Linens and candles and cards… oh my! Just one sweep of Yelp, and it’s clear that Occasionette gift shop is the locals’ favorite for stationary, kitchen knick knacks and our personal favorite, Philly-themed goodies. Occasionette curates its gifts so that each item is more like a piece of art than an item in a shop. We chatted with shop owner, curator, and buyer Sara Villari to find out just what makes this gift shop tick.
According to Sara the most important part of her shop is the—wait for it—location, location, location. “I love that our neighborhood feels like a little town,” she says, and given that the shop is located right on South Philly’s East Passyunk Avenue, we completely agree. Even though it’s just blocks from center-city, the area of South Philly has its own look, personality, and people. Sara says one of the most gratifying parts of owning a business in this neighborhood is getting to see the customers’ families grow and expand. “There are so many little babies that were born soon after we opened,” she notes, “and watching them grow into little people over the years is amazing.”
Of course, any good neighborhood is only complete with its local grub, and for Sara and the Occasionette staff, that place is Chhaya Café. Sara says their waffles are to die for. (Personally, we have our eyes on the Cheesesteak Waffle, topped with ribeye, three-cheese sauce, and sautéed peppers.)
It started to make sense how much Sara cared for neighborhood. After all, Occasionette makes a point of working for the community. One of their policies is that if you’re looking for something they don’t carry, they’ll work hard to help you figure out where you can get it. They also constantly bring in new items that reflect the desires of their customers.
Our favorite way Occasionette gives back to the community? Once monthly, they do a “Shop for Good” day where they give a percentage of their sales to a selected charity. They also donate regularly to schools in the area, as well as neighborhood fundraisers. Now that’s the kind of business we can get behind.
It looks like the horizon is bright for this little shop of treasures. They continue to bring in new, hand-picked items that keep them fresh in the world of gift-giving, and with their strong roots in their neighborhood, their branches just keep growing. One thing in particular Sara hopes to accomplish in the future is a visit from stationary-fanatic Lena Dunham. Sara says they almost got Lena in during the DNC through some clever Instagramming and chalkboard signage, but her trip was too short for a visit. Next time!
Be sure to check out Occasionette and the picturesque East Passyunk the next time you’re looking for the perfect gift for that someone special (that includes you)! Also be sure to follow them on Instagram @Occasionette, where they announce their monthly “Shop for Good” days.