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Parkleigh: The Warmth of the Holidays Waits Inside

December 11, 2015
Twelve Days of Small Business Badge

We’re recognizing small businesses across the country for the positive impact they make on their local communities throughout the holiday season and all year long.

Have fun. Feel good. Buy stuff.

That’s the tagline of gift store Parkleigh, a Rochester-based treasure and retail store located in one of the Flower City’s most historic and high-traffic areas in the Park Avenue neighborhood. Parkleigh began as a pharmacy over a half century ago and after 26 years decided to go into the retail business. Business has been booming ever since, as Parkleigh has established itself as a “must stop” when Park Avenue window shopping.

As one might expect, the holiday season is one of the busiest for Parkleigh and other stores like it. Known for its unique array of high-quality and locally sourced gifts, it’s really become a shopping experience rather than just a place to grab something in a hurry.

Entering the doors of either the flagship store or its newly opened second location – Mackenzie-Childs at Parkleigh 235 – across the street, customers are greeted with the smiles of a friendly and helpful staff and welcomed into a world of vast and uncommon merchandise. As the store’s website states, “You never know what treasures you’ll discover.”

As a small business itself, Parkleigh is a firm believer in supporting other small businesses, no matter where they may be in the world.

As Daniel Mejak, operations manager, points out, “Even Walmart started as a small business. Growing a business is a grassroots endeavor, and by shopping small you’re supporting your neighbors. You’re not just helping that organization succeed, you’re helping to grow the community around you. You’re putting food on your neighbors’ tables and helping to put their kids through college. The impact of supporting local businesses is far-reaching and can’t be encouraged enough.”

Parkleigh is so passionate about supporting its neighbors, in fact, that a good portion of its store is chocked full with the creations of local artisans – everything from Hedonist chocolates to Emerson and Oliver jewelry to Flower City Pasta. Parkleigh has also been an avid supporter of Rochester’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy for some time, and currently sells a selection of goods made by aspiring, teenage entrepreneurs.

Along with its distinct local flavor, Parkleigh features well-known brands such as Vera Bradley, Mariposa, and Crabtree and Evelyn.

Parkleigh typically employs a team of 35 people, but nearly doubles that number during the holiday season. The store is an extremely active supporter of events such as Small Business Saturday and the Park Avenue Holiday Fest, which draws thousands of shoppers to the neighborhood in early December each year.

According to Mejak, gifts given from a small business tend to hold more sentimental value. For him, walking into a small business around this time of year holds many meanings.

“It’s personality. It’s home. It’s the warmth of the holidays,” he says.