Laurie Langford has won quite a few awards as owner of Wishes Under Wrap in Johnston.
The North Central Chamber of Commerce honored her with its “Rising Star Award” and “Small Business of the Year.” Several years ago, she was recognized with a “Best Gourmet Gift Basket” award. And two weeks ago, Langford added another award to her résumé, as Rhode Island Monthly magazine chose her store as “The Best of Rhode Island for Gift Shops.”
Langford found out she was the winner in the middle of July and was ecstatic.
“I was so excited,” Langford said. “I couldn’t believe it. What a great honor; we’re only a small store. We have survived in these tough economic times. We are absolutely thrilled.”
The Best of Rhode Island award, she added, is “by far the epitome of honors anyone could ever hope to receive. It’s one thing to be honored by your peers; it’s another to win an award by a vote of your customers. That’s the ultimate.”
On Thursday evening, July 26, Langford took the spotlight during a “Best of Rhode Island Gala” at the Providence Performing Arts Center.
“In the contest, the magazine asks people to vote online. There were 340 winners, I’m told, and we won in the best gift shop. This is very special...the votes came from our customers,” she said.
Langford and her husband David went to PPAC to accept the honor. The following day, she was busy finding the perfect spot to display her award – right next to the door.
Elena Sheehan Bergsten, who has been a store manager and Langford’s right arm at Wishes Under Wrap for the past nine years, is hopeful that the recognition will drive even more customers into the shop.
“When I heard the news I thought it was great. I’ve worked for here for nine years, and this was really a special time for this store. Hopefully, it will let more customers know we’re here and we can get some more business because of this great honor,” she said.
Wishes Under Wrap (232-1190) is located at 225 Greenville Avenue in Johnston and has also been honored in a way by getting the contract to decorate such venues as Twin River Casino and some area restaurants.
Langford, who has owned and operated Wishes Under Wrap for 18 years, is well known for her designs of gourmet gift baskets, bridal events and even putting together small business plans for corporate parties. Now, she has the well-earned reputation of having “The Best Gift Shop in Rhode Island” for a store that’s open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the holiday season, when Wishes Under Wrap is aglow with decorations, Langford has extended hours.
“Wishes Under Wrap is a longtime member of the Chamber since 1994,” said Deborah Ramos, NCCC president. “This is a perfect example of a business owner working long, hard days to become a successful business – especially in this day and time. The North Central Chamber of Commerce is proud of Laurie and her staff; they offer wonderful gift ideas, personalized items, beautiful gift baskets and, of course, wedding items and services all with the highest level of personal service.”
Langford opened Wishes Under Wrap in 1994 in a house she used to walk by on the way to school. Her business began as a quaint, one-room gift shop, and within just a few years her creativity resulted in everything from gourmet gift baskets to a complete line of wedding accessories. She expanded into two more rooms on the second floor.
Langford has shared her success with the community, participating in various charitable events. She hosted and coordinated an event entitled “Dancing Toward a Cure” with 100 percent of the profits going to the American Cancer Society.
After doing that for six years, she decided that since her business is named Wishes Under Wrap, she’d get involved with Rhode Island-based charities known as Make-A-Wish and Children’s Wishes. Both foundations grant wishes for children who are ill.
“We just had a classic car show for Make-A-Wish,” Langford said. “It was a huge success. We’ve also raised money with a country line dancing event...we all love making wishes come true for children.”
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