It must have been fate.
Colleen O’Neill thinks back to the day when she saw a broker friend coming out of , before she bought the specialty shop four years ago.
“I called and said, ‘That store wouldn’t be for sale by any chance, would it?’” recalls the Cinnaminson native, who has lived in Moorestown with her family for the last seven years.
Sure enough, it was.
O’Neill, who was a stay-at-home mom for her three kids at the time, had been itching to get back into the workforce. Previously, she had spent nearly 12 years as a paralegal, but law is a tricky field.
“You really have to stay on top of all of the changes,” she says of her law career, which she enjoyed immensely. “Plus, I left when so much was being done on computers. It’s a lot different these days.”
O’Neill’s husband, Kevin, questioned her wisdom in buying the store. He’s a retail veteran, being the franchise owner of Party Land in Delran, and has felt the effects of the slackened economy. Plus, retail hours can be burdensome, taxing and tiring.
But O’Neill says she had always felt a tug toward the art world. After studying for a couple of years at the Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, O’Neill satisfied her artistic yearning by painting the rooms in her home and refinishing furniture.
“My kids would come home from school and say, ‘Mom, did you redo the house again?’”
In the bustling world of social media, handwritten notes seem like an artifact from the Victorian era. O'Neill is aware of the sizable amount of competition from big-box stores like .
“I’ve had a lot of people come to me after they used these bigger stores," she says. "They just aren’t happy with the product.”
Remember Me has also had to leverage against a smattering of online sites that design, send and track e-vites and other social requests through the Internet.
O’Neill says many people prefer to sit down with her, browse through nearly 35 idea books she has shelved, and see firsthand the colors, fonts and motifs that are offered.
About 60 percent of her business is for birthday parties, graduations, showers or weddings.
“I have a lot of clients who buy stationery embossed with the recipient’s name as a gift, maybe for a sweet 16 birthday or for a young person just graduating college," she explains.
One of her favorite aspects of her new business is “taking the work from beginning to end”—all done by O'Neill.
In the store, O’Neil has an emporium of blank paper stocks, envelopes and cards for the inspired who want a product made-to-order, arty and interesting, all made with her on-site printer.
“That’s my favorite part of the job,” she says, and she can usually get the job done in less than two days.
Hot at the moment are cupcake designs, zig zags and the colors yellow and gray.
"Any kind of paisley pattern is always popular with the girls," she says.
O’Neill also sells hostess gifts like cutting boards, Bridgewater Candles and Michel Design soaps. There are some of O’Neill’s refinished furniture pieces, alongside some artfully decorated pillows. Jewelry, tea towels and colorful fabric-covered journals made with recycled paper round out some of the other products sold in the store.
“I love coming to work,” O’Neill says. “When you are around pretty things, it brightens the day.”
Remember Me is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Call Colleen for an appointment at 856-778-1440.