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Gifts Fulfilled in running for $25K

By Kara Hallissey | May 18, 2017
Gifts Fulfilled owner Kim Shanahan, left, is handed her $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card from Resa Kierstein, vice president of the SCORE Foundation, in Dallas last month. Worcester County Developmental Center clients show off the purchased items for college care packages purchased with the $1,000 gift card.

(May 19, 2017) Gifts Fulfilled owner Kim Shanahan spent a day of mentorship and networking in Dallas on April 28 to help build her business after being named an American Small Business Champion on March 23 by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer business experts.

Shortly after starting her business in September of 2015, Shanahan teamed up with the Worcester County Developmental Center in Newark, Maryland, to provide employment for the nonprofit’s clients who have disabilities.

“My best experiences are going to WCDC and working with clients,” Shanahan said. “Everyone should have a day like I do during production. Everyone is so positive and uplifting. They support each other and love working in teams. They love this job, learning these skills and take pride in their work. I leave feeling amazing.”

The Worcester County Developmental Center clients assemble and create gift baskets for baby, birthday, get well and special occasion-themed including student care packages, Mother’s Day and Easter-themed presents, which are then sold on Amazon and the Gifts Fulfilled website.

During her trip to Texas last month, a number of speakers who are experts in their fields spoke to the winners on a range of topics from marketing and financial essentials to social media and email tips.

“Media experts gave interesting presentations and it was great to meet all these different people,” Shanahan said. “They were teaching us things to help build our company and gain better publicity.”

Attendees heard from an inventor featured on the television show, “The Toy Box” and the creator of Wendy’s, “Where’s the beef?” slogan.

When Shanahan saw the theme of this year’s SCORE/Sam’s Club small business contest – “What Makes Your Business Unique” – on Facebook in the beginning of February she said she had to enter.

She submitted an online application describing the most unique aspect of her small business, the positive impact Gifts Fulfilled has had on the community and her plans on using the prizes to grow business.

“It was the most entries they have ever received for the contest,” Shanahan said. “It is super exciting and we want to thank the community for voting for us and getting us this far.”

Gifts Fulfilled was one of 102 entrepreneurs who received a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to the training and networking event last month in addition to SCORE mentoring and publicity throughout the year.

The local business is also eligible to win one of three $25,000 grand prizes, which will be determined in early September by a panel of small business experts based on utilizing the Sam’s Club gift card and SCORE training events to grow business revenue as well as how effectively Gifts Fulfilled is promoted in local media and on social media.

After bringing the $1,000 gift card home from Dallas, Shanahan purchased items for college care packages, which was just in time for finals.

In addition, Shanahan met with her local mentor, Len Kidwell of Bethany Beach, for financial help this week.

“We are meeting in person to create a financial model for the business, which is one of his areas of expertise,” Shanahan said. “Owning a small business – you wear all hats. It is nice to talk to someone with business financial expertise. He will help come up with some key metrics to help measure the business quickly and easily. Understanding the numbers and knowing how to pick them out will help with forecasting the future.”

Shanahan plans to team up with the Worcester County Developmental Center and Walmart in August to create student care packages before school starts back up again.

“Everyone should be so lucky to have the work days that I have over there [at WCDC],” Shanahan said. “They just started doing a skills assessment sheet so clients can go out in the community and show other employers what they can do. Not only can I provide jobs, but enable people to get a job at other places as well.”

Worcester County Developmental Center provides employment opportunities, day habilitation training, residential services and community-based support for adults with intellectual disabilities in Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico counties.

To order a gift basket from Gifts Fulfilled, visit www.giftsfulfilled.com or Amazon.com.

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