Angie Bullington opened Occasions by The Christmas Store Thursday to offer merchandise all year long.
When her former boss, the late R.L. Davis, had R.L. Davis Fine Gifts, he sold home gifts, stationary, baby items and other merchandise throughout the year and opened The Christmas Store seasonally. Mrs. Bullington said she wanted to continue that tradition with her new store in Bergfeld Center.
After taking over The Christmas Store last year after Davis left it to her, she said a lot of customers asked her to open the other kind of store again.
Mrs. Bullington, 43, is planning to hold a grand opening celebration on April 3, giving a 15 percent discount throughout the day, as well as door prizes and refreshments. She said it will coincide with Bergfeld Center’s Spring Fling, which will include all businesses doing special discounts and giveaways from 5 to 8 p.m.
Occasions offers custom invitations, has an in-house wedding and event planner and carries wedding accessories and gifts that can be customized.
“I wanted to do an atmosphere … where people can sit down and work with someone to get what they want,” she said.
She also sells baby gifts, as well as upscale party items, gifts, paper goods, dishes, Cinda B bags and Scout totes. Occasions also does custom silk floral centerpieces, arrangements and wreaths, seasonal items for holidays such as Easter and Father’s Day. She said they will provide monogramming, gift wrapping and delivery services, as well as online ordering and registries.
Mrs. Bullington chose Bergfeld Center because she shops there, knows the other local tenants and feels it is a warm, inviting and comfortable place. She said she wanted a store where people could some with friends and spend a couple of hours looking around or run in quickly for a last-minute gift.
Occasions is in the 1,800-square-foot space that formerly housed Spin Out.
Mrs. Bullington said Occasions will have about six employees, including some who were brought over from The Christmas Store, and she will split her time between the two businesses.
She closed The Christmas Store for the season in January and won’t open again until Labor Day weekend, but she has two employees who work there year-round to get it ready for the next season.
“We had a really good Christmas season,” she said. “I was really impressed. … That’s how I was able to do this.”
She said Occasions offers the same quality products The Christmas Store is known for and has something at every price point.
Mrs. Bullington said before he passed away, she and Davis discussed opening another store to supplement The Christmas Store during the seven months of the year it is not open. She started planning Occasions last summer.
With both stores, she wants to continue Davis’s legacy. The longtime businessman died in April and left The Christmas Store to Mrs. Bullington.
She grew up in Carthage, worked in banking while in school and came to Tyler to be near her sister. She decided to apply for a temporary, seasonal job at The Christmas Store because it sounded like fun. But when all of the other seasonal employees were let go, Davis asked her to stay. He began training her in every aspect of the store, and she became office/store manager for nearly 20 years.
Davis opened The Christmas Store in Tyler in 1978 and slowly began adding china, jewelry and other merchandise to open R.L. Davis Fine Gifts in 1989. She said he soon separated the stores into two entities, but in 1998, he rejoined the businesses. In 2002, he closed The Christmas Store and in 2006, he sold R.L. Davis, which is now Cole & Co. Davis planned to retire but in 2008, he reopened The Christmas Store on West Erwin Street.