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Variety Printing and Gifts strives to offer quality gifts at affordable prices

November 21st, 2011 9:56 am by Staff Report

Variety Printing and Gifts strives to offer quality gifts at affordable prices

Variety Printing and Gifts has devoted a large section to baby gift items.

For almost 40 years, Variety Printing has been a mainstay on Market Street in downtown Kingsport. Four years ago, the printing company added a line of gifts and, today, is known as Variety Printing and Gifts.

Variety Printing was formed in 1974 by Ralph Blankenbecler, who operated a small commercial printing shop for local businesses. Five years ago, his daughter, Cathy, and her husband, David Lounds, purchased the printing company from Ralph. Ralph and his long-time employee, Cathy Strong, remained at Variety after the purchase.

"Ralph was getting older and wanted to semi-retire," David explained. "With the decreased demand for printed materials, we always knew we would eventually add a gift shop in the store."

A year after selling the company, Ralph passed away.

"Dad would be so weak, but he kept coming in here almost every day to work," Cathy said. "He was the kind of man who could never retire."

Cathy Strong has remained with Variety after Blankenbecler’s passing and continues to handle the needs for their loyal printing customers. Slowly, the Lounds started adding gift lines to the store.

"We went to the Atlanta market with a set budget the first year just to see what would happen with the gifts," Cathy said. Adding a nice gift selection turned out to be a great idea for the couple and Variety Printing and Gifts.

The gift section has grown from a small area up front to encompass almost the entire store. They are even thinking of adding a section for larger gift items upstairs.

Cathy has a great eye for gift and décor items, but she does take suggestions from friends about new lines that she should add. One of Variety’s newest lines is Sorrelli, an upscale line of affordable costume jewelry.

"We received our first Sorrelli jewelry two weeks ago and, since that time, we have had to keep re-ordering to keep items in stock," Cathy said.

Along with Sorrelli, Variety carries several other lines of beautiful and affordable jewelry. Accessories also include scarves and personal items such as "Oprah’s go-to-gift," Lollia, a high-end line of bath and body products along with several others. Variety offers a large selection of fragrant candles, including Votivo, Aspen Bay and Archipelago. They recently added a large selection of taper candles in many unusual colors and sizes.

The Lounds have devoted a large section to baby gift items. They carry the popular "Baby Rug", Little Giraffe, Barefoot Dreams and Jelly Cat lines. They have many unique baby gifts to choose from.

When the Lounds decided to open the gift shop, their goal was to provide nice, quality gifts at affordable prices. For example, you can purchase an acrylic item that looks just like crystal and have it personalized for less than $50 or up to $100, depending on what you would like to spend.

There are also gifts suitable for men, such as the Howard Miller Clocks, which Variety always sells at 30 percent off the suggested retail price.

"We do that because the clocks are always reduced 30 percent online, so you can buy a clock today and avoid the cost of shipping," Cathy explained.

For your holiday décor or gift giving, Variety Printing and Gifts is a great place to start. You’ll find Casafina dinnerware and serving pieces, plus Hen House Linens. Best of all, you will find a locally-owned store with great customer service and a lovely lady with a beautiful smile to greet you at the door who will help make your Christmas shopping a breeze.

Located at 112 E. Market St., Variety Printing and Gifts is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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