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Basket case

Connie Steiert

You’ve searched high and low but no single store-ready gift is quite right for that special someone. You were hoping for something a little more personal, personalized and it would be wonderful if it could be delivered.It’s a sure bet you haven’t called Basket Providers Gifts and Groceries yet. Whether you are across town or across the country, Basket Providers has a beautiful basket or boxed gift that will be justperfect and if they don’t, they’ll create it. Every basket at Basket Providers is individually prepared and customized for each and every customer.&quotEvery basket we make we make one by one,&quot explains Lisa Fox, who, along with partner Debbie Reed, owns and operates Basket Providers. &quotWe have standard baskets, but every basket is hand done, and customized to suit each individual.&quotBasket Providers has a whole array of theme baskets to get you started, however. There are gourmet baskets, with delicacies such as salmon and fine cheeses, or fruit baskets. The Colorado Vail Souvenir Basket is extremely popular, with products the recipient can keep to remind him of his Vail trip, such as Vail postcards, local calendars and picture frames that say, &quotColorado.&quot Another hit during ski season is Basket Providers’ Skier Survival Basket, filled with useful items that can be stuffed in a pocket on the go, such as lip balm and bottles of water, energy bars and dried fruit and chocolate shaped like ski boots or snowboards.&quotWe do live in a ski resort, so there is the novelty of skiing and it is what customers like to see,&quot says Fox. &quotThey like sending a postcard home. It reminds them of how much fun we are having up here.&quotRight now, the holiday baskets at Basket Providers feature special ornaments and other holiday treats. Much in demand this year is Basket Providers’ Country Western Christmas, filled with western goodies like chips and salsa made in Colorado, Cowboy Stew Seasoning, and a cowboy ornament.&quotWe have a lot of different items to choose from and we can do a wide variety of baskets,&quot partner Reed says. &quotOf course, someone can look at our list and then custom mix the contents of any basket.&quotAlthough Basket Providers recommends baskets starting at $35 and up, Reed says they will work within any budget or size needs. Basket Providers has baskets of every size and shape and gift boxes as well, and more than 100 gift items in stock to fill them. Basket Providers specializes in using products made or grown locally, or in Colorado, such as Castle Peak Soap products made in Eagle, Vail Mountain Coffees, and dry food goods from the Western Slope.&quotWe use local artists and local craftsman as much as possible,&quot Fox says. But if they don’t have the ideal item in stock, the pair will eagerly shop for additional goodies to make each basket perfect for its recipient, too.&quotWe can really personalize it,&quot Fox says. &quotI love to shop, and shopping for other people is really fun.&quotMost of Basket Providers orders are completed over the phone, but the pair will come to your business or home to show you samples of their work. Or, you can check out some of their enticing baskets at Nature’s Providers in Avon, near Wal-Mart.Although Basket Providers Gifts and Groceries is just going into its second season, it has several years of expertise behind the business. Fox worked for the Dancing Bear for eight years and spent the last two at the company’s In the Basket gift shop in Eagle-Vail.Fox was in charge of the store’s busy gift basket business, doing everything from making baskets to delivering them.&quotI became real acquainted with the basket business and finding and selling unique items to fill them,&quot Fox explains. &quotWhen the store decided to close down, I decided that’s what I wanted to do.&quotShe approached Reed with the idea, and the two opened Basket Providers as partners more than a year ago. The duo works out of their homes to keep overhead at a minimum, so they are available seven days a week, from approximately 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Although most clients order in advance, Basket Providers is able to do last minute baskets as well.&quotThe majority of the time we can get a basket made and delivered within an hour,&quot says Reed.&quotWe are really good partners,&quot says Fox. &quotThe two of us make great baskets. We’re a tag team; I can pick up where she leaves off.&quotBasket Providers does a steady welcome business as well, providing Welcome Baskets for arriving guests and condo owners at many of the lodging establishments in the valley. These baskets are filled with snack mixes and cute bags of pasta that say, &quotwelcome.&quotIn addition, Basket Providers does quite a bit of corporate business for businesses, which may send thank-you baskets to clientele. The duo just fulfilled one order from a business, which sent gift baskets to all the real estate offices in town.Just this season, Fox and Reed started a grocery delivery service as well. They have found that some arriving guests and condo owners want more than just a beautiful basket of munchies; tired from travel, they want a refrigerator and pantry stocked with the items they crave. So Basket Providers sends out a brochure with an order sheet and does the shopping and delivery for them.Fox and Reed have expanded their offerings in other ways, too. Summers spent at the Minturn Market showing their goods and rubbing elbows with so many craftsmen have inspired Fox and Reed to try their own hand at a few specialty items for their baskets. Reed now hand crafts delicious chocolates and Fox has made some heavenly potpourri, Mango Salsa with Colorado tomatoes, gooseberry jam and pickled green beans and cucumbers with area produce.&quotMy goal next year is to begin weaving the baskets myself,&quot the energetic Reed exclaims.This week Reed and Fox are busily finishing up very special gift baskets, along with their regular orders, for women and children at the Women’s Resource Center and for the Buddy Program. Every Easter, the duo also creates Easter baskets for these programs.&quotI just learned that living in a small community it’s important to get involved and give back,&quot Fox says.So, if you haven’t found that special gift, it isn’t too late to contact Basket Providers.&quotWe just really love what we are doing,&quot Fox says.To find out more about Basket Providers, or to place an order, call (970) 949-0543; or fax (970) 748-3039.You can also visit the website at http://www.basketproviders.com.


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