Ten years after being laid off from Agilent Technologies, Marge Van Woerkom and her business, Baskets By Rita, are still going strong. As a previous Reporter Herald article outlined, Van Woerkom was one of many Loveland residents who found themselves unemployed in 2002 when HP and Agilent downsized. After 19 years of working for HP and Agilent, Van Woerkom refused to be a victim of her situation. She pulled herself together after the lay off and bought an existing business in Aurora, Colorado.
She chose not to change the company's existing name, Baskets By Rita, which already had a strong reputation in the Denver metro area and this choice has served her well. "We've built our business on the philosophy that the customer come first" says Van Woerkom.
Since Van Woerkom took ownership of the company, she has managed to grow sales despite the economic recession of the past few years. In addition, she has grown the companys clientele and web presence year over year with the help of her staff and dedicated members of her family. As a sign of its ongoing growth, Baskets By Rita began plans several months ago to create a sister company, Gift Agent. Gift Agent will offer customers a slightly more specialized product line packaged in specialty boxes which will allow the company to be more eco-friendly and create more of a recognized brand identity. The hope is that receiving a gift from Gift Agent will be comparable in recipients minds to receiving a box of Godiva chocolates. While Gift Agent gives cause for much excitement at Baskets By Rita, that is not the only exciting news for the company.
This year, Baskets By Rita is celebrating its 20th year of business. While many other gift basket companies have gone out of business, Van Woerkom and her staff have managed to maintain steady growth despite the publics growing need to economize. To show their gratitude for the continued support of their customers and celebrate their 20 years of success, Baskets By Rita has planned a series of sales promotions for each month of the year. These promotions include deals such as 15% off when you spend $50 or more and a gift of a free basket for the winner of a video commercial contest. For every dollar saved by their customers through these ongoing promotions, Baskets By Rita will donate a dollar to a local charity. Each month, the company will choose a local charities to support and they will match the savings of their customers to determine the donation amount. The best part of this campaign is that customers are encouraged to vote for their favorite charities so that everyone can be involved. As a local business, Baskets By Rita does its best to support local programs and Van Woerkom is excited to have an excuse to give back even more than her usual holiday charitable donations. If you would like to become involved with Baskets By Rita, you can 'like' the company on Facebook and vote for your favorite local charity. When doing so you will receive a coupon code for 20% savings on your next purchase.