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In her happy place

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Fort Smith (May 29/06) - Petra Shelton enjoys going to work.

"I love it. I really, truly love it," says the manager of The Woodshed Gift and Garden Centre, which opened in late March in Fort Smith.

"How can you not like working in a happy place?"

"It's a very nice place to be," she says. "I have a lot of customers come in and not want to leave."

Shelton adds the surroundings change weekly because of limited space and new products arriving from the original Woodshed in Hay River.

"You're always getting a new look in the store," she says.

It offers such things as plants, giftware, jewelry, dining ware and furniture. As manager of a new store, she notes one of the challenges was getting the word out. That has been accomplished by advertising and word of mouth. Shelton says much of her work involves dealing with the public, especially answering questions about gifts or flowers.

"Care of the plants is very important," she says. "Customers are pleased the plants are fresh-looking and well looked after when they come in."

Shelton says a customer looking for gift ideas occasionally asks if a friend or relative has liked any of the items in the store. Some she can remember and suggest something suitable.

"I've done it at least a half dozen times," she says, noting her memory surprises her.