At the end of Old Bellevue’s Main Street is a charming gift shop called Hedge & Vine. At one time thriving on hostess and entertaining gifts, the pandemic has since tested what the store caters to. How has a gift shop survived during a Stay Home order? It took patience and a phenomenal customer base.
“COVID-19 has had a major impact,” says Marilyn Zonnefeld, owner. “When it hit, I scrambled to stop shipments from all my vendors. Thankfully, they were compassionate about the situation.”
Hedge & Vine opened in 2012, then tripled the space when it moved to Old Bellevue in 2018.
“It was gamble to move here, but it was worth it,” said Zonnefeld. “Our customers responded well, and we wouldn’t be here without them today.”
Unlike other retail shops, Hedge & Vine stayed open for most of the pandemic. The wide range of offerings, including wine, has allowed them to keep their doors and curbside open. According to Zonnefeld, they opened (in-store) the week before Mother’s Day. Before that, they were taking phone calls and setting up tables outside their front door.
CONNECTING WITH THE COMMUNITY
During the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, Hedge & Vine increased their production of custom gift baskets for Easter, Mother’s Day, and other special occasions. Some customers would call in with a specific gift request, and others would entirely trust Hedge & Vine to curate the basket.
“It’s hard to describe and showcase all the gift options in our store,” said Zonnefeld. “I’ve been using Instagram as tool, but I’ve really seen the need to get a better website.”
Going digital isn’t the only challenge for the shop. At the end of May, the riots and looting in Downtown shook several storefronts in Old Bellevue to their core.
“We weren’t directly impacted by looters, but they were here coming through the park and alley,” said Zonnefeld. “It was good to see the residents and businesses on Main Street come together from that. I had customers who live across the street offer to keep an eye on the storefront.”
Staying home has impacted what customers buy. Before the pandemic, Hedge & Vine was a big provider of hostess and entertaining gifts. Now, it’s more about self-care.
“Customers are looking for comfort and making the home feel good,” said Zonnefeld. “Lots of candles, blankets, loungewear… things that are comfortable.”
Face masks are now required to shop at Hedge & Vine. If you come to the store without one, they’ll offer you a mask. Hand sanitizer is available for use and purchase, and employees are frequently wiping down surfaces throughout the store.
If you aren’t ready to shop in-store yet, Hedge & Vine is still taking phone orders. They also offer curbside pickup and will walk your purchase out to your car.
According to Zonnefeld, she’s seen an increase in foot traffic since King County moved to phase II. Sales are still down, but she’s confident it’ll come back.
“I have confidence because of our customer’s support,” said Zonnefeld. “They know what it takes to keep their favorite gift store alive. They want to help.”
You can visit Hedge & Vine from 10-5 p.m., Monday thru Saturday. They are currently closed on Sundays.
Hedge & Vine
10028 Main St.
Bellevue, WA 98004
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign, and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.