Out of the Box is a unique gift store in the heart of downtown Crystal Lake, recently voted “The Best” Gift Store in McHenry County.
We recently interviewed Mary Batson about what it is like to own and operate this charming boutique.
Tell me about your business.
Out of the Box has been open for almost two years. It is a gift shop that carries an eclectic mix of merchandise. Many of the items are unique, and many are customer favorites, all are at affordable prices. We take pride in the fact that our customer base is very diversified. We have kids coming in with their moms, teenagers, young adults and grandmothers. I feel that we have something to offer everyone.
What do you feel makes your store distinctive?
I believe it is our customer service. I want everyone to feel comfortable when they walk in the door. We greet everyone with a smile and we think of many of our customers as friends. We love to assist our customers in selecting something for themselves or just the right gift for someone else. We will even gift wrap their purchase.
It sounds like you really enjoy helping your customers?
I do, it is probably the thing I found most surprising about owning the store. It is really rewarding helping someone find the perfect gift, that they are excited about giving.
Sounds like a great place for men to shop for their wives.
We do get husbands, they usually look lost and appreciate our assistance. It is a lot of fun helping them and they especially love the complimentary gift wrapping.
I remember being in your store, and it must have been right before a high school dance and there were a lot of girls in, looking for accessories. Does that happen often?
Yes, we have high school girls, women of all ages and even mothers of the bride bringing in their dresses so we can help them with selecting just the right piece of jewelry.
What made you want to open a store in Crystal Lake? Crystal Lake is the only place I even considered for my store. My husband and I raised our two children here. When my children were younger I brought them downtown for various classes, or met friends for coffee and shopped. I love Crystal Lake and feel blessed and grateful to have a store in this community.
What prompted you to open a gift store? It was something I always wanted to do. While I was raising my children I did volunteer work, and when the opportunity came to open the store the time seemed right. It is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done.
I read that you have worked as a volunteer for the Family Volence Coordinating Council as well as with Turning Point? I firmly believed in community service. Now as a business owner I am also a strong supporter of the Crystal Lake Downtown Association. The association sponsors several fun events through out the year.
Out of the Box
71 N. Williams St.
Crystal Lake, IL 60014 815-444-7446
Hours of Operation
Monday – Wednesday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Friday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Sunday 12:00 am – 4:00 pm