Boro Park Snapshot: The Gift Place
By Yehudit Garmaise
What Miriam Brieger likes best about running her elegant gift boutique is that “it is a very happy type of store.”
“We definitely have an environment that is full of simcha,” said Mrs. Brieger, who has been selling gifts in Boro Park for 15 years. “People are always coming in and telling us about their simchas, and we wrap up their gifts, which gets everyone excited: both the giver and the recipient.”
With Chanukah around the corner, Boro Parkers may want to check out The Gift Place, where Mrs. Brieger and her husband, Eluzer Breiger sell many gifts for customers to give spouses, teachers, rebbes, graduates, hostesses, friends, employees, donors, and volunteers.
For Chanukah gifts for women, Mrs. Brieger recommends silk flowers, and The Wig Bag, which is a foldable, stylish sheitel box. Balabustes might love the new Crimador broom, which is a lightweight broom that swivels for easier cleaning.
Some of the specialties of The Gift Place, which is located at 4503 16th Ave., are gifts for vorts and engagements, especially from the machateinstas to their kallahs.
In Boro Park, machenestes shop for their future daughters-in-law for every holiday from birthdays, Yom Tov, Lag B’Omer, and Shabbos Nachumu: whatever holidays coincide with people’s engagements, which are sometimes long, explained Mrs. Brieger, who had the idea to start selling graduation gifts out of her home one June, 15 years ago when she while she was finishing up the year of teaching Parsha and Tefilla at Bais Yaakov of Boro Park.
Purim is the most busy season of the year at The Gift Place, which sells magnificent custom mishloach manos for local customers and those with corporate gift accounts.
After three years of selling gifts our of her house, Mrs. Brieger’s business grew to where she needed a bigger location, which she found for three years on 15th Ave., until 2010, when the Breiger’s moved to their current convenient location, which is walking distance from her home.
What types of gifts are most popular among the customers of The Gift Place?
For vort, people like to give challah boards and challah cover sets, salad bowl sets, and dip and dessert cups, explained Mrs. Brieger, who confided, “Of course, people the ‘latest’ and ‘the newest,’ but there are definitely classics that are very popular and that people feel are ‘a must,’ Mrs. Brieger explained.
Personalized jewelry rolls and cosmetic bag sets are also always hits, especially for the meachateinstas to give their kallahs.
Another gift for which The Gift Place is known are their uniquely designed arrangements of silk flowers that look so real and are wrapped so nicely that women who receive them are not 100% sure whether the flowers are real.
“I often get calls from women who receive our silk flowers who ask me whether they should put the flowers in water,” Mrs. Brieger said with a laugh.
When a Jewish woman from “out-of-town” asked Mrs. Brieger whether there is any difference between artificial flowers that are bought at a craft store and at The Gift Place, Mrs. Briger turned serious.
“Oh, they are very different,” she explained. “We only bring in very high quality, top-of-the-line silk flowers because we want them to look real and last for years.”
Because the silk flowers are so magnificent and a worthwhile investment that costs the same amount as fresh flowers, many mechanestes send them for their future daughters-in-law for their Shabbos Kallahs.
Then, instead of fresh flowers going into the garbage after a week, kallahs can keep their silk flowers on their dining room tables as beautiful centerpieces for years to come, Mrs. Brieger explained.
No matter what customers buy, one thing that they are always offered before they leave are stunning, exquisite gift wrapping. In fact, the store’s wrapping is so beautiful that customers bring in gifts that were bought in other stores, just to be wrapped by the Gift Place.
Mrs. Brieger explained that they often wrap packages for kallahs that contain: “a leichter, a siddur, a sefer Tehillim, an apron, a tichel, and some pekalach: usually gourmet chocolates.
Chassanim often receive large gifts containing a kittel, two tallis bags, two tallesim, a gartel, and sometimes wine and a wine holder that many future machatunim bring to get fabulously wrapped at the Gift Place, for show-stopping presentations.
Although jewelry and machzorim are other typical gifts that customers bring in after buying from other stores to be wrapped by The Gift Place, Mrs. Breiger said with a laugh that she has wrapped everything from food processors to shoes.
“Gifts makes so much more of an impression when packages come wrapped up like a beautiful, nice, big gifts versus when they just come in small little plain boxes or in bags,” explained Mrs. Brieger, who said that customers often spend $25 to $60 on wrapping.
“My customers want to nicely display and deliver gifts to their loved ones in a way that makes an impression,” Mrs. Brieger said. “Special wrapping can make the receivers of gifts feel really special.”
“The Gift Place is a really nice, creative, and happy and place to work. Baruch Hashem, all day we get to make people happy.”