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On any given day at Walker Loden gift, apparel, and jewelry stores, you will overhear conversations between shoppers and staff discussing where the shopper is from, what brought them here, and what they're enjoying about the area so far. The staff isn't interviewing the customers—they're helping each shopper to have the best experience they can. Of course, a likely unintended benefit from getting to know the shoppers may help them to curate their collection of gifts, antiques, and jewelry that shoppers will find in the store on future visits.
Shop owner Peter Loden cares about people. He wants to know their stories and he wants to help. For him, this curiosity comes naturally. Anyone who owns a business will tell you that it's personal—it's about the people who run it. And for Loden, it's also about the people who visit it.
Walker Loden is celebrating 30 years in business this year. Through that time, the stores have evolved like any successful business to ensure their offerings are relevant to their audiences. Beyond the shops but also contributing to their success, Loden connects with more people by patronizing other local businesses and restaurants, by being on local Chamber of Commerce boards and committees, and by lending a hand any time he can. During the holiday season, he may disappear briefly to come back with homemade fudge for visitors to enjoy.
Since 1989, Walker Loden has offered a great collection of handpicked gifts, decorative home accessories, jewelry, and vintage furniture. Today, the Walker Loden name can be found in locations in Madison and New Haven, including a gift shop within The Madison Beach Hotel. The stores carry work by local artisans, Connecticut-made chocolate, bath and body products, baby gifts, and a wide array of nautical and shoreline items.
"We want to offer things worth giving, whether it's a wedding present or an office birthday gift, as well as things worth keeping, such as a small antique or a piece of jewelry, but we also want to make you smile!" the company's website notes. "You will always find a bit of whimsy to take home or give away."
Beyond running a business with several locations and volunteering on various boards and committees, Loden feels that every American should be a volunteer. He has spent countless hours working with agencies on the local and global scale from donating trays of food to homeless shelters to assisting national natural disaster recovery efforts.
He doesn't volunteer for accolades; in fact, you may not even know he does it unless you overhear him saying where he's going with that tray of food. He just says he does it because he can, and that we should all do what we can to help each other.
This story was provided by Walker Loden, located in Madison and New Haven. For more information, visit facebook.com/walkerloden.
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