In South Africa, this time 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela had just been released from prison after 27 years, in London Margaret Thatcher had just resigned as the Prime Minster, while in the Bedfordshire town of Flitwick, the mother and daughter duo of Jan Wood and Michelle Ellingham threw open the doors of their new card and gift shop, Box of Delights.
Three decades on and Jan and Michelle have been joined by the third generation, in the form of Olivia and Sophie.
As Michelle told PG Buzz: “While the years have flown by – and we have seen so many changes and product best sellers. Remember Beanie Babies and pot pourri? – the core of the business remains the same, to provide a meaningful card and thoughtful gift for our customers.”
The retail business has confronted all manner of challenges, from a major fire in 2004, recessions and of course the ongoing pandemic, it has throughout everything, been there for its local community. During lockdown its windows are emblazoned with paintings from local school children supporting the and key workers, while a local delivery service for cards and gifts was very active.
“You know what they say about work…choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. How lucky am I never to have worked!!!” exclaimed Michelle.
Here, she shares some of the well-loved store’s best sellers…
Quicksilver from Wendy Jones-Blackett
“The wide appeal of this range sets it apart.”
Jumbo Jamboree from Paper Salad
Macaroon from Janie Wilson
Words of Wisdom from Dandelion Stationery
“Customers love a good laugh, especially now!”
Gin & Frolics from Rosie Made A Thing
Quotish from Brainbox Candy
Across the board from Paperlink
Elle/Bleu/Luxe from Belly Button Designs
“There is a card for every taste.”
Diamond Blush from Five Dollar Shake
Across the board from Caroline Gardner
Cherry On Top from Rachel Ellen Designs
“The colours and engaging designs score.”
Across the board from Stop the Clock Design
Across the board from The Art File, Deva Designs, Belly Button Designs, Penny Kennedy and Caroline Gardner
Face coverings Counting Stars from Lime Tree Designs
“Signs of the times!”
Urban Botanics diffusers from Stoneglow
Hairbands from Powder and Caroline Gardner
Sentiments from East of India
Water bottles from Wrendale Designs
A littles… from Joma
Perfect Pouches from Katie Loxton
Bone china mugs from Belly Button Designs
Bath melts from Bomb Cosmetics
Top: Box of Delights has been a landmark shop in Flitwick for three decades.