FORT WALTON BEACH — Janey Rynearson says her secret to success is no secret at all. She cares about her customers and caters her shop, PS Gifts, to meet her clients’ needs and coming trends.
“What we’ve got is a unique mixture here that’s evolved over the years,” Rynearson said. “This store is us. It reflects who we are. The shop is an extension of our family.”
PS Gifts on Walter Martin Road celebrated its 17th anniversary under Rynearson’s ownership last month. To commemorate the event, the store will offer 17 percent discounts, food and prizes Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
“I never thought of myself as a businesswoman and I still don’t. I’m more of a hostess in my store,” Rynearson said. “We know we can compete with big stores with our customer service. We love people and like to see them happy.”
PS Gifts opened in the late 1980s with original owners Penny Benson and Star Whitehead. Benson eventually left the store and Whitehead sold it to Rynearson in 1995. Whitehead is still connected to the business; her daughter Shelley is married to Rynearson’s son, Jeff.
PS Gifts offers everything from collectible figurines to Vera Bradley items to collegiate paraphernalia and jewelry.
Rynearson and her daughter, store manager Heather Peters, said their similarities and differences in personality help keep the store stocked with items that entice everyone from teenage girls to grandmothers.
“Our dream was to own this store, but the reality of what we have far exceeds that dream,” Peters said. “Each of us brings our own strengths and we love coming to work every day. Really, it’s never work for us.”
PS Gifts has changed to reflect the times as Peters’ children grew up in the store; it has gone from selling baby gifts to college items and more.
Peters told of one customer who has purchased a collectible for her granddaughter since the store’s opening. Each year, the woman buys a figurine to reflect her granddaughter’s life. Last week, she was looking for a bridal figure to give to her granddaughter for her pending wedding.
“I’d never seen anything like that before, but I called the company to see if that was something they were coming out with,” Peters said. “It turns out that they haven’t even told their stores about a new bride figure they’re coming out with the month her granddaughter is getting married.
“When I called her up to tell her I could hear the customer squeal with excitement. That’s why we do this,” Peters said.
“We like the challenge and we like listening to our customers.”