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Downtown Business Spotlight: Southern Grace Gifts

Savannah Reams: Greene Publishing, Inc.

Southern Grace Gifts is located in the heart of Madison, at 224 SW Range Ave. The store offers a beautiful selection of gift items and provides locals with an alternative to driving out-of-town to shop-- a need the city hasn't often been able to accommodate. Owner of Southern Grace Gifts, Kristen Brown, saw this need and made a bold move.

Brown graduated from Madison County High School and attended North Florida Community College, obtaining an Associate of Arts degree. She then attended Saint Leo University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Management. Using the skills acquired through a well-rounded education, Brown launched Southern Grace Gifts with her mother, Melanie Parks, and a family friend in 2013. Soon, the store gained popularity and Brown took on full ownership, opening the business full-time in November of 2014.

Southern Grace Gifts offers a variety of home décor and goods, women's and men's apparel, women's jewelry, baby gifts, books, handbags and shoes. They offer well-known brands like Corkcicle, Mudpie, Glory Haus, Magnolia Candles, Bridgewater Candles, John Wind Jewelry and more. They also support other local businesses carrying several products from local craftsmen in Madison and surrounding towns--this includes metal signs, wooden door hangers, jewelry and clothing. These businesses include: BW Steel Signs, Southern Rust Woodworks, Crossing 413 and Back40 Graphics. Brown takes custom art orders in her spare time, and loves making gifts personal and custom-made by adding vinyl personalization.

"Wedding and baby registry are two services we love offering," said Brown. "Because we will deliver locally and offer complimentary gift wrapping for any purchase, this is a nice convenience for locals that they really appreciate! We ship daily for our non-local customers, which has been a great advantage for our business."

With the fall season approaching fast, Southern Grace Gifts has all sorts of new merchandise arriving daily. Fall home décor such as greenery, dishes, wall art and candles line the shelves. New clothing like sweaters, long sleeve blouses, booties and fall-toned jewelry grace the racks and are already enticing eager shoppers. With football season in full swing, there are new Corkcicle tumblers and canteens for Gator and Seminole fans. "I'm constantly searching for new products, so there's always something new," said Brown.

Kristen Brown is a force to be reckoned with. She has worked extremely hard to contribute to the city of Madison, adding a unique flair that one simply cannot find elsewhere. Brown is a strong supporter of shopping local and believes small businesses are essential. "Small businesses are a part of the identity of this town," said Brown. "If you walk down our Main Street, you'll see the locally-owned stores, restaurants, offices, salons and more, and it doesn't take long to notice Madison's unique character and charm. Together, these small businesses reflect the culture here, help meet local needs and create a sense of community. We build personal, meaningful relationships with our clients and customers, and because we all know each other, we support each other."

Despite her success, Brown lives her life according to Romans 8:28, acknowledging her help comes from the Lord. "This verse helps me keep the main thing; the main thing which is loving and serving Him and His people through this business," said Brown. "I try to constantly remind myself that my help comes from Him."

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