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Business Interview During COVID-19 Pandemic: Birch St. House & Garden

Written interviews with local business owners have been organized and written by members of the RVMS Marketing Committee. We will continue to share these interviews frequently as part of a series to share how best to support local businesses in Roslindale during this challenging time.

Birch St. House & Garden (BSHG), your neighborhood gift store, is located at the corner of South and Belgrade in the center of Roslindale Square and has been a part of the community since 2001. Owner Elizabeth Swanson began working at the store when it first opened, when it originally was located in the space of the former Cheese Shop, and purchased it in 2008.

BSHG offers an eclectic collection of gifts for you, your home, and your garden. In the summer, it carries garden decor including seeds, planters, and decorations, but not soil (which is asked often!). Home decor ranges from frames to small accent pieces of furniture and kitchen goods. There’s a kids section, which is great for last minute birthday gifts. Elizabeth is also proud to have always supported local artists, featuring local, original artwork in the store, and enjoys sprinkling in vintage finds throughout the year that she personally curates. Price points are all over the board. According to Elizabeth “If you need a token gift but don’t have a ton of money to spend, we have you covered. But, we can also handle gifts at higher price points for events like weddings and special anniversaries.”

Prior to the pandemic, Elizabeth was reluctant to open an online store, because she believes in community building and having customers run into their neighbors and friends while going on a treasure hunt in the store. With the stay-at-home order, she has set up an online store called the BirchShop (http://www.birchsthouseandgarden.com/shop) where limited items are posted for sale.

For Easter, she offered baskets which were delivered locally. She also has begun advertising parts of her collection through her website, social media, and email list. Individuals interested in purchasing items from the store can text, call, or email Elizabeth who is happy to send pictures. She can fit within any budget and would be happy to suggest items that may meet your needs. Once selected, they can be purchased via credit card over the phone, Venmo, or invoiced via PayPal.

Last week, Elizabeth tried a Facebook Live event for the very first time from her home, selling 500 and 1,000 piece puzzles. It was a huge success, which led to having to order more puzzles to fit all the orders! This Thursday, 4/16 at 7:30 pm ET she will host another Facebook Live event (https://www.facebook.com/birchsthouseandgarden) from the store, featuring her spring and summer line of scarves and handbags, ranging from small wrist bags to everyday totes.

While there are lots of ways to still shop at BSHG, you can also support the store right now by purchasing gift cards either online or via phone.

If there are customers out there who aren’t currently in a position to spend right now, sharing and liking posts on Instagram and Facebook really helps in reaching a wider net of people.

Lastly, Elizabeth notes that another way to support her is to “feel free to drop an email or text to say hi. I miss all my customers so much!” She will be in the store on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 to 2 and would be thrilled to get a wave from those passing by.

Best contact info for customers: info@birchsthouseandgarden.com, 617.323.3269 (voicemail), or 617.686.1993 (text)