By Greenwich Free Press - Tuesday, November 29, 2016
If you haven’t been to the Abilis Gift Shop in a while – or if you’ve never been before – there are several reasons to make the Abilis gift shop a destination for your holiday shopping.
Purses and satchels available at
Handmade soaps and candles with holiday scents abound at the Abilis Gift Shop.
|Handmade scarves from India.|| Kitchen spoons and cutting boards made from sustainable bamboo
at Abilis Gift Shop.
Abilis Gifts is a retail-store training site where adults with special needs work toward community-based jobs in sales and production. For this reason, much of the selection is handmade and unique.
Purchases make a difference for those who make the items and work in the shop, and the prices are great.
Another benefit is that the prices are incredibly reasonable, typically below what you’d expect to pay retail.
The shop has recently been freshened up and has a new layout. They’ve also been assigned two dedicated parking spaces, which makes shopping there extra convenient.
Step inside and explore every nook and cranny, because there are surprises in every nook and cranny of the modest shop. Front and center are the handmade soaps, sugar scrubs and candles. Many have holiday themed scents, including peppermint and balsam. There are bar soaps, pump lotions and pump soaps, which make wonderful teacher gifts or stocking stuffers.
“We also make lovely custom gift baskets,” said Kathleen Bonney, who manages the shop with Lisa Sylvester. “Baskets can be custom made in themes, whether for children or adults.”
“Everything here is reasonable,” said Lisa Sylvester. “We try to work within certain price points. All of our handmade items range from $5.00 to $15.00.”
There are a variety of jewelry, including memory bracelets, that are made by an Abilis division called Life Skills, which operates out of First Presbyterian Church.
Beyond the handmade items, there are kitchen, gardening and special occasion items.
In the gardening corner there are terrariums, succulents, birdfeeders, wind chimes, tools, gloves and seeds.
The household section features smiley face sandwich cutter tools, sustainable bamboo spoons and implements, cake decorating items and more.
There is also framed artwork from Abilis artists, mini cake baking kits with a variety of themes, and Swedish dish cloths that expand when wet.
“We’re a hidden little gem of a shop that people don’t know about,” said Sylvester.
“Cheesy Grin” sandwich cutters at Abilis Gift Shop.
Adjacent to the gift shop is the greenhouse, where manager Chris Hadin said people can purchase tubs of microgreens year round.
Hadin said that in the winter the greenhouse is dry and the light is just right. And, with extra sharp scissors, the crew make clean cuts so the greens stay fresh in their containers for up to 10 days in the fridge.
If you love microgreens, you can even arrange for weekly home delivery. “The greens will be delivered to your home within an hour of being cut,” Hadin said. “That’s how fresh they are.”
On Monday, about a dozen people were mixing soil as rows of colorful microgreens awaited their scissors.
The greens are sold in half-pint and full-pint tubs for $3.00 and $6.00 respectively. In fact, there is even a delivery service. So the next time you’re at the gift shop, stop in the greenhouse for fresh, colorful microgreens.
The purples of their sango radish, the red of the beets, and random splashes of color of the rainbow chard delight the eye. Not only are they beautiful as a garnish, but they make even a dinner of tater tots and tarter sauce look elegant. The flavors also please the palate and are nutrient rich.
In addition to the microgreens, there is a limited quantity of poinsettias for sale at the greenhouse.
Monday to Friday 10:00am to 2:00pm
Thursdays 4:00pm until 7:00pm
Saturdays 9:00am until 1:00pm
The Abilis Gift Shop and greenhouse are located at 50 Glenville Street in Greenwich, 06831.
Kristy Kasmarski with a succulent from the gardeners’ corner at the Abilis Gift Shop. Nov 28, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager
Melanie with a Poinsettia in the Abilis Gift Shop, Nov 28, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager
Barbara and Kristy were busy knitting in the shop, Nov. 28, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager
A thoughtful gift for children of all ages, Coloring in my world picture frames. Nov 28, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager
Lisa Sylvester and Kathleen Bonney in the Abilis Gift Shop. Nov 28, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager
Attached to the Abilis Gift Shop is the Abilis greenhouse where half pints and full pints if microgreens are available for purchase. Nov 28, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager
In the greenhouse at Abilis, about a dozen people were busy on Monday mixing soil and packaging microgreens. Nov 28, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager
Terrariums in the Abilis greenhouse. Nov 28, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager