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December 3, 2009 John White Editor of Alabama Small Business 111 Acorn Ave. Birmingham, AL Mr. White, Wrapsody gift shop of Birmingham, Ala., has seen a successful opening of its second location in Auburn, Ala., in March of 2009. Owners Sarah Brown and Terry Shea have incorporated their combined 50+ years of retail experience and business enthusiasm to bring Wrapsody to life in two locations. Brown and Shea give back to the community by selling many products from local craftsmen and vendors, setting their store apart from a typical gift shop. The name Wrapsody is a take on the word “rhapsody,” which means ecstasy, enthusiasm, rapture, bliss and great joy. Brown and Shea believe that there are many reasons for gift giving. Sometimes it is an act of compassion for a person in a particular situation and you just want them to know you are thinking of them. Other times it is an act of celebration marking a milestone in someone’s life or a holiday. Still, other times gift giving is for no good reason other than making someone “happy.” The lime green and black signature gift wrap is becoming more recognized in Alabama, and will be soon recognized in other states as well. Brown and Shea hope to open five to eight more stores in up and coming small to mid-size metropolitan areas, while still preserving and catering to the customer that loves to shop at their “hometown” gift shop. Please contact me for any more information or questions, or visit our Web site at www.wrapsodyonline.com. Sincerely,

Lacey Beno Wrapsody, Inc. 334-887-7447 lacey@wrapsodyonline.com


BIOGRAPHY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 23, 2009 A retail match made in heaven Auburn, Ala. - Sarah Brown and Terry Shea, co-owners of Wrapsody, Inc., each developed a diverse resume before making Wrapsody a reality. With combined experience in retail, marketing, advertising, management and promotion, the concept of their own creative gift shop was born. From Auburn, Alabama, Brown worked in a downtown gift shop called Heartstrings while attending Auburn University. Here she learned retail management and display merchandising. After graduating, Brown worked in telecommunication system sales, followed by newspaper advertising and editorials. After marrying her husband Drew, Brown had two sons and a daughter. She then started her own home show and website business called “The Brown Bag” where she successfully sold monogrammed jewelry and accessories for five years. Shea, originally from Ripley, Tennessee, attended college at the University of Mississippi followed by the Arts Institute of Atlanta. She moved to Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband and daughter, where she met Brown. Shea had past experience with companies including The Limited Corporation, Nike and Procter & Gamble. Her successful retail career and 20 years of experience made her an ideal candidate for a part-owner of a retail store. Brown and Shea went on a “girls’ day out” shopping trip with some neighbors in October of 2003. Both agreed that there were no trendy places to shop in the Hoover area. They found that they shared the same passion for quality seasonal products, gifts, home décor and exceptional customer service. They collaborated on ideas if they were to have their own store and Wrapsody soon fell into place. Wrapsody of Hoover opened in August 2004, to the delight of local residents. After a successful five years, Brown and Shea looked at more potential store locations should they want to expand.

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The owners of Heartstrings gift shop, where Brown worked in college, approached her with a business proposition. They wanted to retire and Brown was looking for a prime location in Auburn. South College Street is the most desired retail location, so Brown and Shea accepted the opportunity to open their second store without much hesitation. Wrapsody has had great success in Auburn. Though it was an adjustment for the community to see Wrapsody instead of Heartstrings, many will agree that the updated look and trendy products are more in tune with the college-town atmosphere, without losing the hometown feel. Brown and Shea hope to see Wrapsody in 5 to 8 more locations in up and coming small to midsize cities. However, need and location are crucial ingredients for a successful store in addition to a great staff and product mix. ##### Contact: Lacey Beno, Wrapsody, Inc., (334) 887-7447 or lacey@wrapsodyonline.com

