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Carm’s Gift Shoppe celebrates 20 years

Carm’s Gift Shoppe first opened its doors in June 1991, when Carmella Norris’ knack for craft-making turned into a side hobby that eventually evolved into a store.

Two summers later, in July 1993, the shop moved from Hollis to its current address in Pennichuck Square along Route 101A in Merrimack.

The shop has stood the test of time and is about to celebrate 20 years in business.

From the start, Norris said, it has always been about customer satisfaction.

“We greet everyone who comes into the store,” she said. “We keep changing with the times to satisfy customers’ needs.”

Norris said the changes reflect the economy and shoppers’ state of mind.

“If they can’t wear it or use it practically, then people don’t buy it,” Norris said. Although she still sells some collectibles such as Willow Tree Angels and Boyds Bears, she has shifted her concentrations into clothing, jewelry and accessories.

Norris has included the creations of local artisans in her inventory as well.

Local artisan Sally Kaye of Nashua has been selling her custom-made jewelry at the store for more than 15 years.

Nowadays, the store is getting more involved in local charitable promotions and community outreach.

George Norris said it’s their way of lending a helping hand to the community.

Carmella Norris holds regular raffles to give away items such as Yankee candles, stationary sets and brand-name handbags, with proceeds going to the Nashua Humane Society.

She also sells Friends of Mel cancer bracelets, which are made by the Friends of Mel Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides supportive services to women with cancer. Carmella’s brother, Roger Richard, died of cancer last October. The cause is “near and dear to her heart,” George Norris said.

As for the future, the Norrises are looking ahead to several more years of offering collectibles, scarves and candles to their loyal customer base.

“We’ve bent over backwards sometimes to get customers what they want,” George Norris said. “If somebody wants something, we get it.”

Carm’s Gift Shoppe is holding a storewide sale in appreciation for the customers who helped the store to reach its 20th anniversary.

This month, all items are on sale at a 20 percent discount. There also will be raffles, and all proceeds from the tickets will be donated to the Humane Society.

Alexandra Churchill can be reached at 594-6411 or achurchill@nashuatelegraph.com.