WEST FARGO - The owners of Grateful Cratefulls are determined to do well by doing good.
Aimee Hanson, her sister Dori Walter, and Dori’s daughter, Dani Gilseth, began working together in February 2018, holding benefits to help a relative who had been diagnosed with brain cancer.
In that work, they discovered a common desire to brighten other people’s days.
They opened their tiny shop at 25 Sheyenne St. in July, and since then they’ve made creating crates of condolences, congratulations and kindness their passion.
“It’s amazing the stories we hear” from customers, Hanson said Tuesday, Jan. 15
“It’s the highest of highs and the lowest of lows,” Gilseth said. “It is touching so many life moments.”
“I wish I could bottle the joy” for brightening someone’s day, Hanson said.
Their husbands make the cedar crates, and the products that fill them come from the Midwest, often produced in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.
Crates can include mugs, blankets and beanies; food items like coffee, beef jerky, nuts, gummi bears and caramels; and bath and body items for men, women and children.
The contents are highly customizable, so the costs of the crates vary, Hanson and Gilseth said.
The smallest crates may sell for $40 to $50. More typical are crates in the $80 to $150 range, though some of the largest crates have totaled $250, they said.
Over the holidays, they filled more than 500 crates. Many of them were corporate thank-you gifts and customer appreciation, though one woman bought 40 crates to send to a women’s shelter for Christmas.
The shop's owners have made giving back to the community their bottom line, though they are still working on their overall giving strategy.
They regularly give blankets and “hugs-in-a-mug” gifts to cancer patients and work with the local Ronald McDonald House.
They’ve given gifts to animal shelter volunteers and donations to the Homeward Animal Shelter. They also provide crates for silent auction benefits.
“You can find meaning in everything that happens,” Hanson said. “This is what we are meant to do - try and ease some of the pain of others.”
In addition to the shop, Hanson and her husband run an aircraft maintenance business at the Hillsboro (N.D.) Airport; Gilseth is an accountant, and Walter farms with her husband.
Store hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Orders can also be made online at gratefulcratefulls.com. The website also has a frequently asked questions section.