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    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Gift baskets filled to overflowing with gourmet goodies, pampering products or specialty items a company can use to market itself, have garnered a high award for Marilyn Taylor, owner of The Bountiful Basket.

    Rave Reviews! magazine has named this Southern California business one of the Top 50 Gift Basket Businesses in the United States. The award recognizes The Bountiful Basket as one of the major gift basket makers based on Taylor and her team’s dedication to her business, the creativity of her customized baskets and the wide variety of upscale products included in them.

    “This is a prestigious award,” Taylor said. “Rave Reviews! is an upscale magazine that caters to advanced basket designers serving a high-end clientele.”

    This is the third time Taylor’s has been named a Top 50 Gift Basket Business. In 2005and 2006, Gift Basket Review magazine named her to its Top 50. This magazine caters to both professional gift basket designers such as Taylor, and to those who design gift baskets as a hobby.

    Before being named to Rave Reviews! Top 50, Taylor completed a detailed questionnaire. It asked about the types of baskets she designs, which are the best sellers and how she markets her baskets.

    “Some gift basket retailers don’t design their own baskets, but order shipments from large foreign suppliers then resell them,” Taylor said. “We take great pride and pleasure in designing our customers’ gift baskets ourselves.

    “Our biggest competitor is Costco. People can go there and see 20 baskets all the same, with no personality.”

    “For the same price they can have a beautiful unique basket custom designed for their recipient, delivered to their customer’s or loved one’s door.”

    Taylor does half of her business on the web, and will ship orders all over the world. Many of her customers are out of state; one of her biggest clients is in Texas and a large number of orders come from New Jersey and New York.

    Since 1995, Taylor has made a career out of designing her own gift baskets. Her team scours trade shows and elsewhere looking for gourmet foods and uniquely shaped baskets. They have more than 500 different products that can be used to create a specially designed gift, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in the local area.

    What’s more, the baskets and other gift containers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

    For instance, she discovered a company that hand makes baskets in the shape of states, and uses a California-shaped basket to hold an assortment of products native to the state, including chocolates manufactured locally.

    “We have a wonderful variety of made-in-California products that are not found in any grocery stores,” Taylor said.

    About four years ago, they started designing children’s baskets, and now sell many of them to families with children at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital and other hospitals throughout the United States. These baskets are filled with interactive toys, games and books.

    “I search the globe for things that get children to use their minds,” she said. “It’s hard to find things that aren’t video games or otherwise keep them in their own zone.”

    Earlier this year, one of her top-selling kids’ baskets included Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.

    For adults, both men and women, many of her best-selling baskets contain her Bountiful Spa Therapy line of lotions and other items for the bath. She developed this line after sampling hundreds of similar products and finding none that were “just right.”

    Other baskets could be filled with coffee, cookies, chocolates, savory snacks, fruit or many other choices.

    At the website, www.thebountifulbasket.com Taylor has dozens of examples to choose from, $10 to $500. These are grouped by themes such as holidays, corporate, children’s and teenagers’ baskets, college students’ designs and gifts with different varieties of products.

    But, if none of those designs are exactly what you’re looking for, The Bountiful Basket can custom-make the perfect gift that you will be proud to give and will fit within your budget.

    “If someone is allergic to peanuts, we won’t put that in there,” she said. “Or if they would rather have tea than coffee, we can accommodate that.”

    She also encourages businesses to include their own products in their gift baskets. And she can imprint names and custom messages on the ribbons that adorn the baskets, for an even more personalized and professional touch.

    How do you create an award-winning business from the Inland Empire?

    “We treat every customer as though they’re a business next door and they come back again and again,” she said. “Our business is our passion and it shows in every gift we create.”

    For more information about The Bountiful Basket, call (909) 425-2203 or visit www.thebountifulbasket.com

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