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Wrapsody at a Glance Location: Wrapsody gift shop has two locations in Alabama: the Hoover area of Birmingham and the small college town of Auburn. Wrapsody has been opened in Hoover since August of 2004. The downtown Auburn location recently took the place of Heartstrings gift shop in March 2009. Owners: Co-owners Sarah G. Brown and Terry W. Shea named the store after “rhapsody,” meaning enthusiasm, ecstasy, joy and great bliss- things that embody the attitude of the store. Combined with “wrap,” the new name Wrapsody was formed and now represents “A Celebration of Giving.” Philanthropy: Wrapsody supports various charities including Caring Bridge, The Rashel Foundation, The Vera Bradley Foundation and Big Oak Ranch. Signature: Their distinctive gift wrap is complimentary with any purchase. Custom lime green, black and white dot pattern paper with matching ribbon and the gift box logo signify the “Wrapsody Wrap.” Products: Birthday, Sorority Bid Day, baby, Christmas and other seasonal holiday gifts can be found at Wrapsody. This gift shop also features products from companies including Vera Bradley, Brighton, Troll Beads, Archipelago, Tyler Candles, Embossed Graphics, Danielson Designs and Sugar Boo Frames. Wrapsody also offers products from local companies and vendors such as Fairhope Candle Company, Good Earth Pottery and paper products from Savannah College of Art and Design students. Annual Events: The Christmas Open House is an annual event customers look forward to every year. Specials offers, door prizes, Christmas music and refreshments make this three-day long event. Information on other products and history of Wrapsody can be found at www.wrapsodyonline.com ##### Page 1 of 2


Contact: Lacey Beno, Wrapsody, Inc. (334) 887-7447 or lacey@wrapsodyonline.com

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FEATURE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 9, 2009

Heartstrings or Wrapsody? Auburn, Ala. - Heartstrings gift shop has been a part of the Auburn community for more than 22 years. Locals and visitors were sure to find gifts for all occasions in the hometown shop. Now, the awning displays a new name and a new store that has taken the place of Heartstrings. Wrapsody offers the feel of a hometown gift shop, with some newer ideas. Jane Thrash started Heartstrings with her husband, Ed, in 1987 when their three daughters were in college at Auburn University. There was previously no place in town where residents and students could get personalized jewelry and gifts. Thrash named the store after a song from one of her favorite Judy Garland movies, “Meet Me In Saint Louis.� Thrash had one rule while owning and operating Heartstrings, she would never use computers. Believing that computers made business with customers less personal, Thrash had employees write all sales on carbon copy tickets and add prices and tax with calculators. Store credit was also written on these tickets, and filed alphabetically under last name.

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One thing locals and customers looked forward to every year was the annual Christmas Open House event. Employees would close the shop on Saturday afternoon and put brown paper on the windows so no one could see inside. When the paper was removed and the shop opened to a line of customers on Sunday afternoon, shoppers were met with a winter wonderland. Heartstrings served spiced cider and homemade cookies and played Christmas music. It was the first hint of the Christmas season to the early bird shopper’s delight. Sam Jolly, former Heartstrings employee, fondly remembers the evenings of Christmas set-up. “We would stay up all night and Mrs. Thrash would order pizza and bring in all kinds of sweets,” Jolly said. “I loved seeing how the store would transform when everybody worked together. People do some funny things at three in the morning when they’ve been decorating for six hours!” Another event customers could look forward to was Sorority Bid Day for Auburn University. Parents called Heartstrings weeks in advance to place an order to be boxed and delivered to their daughter who received a sorority bid. Heartstrings received the bid list and set up an assembly line in their storage room to assemble the signature brown boxes and tie them with ribbon in the sorority colors. They were then hand-delivered to the dorm rooms. Merilyn Hand, a senior at Auburn University, recalls hearing about Heartstrings in her hometown of Birmingham, Ala., before coming to Auburn. “I remember walking up the stairs (at Heartstrings) where all the sorority things were and thinking ‘I feel like I’ve waited my whole life to walk up these stairs and pick out my Heartstrings sorority things’,” said Hand.

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Things changed in March of 2009 when Thrash decided it was time to retire. Sarah Brown, a former Heartstrings employee, owned a gift shop of her own called Wrapsody in Hoover, Ala., and was looking to open another. Thrash approached Brown about taking over the location and Brown and her business partner agreed. Wrapsody of Auburn opened just as University students were returning from their spring break. The store was transformed into a shiny, new gift shop, complete with a computer system. Katie Hicks, former Heartstrings employee and current Wrapsody manager, agrees that the change was for the best. “We all loved Mrs. Thrash, but I am so glad I don’t have to hand-write another ticket describing 20 different Christmas ornaments,” said Hicks. “It’s also nice to be able to print out an inventory list instead of counting every item in the store and writing it down on a piece of paper.” Customers still come into Wrapsody and ask what happened to Heartstrings, but almost all of them agree that the change was for the best. “Heartstrings was a lovely store but so many things were dated,” said Mary Ann Swanson, a local resident. “The line at the counter would get so long when those poor girls were handwriting the tickets. Wrapsody has a more efficient system but it still feels like the same store to me.” Brown hired every employee from Heartstrings, so customers still see the familiar faces. “We still do pretty much the same thing,” said Hillary Dickie, Wrapsody employee. “We pick out gifts and wrap them, set up displays, have many of the same products, but some great new ones as well.”

