RUMFORD — It's been a little more than a year since Donna-Moore Nisbet had to move her business, Donna's Gift Emporium, from Weld Street in Dixfield to her home on 351 Isthmus St. in Rumford due to the high cost of rent. As a result, she's had to get a little creative to get her product to the people.
“We're bringing the business to the people instead of the people coming to the business,” Nisbet said.
Nisbet and her friend, Maureen Merrill, spent Friday afternoon in the empty lot on Lincoln Avenue dressed up in homemade leprechaun and Easter bunny outfits, respectively. The effort was to help advertise a variety of products available at Nisbet's store and to recognize two of March's upcoming holidays: St. Patrick's Day and Easter.
“I dressed up as an elf for Christmas and as cupid for Valentine's Day,” Merrill said as she waved to passing motorists. Occasionally, drivers would honk their car horns, and Nisbet and Merrill would both laugh.
“They love us out here,” Nisbet said.
In order to give the public a taste of what's found at Donna's Gift Emporium, Nisbet and Merrill set up a small table of decorative mugs, stuffed animals and Easter baskets.
“We try to buy back from the local businesses and keep it local,” Nisbet said. “We'll buy mugs from the What Not Shop or the Dollar Store and then decorate them ourselves. In order to make these costumes, we got a lot of the stuff from the What Not Shop. You just have to turn it around and support local business.”
Merrill explained how her costume was handmade from several different objects that were either found at her house or purchased at the What Not Shop.
“The teeth for my bunny rabbit costume are made out of pieces of a Styrofoam coffee cup,” Merrill said. “The tail came from the end of a Christmas hat, and I glue-gunned the rest of the costume together using fabrics that I bought and had laying around. I can't sew worth a lick, but I'm great with a glue gun.”
Nisbet and Merrill plan to stand outside and offer their products in May for Mother's Day and again in July for the Fourth of July.
“For Mother's Day, we may try and do something with floral arrangements,” Nisbet said. “I'm sure we'll dream something up by then.”
Nisbet said they personally hand deliver orders from customers.
“I'll do whatever it takes when it comes to helping keep the town afloat,” Nisbet said. “I was born and raised here in Rumford, and I want local businesses to flourish here, and if that means recreating and reinventing yourself, you do what you got to do.”