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San Clemente Journal

Gifts Galore at the Mole Hole

Aug 05, 2004 07:28PM ● By Don Kindred
by Maggie Zeibak

    Burrowing for the perfect gift at The Mole Hole is a shopper’s dream come true. Packed with fine quality porcelain, art glass and intriguing collectibles this is a place in Ocean View Plaza where you can find a gift for just about anyone. Including you.
    Responsible for this eclectic range of merchandise is owner Linda Kopperud, a well-known figure in our community. A refugee from the Corporate world, she opened her first store in 1981 and decided to move it to San Clemente in 1993. Loyal customers still come down from Los Angeles to her store here in town. 
    Originally started in Michigan 45 years ago, The Mole Hole stores (think Wind In The Willows) were franchised but now operate under a license agreement. Keeping in constant contact with her gift gallery seven days a week Linda handles the stocking, bookkeeping, ordering and attendance at Trade Shows in New York and Atlanta. In a constant effort to anticipate her customers’ needs and introduce new and exciting, “cutting edge” inventory, Linda also works into her busy schedule, trips to Art Shows in Philadelphia and Baltimore,
    Something new in the shop especially for men, are accessories manufactured by Rawlings, made from the same leather as the well-known baseball mitts. 
    “When men hold a toiletry kit or a yellow-pad holder and feel the soft leather of their first baseball glove, their eyes glaze over and they stop and smell the item,” Kopperud said. “The bright red fabric insignia is so familiar and awakens good memories.” Looks like those $32 brown mousepads are just going to fly off the shelf this gift-giving season.
    During her years spent traveling in the Orient, Linda fell in love with the beautiful quality of fine porcelain. The translucence of the clay and glazes impressed her and she was delighted when she found Franz Porcelain pottery to sell. She demonstrated how her hand is visible through the porcelain when held to the light and pointed out the shading and reflective depth of color on each item. The sculptured accents such as butterflies and flowers are crafted in fine detail by highly skilled artisans and, as they say, with a little touch of magic from the goodwill of the Chinese spirits of Fire and Earth.
    For the collectors among us (of which there are plenty) the shelves are tightly packed with holiday-themed figures. Many people are starting their own family traditions with elaborate displays such as Dept. 56 lighted houses that grow each year as new pieces are added. And what used to be collections of Victorian houses or trainscapes now tend to include the modern influence of Krispy Kreme logos, as well as a burgeoning interest in Halloween decorations.
    A growing cult of collectors are also focusing on Wee Forest Folk, a line of miniatures. Mostly mice, these sculptures made by the Petersen family in Massachussetts, are ornaments that reflect everyday occupations such as “The Yard Sale”, “Scrooge” and “Tea with Tillie”. There’s even one for the Red Hat Society ladies. Take a moment and look at the display case and admire these hand-painted little critters, all waiting to find good homes.
    Along with a gift-wrapping service and custom gift baskets, The Mole Hole offers a smart Red and Gray Gift Card in varying denominations. This is the answer for the discerning collector. Importantly, they also provide a reminder service. When an anniversary or birthday is looming, a phone call reminding you of the date would be most welcome.
    Named “Most Philanthropic Business” by the Orange County Register, Linda Kopperud was also nominated for “Business Person of the Year”, an award from the President. Recently, she has been nominated for the Ronald Reagan Republican Gold Medal based on her commitment to a vision of entrepreneurial America. 
    “My father’s influence helps me,” she said, “I feel I’ve been treated well by the community and I’d like to give back. As a past President of Rotary International I like to run my business and my life by their 4-way test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and friends? Is it beneficial to all concerned? One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had is when I noticed some nurses buying Beanie Babies for premature babies in their care. As the preemies are so tiny they are about the same size as the toy and they are able to snuggle up to something soft. Since I learned about this I’ve donated many toys that the nurses keep until the time comes to match up a baby’s personality with a Beanie Baby! The parents are so touched and impressed.”
    In this gift gallery there are myriad selections to be made, ones that encompass all tastes and age groups. One of the best gifts to give or receive is a framed quotation for $21.99 “Heaven’s a little closer in a house by the sea.” So true. 
    Among the unique and acceptable are the colored cellphone holders (Pink/black, lime green dots), a Dustpaws furniture duster embellished with jewelry, and slim Flashcards that provide a powerful flashlight without taking up room in a purse – only $7.99. These make excellent stocking stuffers along with the candles, body products and Girls Night Out Bunco games.
    Pop down to the Mole Hole and explore this gift gallery, you’ll solve your buying dilemmas and have fun discovering new merchandise. Linda welcomes you.