116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MY BIZ: Teacher opens gift, decor shop in Solon
Gifted Blessings filled a gap when another shop closed
By Katie Mills Giorgio, - correspondent
Mar. 7, 2023 5:00 am
SOLON — Salina Hemann puts a lot of love into her shop, and she hopes customers get a lot of love out of it.
“I want to provide my customers with things for a home that they will love and gifts that they will love to give,” she said.
Hemann opened Gifted Blessings in October in The Literary building in downtown Solon. The shop, which sells home décor and gift items, has been very well received.
“We are really in our infancy still, but it’s been so exciting,” she said.
Hemann, 45, teaches first grade at Penn Elementary in during the day. She and her husband, Nick, have two daughters, ages 9 and 12. So she’s busy.
But when a popular gift shop in Solon announced it was closing, one of Hemann’s friends, who works in retail, encouraged her to open a shop.
“That planted the seed for me to start thinking about it,” she said. “I’m a busy mom, and I thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to always have to run into Cedar Rapids or Iowa City just to get a gift.’
“I knew I couldn’t do it on a big scale, based on my schedule, because I want to balance family and church involvement.
“But I knew there was a way for me to provide a service to people in town and inspire them. I couldn’t stop hearing that little voice in my head and I thought, ‘OK, let’s just see what happens.’ ”
Hemann said her mother and her aunt operated a home goods store for years when Hemann was growing up. And she’s always been interested in home decor, decorating and design, but considered it a hobby.
“Gifted Blessings is now a great creative outlet for me,” she said. “And it really feels like an extension of my own home.”
Opening a business for the first time, she said, has been a learning experience.
“I’ve met so many people operating the same kind of businesses, and they have been so helpful to me,” she said. “It’s been a natural thing for me to do this, and it’s been so fun.
“It’s not just finding cute stuff and putting it on the shelf,” she added. “There’s a whole operational side that … has definitely been eye-opening. It really makes you appreciate what goes into running a small business.”
One of the best parts of the business — which is open Thursday and Friday evenings and on the weekends — is meeting the people who come in to shop. She’s the store’s only employees, for now, but said family members also help out.
“It’s a small town, and I know a lot of the people, but there are also people that come from out of town to experience the growth here in Solon. I love hearing stories and helping people find what speaks to them.”
Owner: Salina Hemann
Address: 130 S. Dubuque St., Suite 103, Solon
Phone: (319) 530-6134
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