Cards, gifts and exclusive out of hours shopping at Park Gate's hidden secret Kards and Keepsakes
THERE’S a small independent in Park Gate that is tempting customers with a huge selection of cards, luxury handmade chocolates and artisan gifts.
Despite trading for more than three years, Kards and Keepsakes is one of Park Gate’s best kept secrets, pulling loyal punters with its gift wrapping and out of hours opening.
Owner Vicky Hutton started offering out of hours shopping after each lockdown, and it has now become a permanent feature.
She said: ‘We pride ourselves on service that goes above and beyond. Customers can now book an appointment on any evening or on a Sunday, and we will open the shop for that person, or their bubble, and they can have the whole shop to themselves.
‘We protect all our vulnerable customers. A lot of people still don’t like being in a crowded space. It’s quiet in here, it’s only us – and there is no obligation to buy.
‘We have disabled access, too. There is a ramp outside, and you can get a wheelchair or mobility scooter right around the shop.’
Kards and Keepsakes also offers a popular free gift-wrapping service – even for items bought elsewhere. Customers are just asked to buy paper and ribbon in store, and then Vicky and her team will wrap everything beautifully for free.
The family has been trading from Middle Road in Park Gate in one form or another for 62 years.
Vicky’s aunt Janet and mum Sheila Hurst set up both Sheila Hurst Florist and next-door specialist card shop Kards and Kapers in 1987.
Vicky said: ‘My mum and aunt used the two Ks because the building the shops were in was called Kosy Kot. Then they decided to retire 14 years ago and both shops were sold.’
When Kards and Kapers came back on the market in 2018, Vicky and Sheila decided to go into business together and took on the shop again, renaming it Kards and Keepsakes.
Vicky said: ‘My mum doesn’t work full time now – she’s 85 – but she comes in and out, then it’s me, my sister Kerry, and my daughters Amber, 15 and Sapphire, 11, who love to come in and help when they aren’t at school.’
Kards and Keepsakes specialises in a huge selection of cards for all ages and budgets. It also offers luxury handmade Belgian and English chocolates and specialist sweets including vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free.
‘We change chocolate centres all the time,’ said Vicky. ‘But we always keep the customer favourites, which are whole cherries in brandy, dark stem gingers, and white champagne truffles. They’re the perfect gift, as each beautiful box can be completely personalised.’
Kards and Keepsakes also stocks a wide range of gifts and supports local artisan traders.
Vicky said: ‘We have a lady who makes glass ornaments and pictures, another who makes our wax melts, one who makes soap products, and others making local handmade candles and Christmas baubles. You won’t find anything like that on-line. All of these are completely unique.’
Vicky is a big supporter of the Live Love Local campaign, which is being run by Fareham Borough Council to encourage people to shop local.
She explains: ‘Lockdown was horrendous for us. It was extremely hard to get the word out that we would do click and collect or free local deliveries so anything that helps people find out about us is very welcome.
‘We did have a website designed, which helped. We have also found more people starting to come into town because they were walking more during lockdown. We picked up some new customers who have lived here for years and didn’t even know we were here.’
For more go to kardsandkeepsakes.co.uk/
Live Love Local is a campaign to get shops and businesses across Fareham’s towns and villages buzzing in the run-up to Christmas.
The campaign is designed to help the area’s diverse range of unique, independent shops and food and drink businesses bounce back after the challenges of the pandemic and rally against competition from online and out of town shopping.
It is supported by Fareham Borough Council through the European Regional Development Fund.