Fancifull Gift Baskets and Fine Foods celebrates 30 years in business this evening from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., with a special fundraiser to support the efforts of the Solano Napa Firefighters Foundation. The eighties-themed celebration will feature poured wines, cheeses, chocolates and a wide selection of the fine foods that Fancifull sells in its store at 5617 Melrose Ave. There will also be a photo booth with props to take you back in time to the 1980s…and there’s free parking in back of the store!
Terry and Wally August reminisced with the Buzz yesterday about starting their business in 1987 as a part-time venture for Terry that would allow her to use her catering and creative skills, but still keep an eye on her children, then 3 and 5.
“I thought, ‘I could come up with a really nice gift basket that contained things people really wanted’,” explained Terry, who refers to herself the “big cheese.”
Within a few weeks of mailing out a few hundred postcards to local businesses, Terry got her first order for 250 baskets. A few years later, she opened at her store at its current location. They expanded over the next five years and soon Terry’s husband, Wally, a jazz musician who was teaching music, joined her in the business full time. Their first corporate customer is planning to come to help celebrate the 30th anniversary.
The Augusts pride themselves on their high level of customer service. Longtime residents of the neighborhood, Wally grew up in the neighborhood and Terry has been here since high school. They provide custom baskets to a range of fancy celebrity clients and business, offering personal attention and a quick turnaround, often the same day if needed. They say the can do anything for any client. For the past several years, they’ve even been making welcome kits for UCLA to give to its incoming students. August and her team fill almost 3,000 small bags with single size laundry detergent and other goodies for new students.
“We are thrilled to work with UCLA,” said Terry August. “They were ordering things online and decided they wanted to work with someone local. We deliver so that saves them money as well.”
Recalling how much has changed over the years since they started the business, Terry joked, “we used tointerview delivery drivers by asking them if they had a Thomas Guide!” (FYI –The Thomas Guide was a series of paperback, spiral-bound detailed street maps of Los Angeles, a necessity before mobile phones and GPS systems!)
“It’s been great for us and our family. We get to travel, meet amazing people,” said Terry. “Every fall we have a special fundraiser. This year, since it’s our 30th, we decided to celebrate and raise funds for our friends in Napa Valley recovering after the fires,” said Terry.
In January, Fancifull will be offering tastings in the store with pairings of cheese and other fine food items, said Terry. She said she sees the business as continually evolving and loves the idea of hosting events that introduce people to various wines and food.
“I love all our vendors; I just want to spread the love. That’s one reason why we decided to celebrate this anniversary,” said Terry. “I want everyone to come in and meet us, see all the wonderful fine foods we offer from amazing vendors. The suggested donation is $20 but everyone is welcome!”
Fancifull Gift Baskets
5617 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
6:30 – 8:30 pm