116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Linda McConnell has had a hand in creating a lot of memorable gifts over the past 30 years.
“I started the business in my home in April of 1992 after working for 15 years for Montgomery Ward in three different cities,” McConnell recalled.
“I wanted to start my own business with more flexible hours since I had a young son and I wanted to be able to do it my way.”
A gift basket shop she visited in Davenport inspired her to open the shop, and she also leaned on her own retail experience.
As her business grew, she later opened in a retail space in downtown Cedar Rapids.
“‘Taste of Iowa’ gifts using local products are our specialty,” McConnell said.
The store carries Iowa wines, craft beers, Amana products, Iowa souvenirs, Iowa popcorn, chocolates and soup mixes, among other items.
“In any given week, we could be handling birthday gifts, new home closing gifts, college care packages, conference and hotel amenity gifts, and much more,” McConnell said.
“We lost our store in the 2008 flood, when we were located in Coventry Gardens Mall on First Avenue in downtown Cedar Rapids,” she said.
“We reopened in Hiawatha a couple months later.”
While the store was located in Hiawatha for just a brief period, McConnell is happy to be back in downtown Cedar Rapids, having actually just moved to a new-to-her space in February of this year.
Since the pandemic hit, Basket Bowtique transitioned from being a walk-in shop to a studio that is open by appointment to provide gifts.
“Today, the rising cost of shipping and increased price of containers and products have made it more challenging to do business, too,” she added. “But I try hard to find the best products at the best price to be competitive and offer a good value for our customers.”
McConnell said Basket Bowtique now offers local delivery and nationwide shipping.
“Folks may be surprised that we ship gifts nationwide,” she said. “We often receive calls from all over the U.S. and we have corporate clients in Des Moines and Davenport ... .
“Over the years we have designed gifts for many visiting celebrities, CEOs, gifts to go on private planes, and even a gift for a famous person’s New Year’s Eve limo in Seattle.”
Ironically, many of their gifts are now packaged up in boxes rather than in baskets, she noted.
Founder and owner: Linda McConnell
Address: 118 Third Ave. SE, Suite 537, Cedar Rapids
Phone: (319) 362-2577
The customers are what keep McConnell rolling with the changes and adapting to the times.
“Over the past five years or so, much of our business is coming from other businesses using our services,” she said.
She said her family — her now-retired husband and her son — also step in and help as needed.
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