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All good things must come to an end, but sometimes, in the case of Heartstrings, a better thing can then begin. Even though the look and name has changed, the gift shop in downtown Auburn, now Wrapsody, will remain a staple in the community and continue to help locals celebrate the gift of giving. ##### Contact: Lacey Beno, Wrapsody Inc., (334) 887-7447 or lacey@wrapsodyonline.com

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Local press release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 30, 2009

Wrapsody takes the guesswork out of giving AUBURN, Ala. – Local residents know where to get the perfect holiday present because Wrapsody employees make it their business to know gifts. However, their knowledge doesn’t stop at the store products. This gift shop in downtown Auburn makes sure every gift that comes out of Wrapsody is sure to be received with excitement and appreciation. All sales begin with the employee’s thorough knowledge of products and customer service. Prior to the annual Christmas Open House, where all of the holiday decorations, gifts and products are exhibited, employees, also called “Wrappettes,” are refreshed and retrained. Many products in the store are hand-made or locally produced items, all with a story or several facts. The Wrappettes must fill out a sheet with product background as well as their ideal gifts in price and age range, so that helping a customer find a gift is an easy, enjoyable and low-stress experience. Katie Hicks, employee of Wrapsody (formerly Heartstrings) for four years, has helped pick out countless gifts. “We make it a point to never be caught off guard by someone who ‘has everything’ or is ‘picky to buy for’,” said Hicks. All gifts that leave the store are wrapped for free. The signature “Wrapsody wrap” is black paper with white and lime green circles, tied with green and black ribbon and proudly displaying the logo sticker on the front. “Nobody likes improvised gift wrap, paper cuts and messy wrapping rooms,” said Hicks. “We train every employee how to gift wrap neatly and efficiently so that every gift from here is uniform and recognizable.” Wrapsody offers gifts for girls from age 1 to 100. The latest jewelry trends, home décor, fashion bags and totes, tabletop items and back porch accessories are just some of the must-have holiday items available. ##### Page 1 of 2


Contact: Lacey Beno, Wrapsody, Inc., (334) 887 -7447 or lacey@wrapsodyonline.com

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NATIONAL PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 9, 2009

Find the perfect gift for every girl on your list Brought to you by Wrapsody of Auburn, Ala. When does a girl stop liking stuffed animals and start liking jewelry? When is the best time to bring out the magic Christmas elves? Will you see the same forced smile on your mother-inlaw’s face this year when she opens the Christmas gift you were sure she would love? What is the popular style of luggage for a college-aged girl? What’s something personal enough for your wife or mother? Wrapsody gift shop, located in the small college town of Auburn, Ala., has answers. Because the most important list of the year is the one that is all checked off! So here they are! 2009’s perfect Christmas gift ideas and stocking stuffers for girls from age 1 to 100. For the kids: Magic Elves: What’s fun about these little guys is that they are sent directly from Santa in the North Pole. Magic Elves help cheer everyone up with little presents and games long before Christmas day. Be careful though, even though these elves are Santa’s helpers, they forget that they’re no longer at the North Pole and tend to make a bit of a mess when they take on a project. After Christmas, they have to go back to Santa’s workshop until next year! Animal Bracelets: What is with these things? These brightly colored rubber bands might look plain on a wrist, but they pop into animal shapes and offer entertainment for kids aged 5 and up. We can’t explain the fascination, but we do know that they make great stocking stuffers. Don’t be disappointed when they spend more time playing with this $2 (for a pack of 12) gift than the $200 bike you bought. Page 1 of 3


