When Katie Heinz and Julie Douglass hear laughter coming from the front of the shop, they know people have discovered the items on display in the Laugh Out Loud Bar. For those who haven’t yet visited the Interior Design Studio, located at 207 S. Court Street in Medina’s Historic District, the Laugh Out Loud Bar is part of the business devoted to the JK Gift Shop.
“This isn’t just a design studio,” said Heinz. “We added the JK Gift Shop about four years ago. We want people to come in and say, ‘Wow, what a fun and different store!’ ”
“Our twist is ‘exquisite gifts with a bit of wit,’ ” Douglass said. “It’s not just about the stuff in the store, it’s about emphasizing the experience of shopping and having fun.”
Heinz and Douglass, who co-own the business with their mother, award-winning designer Amy Douglass, said the clever sayings on coasters designed by Ohio artist Shannon Martin are the usual source of the Laugh Out Loud Bar giggles. Martin started her line of coasters, cards, gift bags and other classy, sassy products by incorporating her grandmother’s family photos into her art.
“They just make people smile and feel good,” Heinz said.
The sisters also stocked the shelves with attractive displays of Cinda B travel bags, totes, purses and accessory lines that are made in the U.S.A. They are water and stain resistant and washable.
“For the first time I can own a cream-colored purse,” Douglass said, laughing as she picked up a bag and slung it over her shoulder to model.
“Yes, we say they’re Julie-proof,” Heinz added, joining in the laughter.
The bags come in a variety of patterns and colors to choose from, making it easy for shoppers to customize a special order, with the promise of a quick turnaround and fast delivery.
“Overnight bags, diaper bags, purses, you can really personalize your gift,” Douglass said, putting the bag back on the shelf.
One of the latest offerings is the Nora Fleming line of serving ware, with plates that allow people to celebrate different occasions through use of interchangeable “minis” – small decorative pieces that fit into slots on the plates. Minis include a beach chair for a summer theme, football for Super Bowl fun, an Easter egg for spring and more.
The serving ware is a great choice for wedding, shower or birthday gifts, and it goes hand in hand with kitchen papers, a collection of disposable place mats that range from elegant to casual. The papers are reversible and come in a variety of shapes.
“We buy all year long,” Douglass said, “so there’s always something new and fun to put on the shelves. We offer unique home décor accessory pieces. Our goal is to provide, fresh one-of-a-kind things for you to find, something that no one else can buy.”
“Boutique shops have great appeal, with a personal touch you can’t get in big stores,” Heinz said, adding that the “Shop Local” movement is really catching on.
Both women think the square and surrounding shops have been revitalized, with plenty of events to draw people into the charm of the Historic District.
The shop takes part in Ladies Night Out events, usually serving wine and appetizers.
“It’s like throwing a party,” Douglass said. “We can introduce new products and offer discounts that evening.” The last Ladies Night Out found them rocking to the oldies and serving up their “Hot Rod Cocktail” as part of the fun.
The sisters keep that cutting edge of fun in the day-to-day business as they continue to bring the best unique products they can find to Medina.
The JK Gift Shop is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday and Saturday, with special hours for various events on the square.
For more information, call (330) 725-7623.