Missing Piece, a delightful store located in Nazareth that is right out of a Hallmark movie, hosted an event on Dec. 12 that brought Christmas cheer to anyone who stopped by. Santa Claus was there greeting children and taking pictures with them as he listened to everything they wished for this holiday season. The Little Shopper Room was filled with gifts for the little ones to purchase for their parents or relatives. Over 19 decorated Christmas trees could be found throughout the store with five showrooms filled with all things for the holidays from décor to clothing, and, best of all, all were met with smiling, welcoming faces from the owners and associates who provided excellent customer service to each guest who entered the boutique.
Missing Piece was founded 14 years ago when Karen Sampson and her husband, Rick, decided to open their store after Karen’s job was eliminated at Crayola. Karen always knew she wanted to open up a store and would talk about it with her friends, describing to them how the store would look inside.
“I always knew growing up that I was going to have a store, that I was going to name it Missing Piece, and I even described the way my store would look inside. When I went to look at my now storefront, I knew I was there before, even though I had never been to that store or the town of Nazareth, which was weird, but also a sign. My husband and I purchased the store 14 years ago and it has been our passion ever since.”
Throughout the store you can find home décor items, jewelry, clothing, bags, seasonal items, and so much more. It is filled with that “missing piece” item that you’ve been looking all over for. The store was founded on the idea that “everyone is always missing that little something,” and Karen and her husband take pride in their customer service skills and believe that you enter as strangers and leave as friends.
“I have the best customers and they support us. We are truly blessed. I believe that if you take care of others, they will take care of you,” commented Karen.
This year’s event hosted the Little Shopper Room, which Karen started two years ago after remembering her trips to Leh’s Department Store over 50 years ago with her mom where they had a little shopper room set up as well. The Little Shopper Room at Missing Piece is filled with gifts that kids can purchase for their parents or relatives at a low cost, $5 total which includes tax. The gifts are then wrapped for the kids to take home to surprise their parents with on Christmas morning.
“I still remember how I felt over 50 years ago. I could not wait to give the gifts I got. I could never keep a secret and always told my Mom and Dad what I got them,” Karen reminisced.
Santa Claus, Rick Sampson, also attended this event greeting and taking pictures with the children who visited with him. Rick has played Santa Claus for Crayola for over 35 years, for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, for Angel 34, and also does private home visits. This year, instead of having Santa Claus in the store, Missing Piece set up a tent outside to host him and all the little ones who wanted to visit with him. The pictures were taken by a sales associate and given to the families for free. You could also take your own. Santa Claus wore a mask under his beard, but the children were not required to wear a mask.
“Children need Santa Claus this year more than ever. We hosted this event twice this year and families got a free polaroid plus they could take as many pictures as they wanted with their cell phone,” commented Karen.
“It costs so much for a picture at the mall where it costs nothing at Missing Piece. It is all about family and memories, not money,” added Karen.
Missing Piece faced many challenges this year due to the shutdowns caused by COVID-19. Karen decided to get creative and amplify her marketing by conducting live demonstrations almost every day. She added a stick horse, Charley, to her daily routine that the customers seemed to love so she added a second horse, Charlotte, which the customers got to name.
“It was an extremely hard year this year, I did not think we would be able to stay open, but God blessed us,” said Karen.
When asked what advice she would give to other small businesses, Karen commented, “I would tell other Mom and Pop businesses that we are better than the big box stores and that you need to make your business stand out. Be creative and provide the best customer service you can.”
Missing Piece offers in-store shopping, curbside, and one-on-one shopping with Karen. If you are uncomfortable with in-store shopping, Karen can help you with all of your shopping needs. You can visit the store at 462 Bushkill Center Rd. in Nazareth, or call 610-759-4033 to place an order or set up a one-on-one shopping experience.
Karen and Rick also host many charitable events each year that you can find on their website, missingpiecegiftshop.com, or their Facebook page.
“We do it from our heart and give back to all things in our community and to others,” said Karen.