Cleveland store Unique Gifts closes after 34 years in business

SHOP OWNERS: The most recent owner of Unique Gifts Julie Seedsman, with Janneale Bylett, Sylvia Ferris and original owner Heather Truman.
SHOP OWNERS: The most recent owner of Unique Gifts Julie Seedsman, with Janneale Bylett, Sylvia Ferris and original owner Heather Truman.

MANY memorable gifts were carefully chosen for loved ones during the 34 years that Cleveland’s Unique Gifts store was open.

The quaint shop’s four owners recently got together as the Unique Gifts era came to an end.

Most recent owner Julie Seedsman has closed the doors on Bloomfield Street for the last time, eight years after she bought the shop.

“People loved the ambiance and personal touches,” Ms Seedsman said.

“It was a very feminine store, and people loved coming in because we knew them by name.”

Ms Seedsman, who lives at Ormiston, said generations of Redlanders had been customers and children walking past on school excursions would shout out that their mothers shopped there.

The first owner Heather Truman opened the business in July 1984, stocking mostly handmade crafts – like smocked baby clothes, tatting, photo frames and porcelain dolls – from local artists.

“There were so many talented people in the Redlands and nearby,” Ms Truman said.

“I felt that we needed a high quality gift shop in Cleveland and a place for people to sell their crafts.”

Ms Truman said those crafts were now rarely found and the store had evolved over the years.

Always on Bloomfield Street, the shop moved to a larger premises next door to the original business.

“It was a little icon of Cleveland that we have lost,” Ms Truman said.

“It is sad to see something that has been around for a long time close.

“It was a piece of Cleveland’s history.”

Ms Seedsman said people would comment on the music played in the shop – mostly jazz and light classical – the quality baby goods, and gifts that were not usually available elsewhere.

Ms Seedsman said the people who worked at Unique Gifts had a passion for the store.

“I never hated going into work everyday,” she said.

“We sold some exquisite things – we had made-in-Israel jewellery, toiletries like Italian-made soaps.”

Ms Seedsman said she felt emotional about the closure but she was getting older and her husband had received bad health news.

She said customers were devastated when the sale of the business did not eventuate and she announced the store would close.

The other owners of Unique Gifts were Janneale Bylett and Sylvia Ferris.