Virginia foods and unique gifts that they can’t get anywhere else. The store also decorates with the seasons, and Summers will continue the annual Christmas open house in November.

“We always have something new,” she said.

Summers said the many regular, loyal customers who stop by Craft Connection whenever they need a gift or new items for their house have made the business what it is today.

Over the years, she and Ida both learned their customers’ likes and tastes, and that personal touch keeps people coming back to the shop. When Summers goes to trade shows or browses through catalogs, she is always looking for items that her customers would enjoy.

Summers grew up in Fairmont, and she and her family live in the same neighborhood as Craft Connection. The location is very convenient, because Summers can walk to work every day.

Her two daughters, Ashley and Sarah, will help her out at the store this summer. Ashley, 19, is studying early childcare at Pierpont Community & Technical College, and Sarah, 16, is a sophomore at Fairmont Senior High School.

“I have a very supportive family,” Summers said. “Without the help from my family and friends, I couldn’t have done this.”

The store is currently open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Starting in June, Summers will change the Wednesday hours to 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. to offer different hours for working people.

For more information, call 304-367-1060 or visit Craft Connection on Facebook.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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