Outside and In provides gift options for all

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Anyone looking for a gift can shop at Outside and In.

No, really. A shopper can find something for any age, gender and personality at the Houma-based store.

With gifts ranging from barbecue pits to women’s jewelry, the store takes pride on being a “complete” gift shop fully equipped to please the wants of any loved one celebrating any occasion.

“This is a well-rounded gift store,” said store owner Jennifer Martin. “We have things for gentlemen. We have things for ladies. When husband and wife come in together, they can go each their separate ways and have a good experience trying to find what it is that they are looking for.”

Martin is a very qualified person to talk about the best qualities of the store.

That’s because before she owned the business, she was a customer, herself.

The local business owner said that Outside and In started 12 years ago under a different ownership.

She said that she took over the store in 2006, and has been running it ever since.

“I used to shop here quite a bit,” Martin said. “And the previous owners would always tell me, ‘You know, this might be something good for you.’ My husband was doing the accounting work, so I decided one day, ‘You know what? I’m a bored housewife, so this might be interesting.’ So we bought it.”

Since Martin took over the store, a lot has changed for Outside and In.

For starters, the business relocated from its original location on 500 Corporate Drive to its current spot slightly up the road on 623 Corporate Drive.

Martin said she acquired the then-vacant building at that address and opened the store’s new location in 2011.

With bright colors on the walls and earthen colored floors, Martin said the new location does the store well.

“It’s spacey – there’s a lot of room for people to navigate and roam around,” she said. “There’s a lot of natural light. And the colors are designed for people to feel like they’re outside. We want people to feel comfortable here. … And we have an awesome location, too. We’ve always loved that.”

With such a wide array of products, Martin said one of her most difficult jobs as the store’s owner is to keep up with the latest trends in so many different areas.

The store features jewelry, clothing, decorations, drinkware, tableware, outdoor furniture, and a huge array of grills.

“There’s a lot of things that we have to keep up with,” Martin said. “We’re constantly looking at catalogs and doing research. What we have is a wide area and so many different fields to keep up with.”

When asked what the store’s most popular item currently is, Martin had two answers – one was for ‘Outside’ and one was for ‘In.’

She said that for ‘outside,’ the store has really benefitted since it increased its selection of outdoor grills.

An entire segment of the storefront features the latest and greatest that will likely have a barbecue-happy man salivating at his future new toy.

“We’ve really expanded our grill lines,” Martin said. “We’ve really done a good job at getting more in the store to please people looking for those kinds of products.”

The new gizmo that Martin said is becoming more popular is the Big Green Egg, which boasts “The Ultimate Cooking Experience” for any buyer.

“We’ve tried really hard to get the word out with that one,” Martin said. “We’ve really made a real strong effort to push that unique product, and we’re doing pretty good with it. We’ve really become able to inform customers about it and let them know what makes it a good product.”

For the ‘in’, Martin touted the store’s success with Vera Bradley clothing and accessories.

She said her store’s shelves are stocked full of the latest in the popular line.

“We do very well with it,” Martin said. “We have a big selection up. We pride ourselves on our Vera Bradley items and our selection – both of those are some of our strong suits.”

So with the summer months coming up, and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day both on the horizon, Outside and In may be a good spot to shop if you’re looking for a gift for your loved one.

Martin thinks so.

She thought enough of the store to be a regular customer herself, before she took over the place.

“Everything’s going great – our numbers are good, and we’re really happy,” Martin said. “Of course, we can always be the best. … But we’re pleased with the way things are going. We think we have a lot of variety and a lot of quality. That’s what you’re looking for in any store modeled like ours.”

Outside and In owner Jennifer Martin sits at her display case in her Houma store. The local business owner said that her business takes pride in being a place where anyone can shop for any occasion.