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Meet Our Travelers

Christmas Department

Gail has been helping customers pick out their Christmas ornaments, Byers' Choice collectibles, and Department 56 pieces for over nine years. "I've always loved Christmas, so the Christmas Department is perfect for me!" says Gail.

The Little Traveler's Christmas Department has one of the most complete collections of Department 56, with all the buildings and accessories set amid sparkling hills, cascading rivers, and shining mountains. You can tour the Christmas and Department 56 rooms here. After nine years Gail says "my fellow colleagues and customers are very special to me."

Her recommendations to those visiting The Little Traveler include browsing in the Christmas Department (of course!), sampling in Gourmet Foods, and picking out a sweet treat in the Candy Room. This time of year, Gourmet & Candy are really in the holiday spirit! Gourmet Foods has specialty Christmas wines and treats, as well as cute prepackaged gifts. In Candy, the apothecary jars are filled with festive colored treats. (Visit our blog for a list of 20 Gifts under $20 for the Foodie in your life).

Before The Little Traveler, Gail worked as a teacher's aid for a special needs preschool in the West Chicago School District. Outside of the Traveler Gail loves spending time camping and taking care of her family. The Little Traveler is so lucky to have Gail as a part of our family too!

Come meet the always smiling Gail in Christmas, she's looking forward to saying hi! And if you're a Gail, Abbey, or Abigal, you will receive a little gift, but hurry - supplies are limited!

For more Christmas head on over to our Pinterest "Christmas Inspirations" board where you can find decorating ideas, recipes, and gifts from throughout the store.

Fairy Garden Designer

Meet the wonderfully talented Teresa Hayes. She has been with the Little Traveler just shy of a year and has been dazzling us with her floral designs and fairy garden arrangements in our Conservatory department ever since. AND if your name happens to be Teresa too (or Terese or any variation of Terry) then you get a little gift when you come and introduce yourself to our Teresa!

What did you do before joining The Little Traveler?
I served six years in the Army MP Corps as a Military Police Officer working in the U.S. and overseas.  I later took the role as a military wife and mother traveling from base to base with my husband, Mark, and our three daughters, LeeAnn, Alyssa and Samantha. Four years ago we moved to the Chicagoland area after my husband retired to be closer to both sides of our family. I have found Geneva to be a gracious little escape with so many charming nooks and crannies to explore down each street. I have met many wonderful people here and look forward to getting to know the Geneva community even more.

What do you enjoy most working at The Little Traveler?
I enjoy seeing our customers who come from home, state to state, and even from overseas, walk in and have their faces light up as they explore the different departments. Working in Conservatory, I love having the opportunity to be creative, to think outside the box, and exchange ideas with the many people who come in and want to have fun exploring their artsy side.

If it was someone's first time to The Little Traveler, what "must-see" would you recommend?
Well there is always something new, exciting, and unique in every department. In Conservatory, we have a lot of beautiful pieces. You will find an amazing collection of fairy garden items and accessories, whimsical spinners, trickling fountains, seasonal florals, plaques, trees, and outdoor décor. Of course, I am also partial to the display room of the Dept. 56, the new Fair Trade Gallery, and the never ending enticing aroma's of our Atrium Café. From beautiful jewelery pieces, to colorful patterned table linens, to our Downton Abbey room - it is really hard to pick a favorite! I also recommend browsing through the greeting cards in the Paper department for a good laugh. They're a scream!

Hobbies outside of being super creative in the Conservatory?
My first love - I am an aspiring children's book writer and illustrator and like most, I am working to be published - some day. I enjoy walking along a tree line, a pond, or the busy streets of Chicago to get just the right photograph. I enjoy arts and crafts and any other art medium that I can find time for. I enjoy stealing quiet moments to take in what's around us every day and I love spending time with my family and friends.

Come meet the creatively gifted Teresa in the Conservatory today, she's looking forward to saying hi! And if you're a Terri, Theresa, or Terese, you will receive a little gift, but hurry - supplies are limited! (valid thru October 10, 2014)

Candy Room Aficionado
Candy Room

Sharon was born in Geneva and has worked and lived in the Fox Valley ever since. Sharon has been a part of the Little Traveler family for 5 years, working in the Gourmet section of the store. You can find Sharon with a scoop in hand, eager to help those visiting the Candy room nearly every day of the week. What is life like working in candy shop? “Amazing. I love everything about getting to work in the Candy Room. We have so much to choose from.” In fact, The Little Traveler's Candy room has been voted "One of the Best Candy/Popcorn Shops" by the Kane County Chronicle Reader's Choice Awards.

And the one item everyone must try? "The triple dipped malt balls! These are not your drug store malt balls.” Indeed, The Little Traveler malt balls use gourmet chocolate and are triple dipped resulting in a very large and very delicious malt ball. And they come in many flavors: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, ultimate malt, mint, peanut butter, and coconut. Sharon’s other favorites include the very popular chocolate covered blueberries and the decedent dark chocolate grand marnier pecans “are truly unique."

While Sharon has only been behind the counter at The Little Traveler since 2009, she has been a customer since the 1960s, when her mother would take her as a child.  In her teenage years, after Sharon received her driver’s license, she would drive to her grandmother’s house every Saturday. They would spend the morning cleaning and reward themselves with lunch and a fashion show at The Little Traveler. “To work at The Little Traveler has brought back so many wonderful memories of my mother and grandmother.”

Come visit Sharon and have a malt ball sample from our famous apothecary jar collection. And if your name is also Sharon you get a *sweet* prize for sharing the same name! (Valid through 8/5/2014).

Annette Shamloo
Manager & Buyer for the Fair Trade Gallery

Annette is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, but she's lived all over the country from coast-to-coast. Her family has moved back to the Fox Valley on three separate occasions with the primary draw being the warmth and friendliness of the people in the area. Annette and her husband currently reside in Geneva, IL. Between relocations, Annette has worked at The Little Traveler on and off for ten years in a variety of departments, including the Toy Room, Gourmet Food & Wine, and Housewares. She's currently the buyer/manager of the store's brand new Fair Trade Gallery.

Annette feels fortunate to have been such a big part of opening the Fair Trade Gallery at The Little Traveler. She says that working with the wide array of artisan products from developing countries fulfills both her creative and philanthropic sides. In choosing products for the gallery, she went with her gut to bring in items that she thought our customer would love. "Every single one has a great story behind it," she says. One of the most popular items, Ayindisa baskets, are handwoven by a group of 30 women in Ghana, West Africa. The profits from the group's baskets have allowed the women to get a well, which provides clean and safe drinking water for thousands of people living in the weaver's village of Yarkibisi. In addition to the baskets, Annette has hit the mark with Fair Trade jewelry, handbags, gifts, even chocolate and tea - all flying off the shelves so quickly that she's already placed several reorders, with the quantities increasing every time. Come visit Annette and discover what Fair Trade is all about. Bonus, if you share your name with Annette you get a sweet little prize from the Fair Trade Gallery! (valid through 7/15/2014)

Little Traveler
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