Laurie Scheinman’s philanthropic gift shop wit & whim has been chosen as one of three finalists for a national ICON Honor Award, the home and gift industry’s most desirable mark of accomplishment. The shop is being nominated in the Community Influence, Development and Outreach category, one of seven awards recognized in the retail industry. The award ceremony will be held at the legendary Fox Theater in Atlanta on July 14. Wit & whim previously won the 1010WINs award for Top 50 Businesses in the Greater New York Area along with several Retailer Excellence Awards given by Gifts and Decorative Accessories Magazine and The Top 50 Retail Stars Award by Home Accents Today Magazine.
The little shop with the big heart donates 100 percent of its profits to a different charity each month. This month, profits will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“It’s not easy to get this far,” said Turnbull. “Wit & whim has made a distinctive mark. Laurie’s presentation and interview today is the last stage of the process.”
The two-hour interview covered topics including Scheinman’s eclectic mix of unique and affordable goods, the origin of the store along with its philanthropic mission.
“I feel incredibly lucky to be considered for this award among so many great stores,” said Scheinman. “Because we’re a small shop and not franchised, we’re the long shot in the race so I really wanted to nail the presentation and interview. Being recognized on a national platform is a huge honor. I’m excited for the award ceremony, which will be attended by over 1,000 industry people. That will certainly put wit & whim on the map.”
The judges were interested in wit & whim’s community engagement and took particular note of the window display, “A Time to Soar,” which was created by an inner city second-grade class. Laurie spent six weeks working with 27 children in their classroom preparing larger-than-life paper-maché birds of North America. The collaboration culminated with the children taking a field trip to the shop to install the birds, which were perched and suspended in flight along two 10-foot branches suspended across the windows.
Scheinman opened wit & whim in 2012. Wit & whim, which stands for “funny and unexpected,” was developed with love and care out of a relationship between Scheinman and her terminally ill father.
“To keep my father uplifted and engaged in life, we worked together to create a fantasy business for this historic building,” said Scheinman. “A shop that would carry unique goods with a story, where all the profits would go towards helping others. Wit & whim has exceeded my wildest dreams,” said Scheinman. “We have thrived in a very tough economy. We have donated money to very worthwhile causes. We have created a community hub where people gather for fun events and drop their kids off for craft projects. We have been recognized for our hard work locally, nationally and internationally.”
Wit & whim is located at 6 Carlton Ave. For more information, go to www.witandwhim.com.