March 27, 2010 in Washington Voices

Basket Cases creates custom gifts

Juli Bergstrom-Wasson
Kathy Plonka photo

Timmie Coon, left with her daughter Chris Hjelm at their shop, The Basket Cases in Spokane Valley on Wednesday. They have been working out of their homes for two years and opened the gift shop in February.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

Fast facts

What: The Basket Cases

Where: 1014 N. Pines Road

Hours: Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact: (509) 368-9054;

A business name implies a lot – and fortunately for the co-owners of a new shop called The Basket Cases, their store title has nothing to do with their relationship.

In fact, owners Timmie Coon and Chris Hjelm have already proven they can work together successfully. The two are a close-knit, mother-daughter team who even live nearby in their Liberty Lake neighborhood. For the past couple of years, the two have operated an at-home business creating custom gift orders for clients such as hotels and Realtors throughout the Northwest.

“We call them gift sets, because they’re not really baskets because we rarely use wicker,” said Hjelm, noting the vast array of possibilities to fill – from buckets for the painter to pasta bowls for the cook to martini glasses as the welcome gift. “We don’t use any filler and everything we put inside can be used.”

In February, the two opened their shop called The Basket Cases in North Pines Center in Spokane Valley.

“We had been talking about opening a store for a while,” said Hjelm. “The opportunity presented itself – and the building has two store front windows to decorate!”

Hjelm is mainly the “basket” creator using her skills and creative background that includes kitchen design. Her mother has a background as a sales rep for a variety of companies including Vera Bradley and Colonial Candles. They happened on their business plan in 2008 after Hjelm refilled and re-created a custom gift basket she had ordered for a baby shower.

“I realized I could do this my way,” she said.

The Basket Cases shop is some 600 square feet filled with an array of gift items for purchase individually or to fill an order. Custom arrangements can be of all sizes and prices with the smallest ones starting at about $20. The owners also offer personal shopping for those who want something in a basket that isn’t sold at their store. They also create sets for customers who bring in items for packaging.

Hjelm recognizes she’s among an already established niche in the Valley. She believes customers will recognize the individual talents each of the custom gift basket retailers in the Valley offer.

“We do it all,” said Hjelm. “We’re having a great time with it, and we’re having great response.”

Are you opening a new business in the Spokane Valley? Is your business expanding, moving or remodeling? Are you wondering about that new store that has opened in your neighborhood? Send an e-mail to Juli Bergstrom-Wasson at or contact us by fax at (509) 927-2175 or by writing to Business Notebook, Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley, WA 99216.

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