By Janee Law
When searching for custom made gift baskets, arranged with gourmet crackers, spreadable cheeses, dried fruit, gourmet cookies, chocolate covered raisins and more, there is no time wasted when ordering from Huntington–based A Tisket A Tasket Anything In A Basket.
“I think that’s what kept people coming here is that they know that it’s local,” said Lisa Mettrock, 51, Huntington resident and owner of Anything In A Basket.
Being a local business gives Anything In A Basket an advantage since a customer can order a basket in a day and get it delivered for free, depending on the distance.
Though she’s temporarily working from her private workroom in Huntington, Mettrock started the business as a storefront operation and later moved to an online based model where customers can place orders on the company’s website or by phone.
The website offers several basket options, including sweets, breakfast baskets, Italian baskets, baby baskets and baskets for teachers.
There’s also a build your own basket feature, which was a popular otion when Mettrock had a storefront.
“When we had the shop we had everything on the shelves to, so people would go around picking their own stuff,” Mettrock said.
Along with get well, birthdays, thank you, anniversary and more, popular occasions for Anything In A Basket gift-giving are corporate appreciation and sympathy. Depending on the items in the wicker basket, the price ranges between $39-$99.
Mettrock transitioned into basket design after working in the flower industry for six years. When she began working for Anything In A Basket in 1990 the business was two years old.
When Mettrock took over the business in 1992, she moved it to a storefront in Halesite. At the time, there was no Target and specialty packaging companies like hers were rare.
“Now that industry has exploded. You see it everywhere so it’s not novel anymore,” she said.
It’s her personal touch that keeps customers coming back, she said. When putting a basket together, that touch is in the details, like making sure the wrapping paper is neatly folded and the bows are custom made.
Mettrock said she enjoys basket design because of the diversity and creativity.
“One day I’m the mail lady, the next day I’m the accountant, the next day I’m the basket designer, the next day I’m out meeting people. I’m not pigeon holed into the same thing,” she said.
Usually operating with four employees, Anything in A Basket will bump that up to six or seven during the holiday season.
“Christmas is the busiest and then Easter [and] Mother's Day,” said Mettrock, adding that preparations for Christmas started in July, when she was ordering products to get them delivered by October.
As the business has grown, there is need for larger space, Mettrock said. She is hoping to move the business into a warehouse in Huntington early next year.
“Its like a small warehouse for light industry and I’m just waiting for something to open up over there,” she said, adding that she never wants to leave Huntington because of the scenery and friendly customers.
“What keeps me here is the diversity but also the creativity because it’s really fun,” Mattrock said. “You know how some people need that outlet it’s like where I work is my huge craft room.”