New Ridgefield business offers custom, contactless gifts

Ridgefield residents and mother-daughter duo Wendy and Ruby Mitchell are sending smiles in the form of custom gift baskets through their new business, Salutations Custom Greetings.

Ridgefield residents and mother-daughter duo Wendy and Ruby Mitchell are sending smiles in the form of custom gift baskets through their new business, Salutations Custom Greetings.

Contributed photo

RIDGEFIELD — A new business born out of the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading smiles to residents in Ridgefield, Danbury and beyond. Salutations Custom Greetings, launched by Wendy Mitchell, provides one-of-a-kind gift baskets, lawn signs, party favors and more through a contactless dropoff service to remind loved ones that someone is thinking of them.

The concept literally blossomed when Mitchell and her family started a vegetable garden in their backyard last summer. The effort yielded so much produce that Mitchell had to start giving it away. Soon enough, friends and neighbors in town started to receive “Veggiegrams” at their front door, including Mitchell’s 93-year-old neighbor.

Around the same time she started distributing the “Veggiegrams,” Mitchell’s sisters in The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians in Danbury expressed that they were feeling isolated and disconnected because of the pandemic. This inspired Mitchell to pack a custom poem in each basket as a way to elicit a smile.

“The idea is to lift a person’s spirits [and] let them know someone is thinking of them while staying safe because it’s a dropoff service,” Mitchell said. “People loved it.”

Mitchell carried this concept into the holiday season while working part time at the Pound Ridge Community Church in New York. For each day of Advent, she dropped off a wrapped gift bag to 10 children that included a riddle about what was inside. By Christmas, she had delivered a total of 250 bags.

Recently, for St. Patrick’s Day, Mitchell sold 50 themed baskets to members of the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, where she serves as an officer, to raise money for the organization. Each recipient received a “You’ve Been Shamrocked” basket, which included a lawn sign, a balloon, seven lucky shamrocks and a pot filled with chocolate gold coins.

Having been furloughed since last March, Mitchell decided to evolve her altruistic hobby into an online business. She uses Facebook and Eventbrite to field orders for now, and is currently planning a special fundraiser for Easter.

Recipients of the “You’ve Been Egged” Easter gift package will receive a basket stocked with candy-filled plastic eggs, a colorful lawn sign, a lawn stake decoration, a personalized poem and balloons.

“It’s totally customized with products like gourmet candies from a local mom and pop in New England,” Mitchell said of the baskets. “It’s not something you [can] get from the dollar store.”

For a $50 upcharge, customers can have the Easter Bunny deliver the package to their door. A portion of proceeds from the Easter Bunny’s visit will support Hopalong Hollow Rabbit Rescue, a Norwalk-based nonprofit.

Mitchell will continue to support charitable organizations as her business grows. As a six-year breast cancer survivor, she said she overcame her illness by focusing on others.

“After I went through treatment, I was helped by Ann’s Place in Danbury,” Mitchell said. “In October I hope to do another fundraiser and donate a portion of the proceeds to Ann’s Place . . . I’m keeping it local and helping other people.”

Salutations Custom Greetings can be found on Facebook. For more information about the business or to order an Easter gift package, call or text Mitchell at (203) 501-7424 or email SalutationsCustomGreetings@gmail.com.