Young and Pre-Teen girls: Lunch Box: No, not like the Strawberry Shortcake tin one you had in elementary school, more like the Vera Bradley “Let’s Do Lunch” in a fun pattern like Cupcakes Pink or Purple Punch. Get it monogrammed and make lunch something to look forward to even more! Initial Jewelry: Waxing Poetic and Initial Outfitters have an array of pendants, charm bracelets and earrings. Give her something simple and pretty that is sure to last. Teens: Keychains: It’s license time. Get your teenage girl something to overshadow the key that goes to the 15-year-old family car when she drives. Try a monogrammed sterling silver keychain, a Natural Life key cap or the “Twist & Pout” lip balm keychain for a functional accessory. Stationery: Ah, remember the days when we wrote letters with a pen? Maybe with pretty stationery we would take the time to do it! Embossed Graphics offers a wide selection of cards, stationery and notepads. You can choose the size, color, font and monogram. Funky Jewelry: Need we explain? If you think it’s tacky, odds are that it is totally “in.” Long multi-strand necklaces with or without charms and brightly colored costume rings and earrings are spreading like an epidemic. Make sure your teen has a bathroom counter… or, neatly kept jewelry box full of them! Young Adult and College Age: Luggage: Don’t let her refuse a weekend trip because her hand-me-down suitcase is coming apart at the seams. Start her a Vera Bradley luggage collection in one of their 19 feminine patterns. Entertaining: If she hasn’t already tried to be a hostess for a party and found that she was missing some of the most important elements, she will soon! Matching plate and glassware sets, cookbooks, serving platters, board games, oil diffusers and scented candles are sure to impress her guests almost as much as her charm. Jewelry: Something that doesn’t scream pre-teen or mid-life crisis. Dogeared’s Karma and Make-A-Wish jewelry are simple and each peace has a meaning or reminder. For the ladies: Picture frames: Most women have a picture for most good memories. Now, if we can only get around to printing them out! Sugar Boo frames can be custom designed to compliment any photo of good friends or loved ones. Seasonal frames offer a nice touch to the annual Christmas card pictures which always find a place to be displayed around the house this time of year. Page 2 of 3


Accessories: Brighton has a wide selection of quality traditional and fashionable purses, wallets, sunglasses and jewelry with a message. Don’t settle for anything less than these pretty products that are built to last. New trends in jewelry: Troll Beads- a new take on the traditional charm bracelet. Each bead has its own meaning and the great thing about them is that it takes the guesswork out of what to get her for her birthday, Mother’s Day and next Christmas! She will be thrilled to add more charms and beads that tell her story. Now there’s no reason to buy a gift card because you didn’t have any good gift ideas. Time to start checking off your list. ##### Contact: Lacey Beno, Wrapsody, Inc., (334) 887 – 7447 or lacey@wrapsodyonline.com

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OPINION EDITORIAL FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 28, 2009

Hiring someone to decorate a room in your house or design a custom piece of furniture is an every day occurrence. Hiring someone to design and decorate your Christmas tree? Not so common. Times change but expectations remain the same. If there’s one thing people aren’t skimping out on this Christmas, it’s the tree. So why not bring in the professionals? We use professional florists and caterers for parties and events that last a day or an evening, but Christmas trees stays in our house for nearly a month. Between secret Santa parties, tacky sweater night and holiday get-togethers, you can anticipate a lot of people in your home this time of year. Imagine displaying an evergreen that looks like it walked right out of the gift shop display and into your living room. People take their Christmas decorations seriously. Others still have those Popsicle stick reindeer ornaments and giant paper photo wreaths their kids made in the first grade hanging by paper clips on their branches. These are the people in need of an intervention, a Christmas blessing, if you will. What they need is a tree makeover. So what would these services cost me, you ask? Depending on the quality and amount of new ornaments, lights and accessories, a full tree makeover can cost anywhere from $100 to $1000, plus the cost of labor, being $40/hr. Remember this saves you the stress of meticulously bending and wrapping every limb with the wad of lights that used to all work. In the end, you have a magnificent piece of work that is guaranteed to leave you as giddy as an elf on Christmas Eve, without breaking a sweat. Consider the state of your tree from last year. Now would you say that’s a pretty fair price for the centerpiece of my living room for the month of December? You and your family can enjoy decorating for Christmas without the stress, mess and grumpy moods that always seem to follow the ritual. Page 1 of 2


