By Sybille C. Denninger

Hello, hello, it's FEATURE FRIDAY time, and today I am excited to introduce a very special local Entrepreneur, Audrey J. Donovan of Donovan Business Solutions. 

Audrey's long, successful career is in the field of Business Development and Marketing, and lucky for us here on Cape Ann she came up with a wonderful and reasonable idea for local businesses to promote their goods and services to new residents: A Welcoming Basket filled with donated products, coupons and gift certificates from local companies, which Real Estate agents receive from her to present to their buyers whenever they close on a new home. Genius!

When Audrey first moved to Gloucester from Boston she found that she stumbled upon our many fabulous shops and service providers such as plumbers, landscapers, etc. merely by coincidence since she simply didn't know anyone on Cape Ann to ask for a recommendation. Remembering the older concept of the "Welcome Wagon", an organization which used to deliver community information and samples from local merchants to newcomers, Audrey developed her concept of the Welcoming Basket and started this business venture in May 2014. She enjoys helping her community through her business development skills.

We Real Estate agents LOVE Audrey's beautifully arranged baskets which brim with coupons, gift certificates and products from companies located in Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester. They make us look so good when we present them to our buyer-clients after closings! We get a lot of oohs and aahs, and are able to make an already special day even more exciting for them. There is a full size jar of home made Virgilio's tomato sauce (delicious by the way!) along with a coupon, a $50.00 gift certificate from Wolf Hill Home and Garden Center, $25.00 for a beauty service from Dolce Vita Salon, a present with coupon from Maplewood Car Wash, a gift card from Sebastian's Pizza, and many other special deals, information and menus from local businesses. All of these merchants are getting clever exposure to the new home owners in our communities, new customers who will likely come back over and over again.

Audrey currently has 13 participating businesses contributing gifts to her baskets, and is actively looking for merchants who, for a reasonable fee which covers the costs of the baskets, packaging materials, assembly and deliveries, would like to be included in this fun and effective way to advertise their companies. Audrey also includes a welcoming letter on behalf of the Realtors, who in turn point out the many awesome offerings to their clients while handing over the baskets on closing day. It's truly a feel-good advertisement opportunity. Real Estate offices call Audrey prior to their closing appointments, she picks up the gifts from the merchants, puts the baskets together and and delivers them to the Real Estate agents.

This is truly a great way to keep our community strong by keeping dollars local! It shows new home owners that there is not always a need to "go over the bridge" and that they can get excellent goods and services right here on Cape Ann, which Audrey lovingly refers to as "our slice of heaven". 

These goodies are exclusively gifted to new home owners so you have to buy a house to get one (call Fintan and Sybille!!!) LOL. Merchants however do not have to spend the big bucks to be included in Audrey's impressive Welcoming Baskets :-)

Give Audrey a call today to find out how you can participate in this great way to introduce your businesses to new residents! Audrey also offers consulting services in marketing and business development.

Audrey J. Donovan

Donovan Business Solutions


(Expanding soon to Beverly and Danvers)