Gift basket specialists open Milford retail store

MILFORD — Residents looking for that special gift basket, whether it be fine wines, chocolates or floral arrangements, don’t have to just go online anymore.

Hazelton’s, internationally known for its gourmet gift baskets, opened a storefront earlier this month next to its fulfillment center off Boston Post Road at 72 Turnpike Square. And store general manager AnnMarie Orr says the shop is more than gift baskets.

“We have a floral shop in here, we have a bakery section, basket makers right on the spot to do a customized basket,” Orr said. “We do a number of different things in the store.”

Hazelton’s held its grand opening on April 6, and Orr said business has been on the rise.

“We had a soft opening about seven weeks ago, but the grand opening was on April 6,” said Orr. “Since the grand opening, we have almost tripled our revenue.”

Hazelton’s makes gourmet baskets and ships them throughout the United States and beyond.

“We have locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, a floral shop in New York, Cilantro’s restaurant in New Jersey, we have a Hazelton’s Wine and Liquor store in Manchester and we also own Champions Restaurant and the cafe right beside us,” said Orr. “We have three locations in Canada, which is where we originated from.”

Orr added the location in Chicago is the twin of the Milford location since both have a fulfillment center and a storefront.

“The fulfillment center has been here a little over a year,” said Orr. “The main idea was starting a store alongside the fulfillment center, but there were many setbacks. It has taken a good deal of time to get the store open and running due to COVID and every other thing that has recently affected businesses. But we did it.”

What drew the interest of Hazelton’s to have a storefront location in Milford is Boston Post Road, Orr said.

“It was about the location and where it was along Boston Post Road,” she said. “Milford also stuck out to us because of the community and all of the small businesses we can partner with.”

“Our business owner not only cares about how well his businesses are doing, but he also cares about the community they are in,” added Orr. “We want to be more involved and give back to the Milford community.”

Currently, Hazelton’s employs about 35 people, and Orr said the company is hoping to eventually have as many as 50 employees.

“We do employ a lot of seasonal people because Christmas is our biggest time of the year,” she said. “A normal day, we can do anywhere from 100 to 300 baskets. But especially a month before Christmas, we can do anywhere from 500 to 1,000 orders a day.”

There are ready-made gourmet baskets in the store customers can choose from, said Orr, but customers can also purchase a variety of gifts from the storefront.

“Customers can buy dog items, cat items, treats, gourmet cookies and crackers, packaged cheeses, chips, wine glasses, beer mugs,” she said. “We even have baby items and also have fresh fruit and fresh bread.”