This year, start a new decorating tradition, sipping eggnog by the fire while watching Will Ferrell in “Elf.� The hardest part of your Christmas preparation will be done, and you can be proud of your holiday investment. Inspired by the services of Peggy Ann Hall, professional Christmas tree decorator and manager at Wrapsody, Inc. ##### Contact: Lacey Beno, Wrapsody, Inc., (334) 887-7447 or lacey@wrapsodyonline.com

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WRAPSODY MAKES HOLIDAY SHOPPING EASY

TIME: 30 SECONDS SPEAKER: SARAH BROWN, OWNER OF WRAPSODY, INC. HI, I’M SARAH BROWN, OWNER OF WRAPSODY GIFT SHOP IN DOWNTOWN AUBURN. I’D LIKE TO TELL YOU ABOUT OUR MISSION TO MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT SHOPPING A STREE-FREE EXPERIENCE. WHETHER YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A GIFT FOR YOUR DAUGHTER, MOTHER, SISTER OR FRIEND, OUR SPECIALLY TRAINED “WRAPPETTES” WILL ASSIST YOU IN CHOOSING THE PERFECT PRESENT. IF YOU JUST CAN’T DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO GIVE HER, A WRAPSODY GIFT CARD WILL SURELY MAKE HER SMILE. DO ALL YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING AT WRAPSODY, WHERE GIFT WRAPPING IS ALWAYS FREE. FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO SEE SOME OF OUR PRODUCTS VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT WWW.WRAPSODYONLINE.COM. HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY, WRAPSODY CHRISTMAS! ##### Contact: Lacey Beno, Wrapsody, Inc., (334) 887 – 7447, lacey@wrapsodyonline.com

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WRAPSODY MAKES HOLIDAY SHOPPING EASY

TIME: 60 SECONDS SPEAKER: SARAH BROWN, OWNER OF WRAPSODY, INC. HOLIDAY SHOPPING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE STRESSFUL. HI. I’M SARAH BROWN, OWNER OF WRAPSODY GIFT SHOP IN DOWNTOWN AUBURN. HERE AT WRAPSODY, OUR BUSINESS IS TO KNOW GIFTS, AND TO MAKE SPECIAL OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS TRULY A CELEBRATION OF GIVING. LET US HELP YOU SELECT THE PERFECT GIFT FOR THE FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES IN YOUR LIFE, WHETHER THEY BE ONE OR ONE HUNDRED. WRAPSODY OFFERS GIFTS IN THE LATEST TRENDS SUCH AS SAM SARA BAGS AND WALLETS, DOGEARED NECKLACES AND BRACELETS, ARCHIPELAGIO CANDLES AND HAND CRAFTED HOME DÉCOR PIECES. WE ALSO OFFER CLASSIC, TIMELESS GIFTS SUCH AS MONOGRAMMED SILVER JEWELRY, BRIGHTON BAGS AND WALLETS AND CUSTOM PERSONALIZED STATIONERY. WRAPSODY IS PROUD TO BE A PLATINUM VERA BRADLEY DEALER, OFFERING A WIDE SELECTION OF PATTERNS AND STYLES TO FIT YOUR BUDGET AND TASTE. BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE NEWEST TREND IN CHARM BRACELETS: TROLL BEADS. EACH BEAD IS MADE FROM QUALITY MATERIALS AND IS CRAFTED TO TELL A STORY OR REMIND YOU OF A TIME IN THE PAST. WE OFFER FREE GIFT WRAPPING ON ALL ITEMS PURCHASED IN THE STORE. ALL OF OUR EMPLOYEES ARE TRAINED TO ASSIST YOU WITH YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT SHOPPING AND TO MAKE YOUR EXPERIENCE AT WRAPSODY AN ENJOYABLE ONE. WE ARE OPEN EVERY DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS FROM 9 TO 6 FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE. Page 1 of 2


COME SEE WHY WRAPSODY IS TRULY A CELEBRATION OF GIVING. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT WWW.WRAPSODYONLINE.COM ##### Contact: Lacey Beno, Wrapsody, Inc. (334) 887-7447, lacey@wrapsodyonline.com

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Wrapsody Press Kit  

Press kit sample for Wrapsody Gift Shop