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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Couple jump into basket business

Sunday, October 5, 2003

Mary and R.L. Keene have opened The Leaping Frog, Etc.
SIKESTON - With the dapper frog standing as greeter to customers, you know you have found some place different at The Leaping Frog.

Located in the Kingsway Shops at 928 S. Kingshighway, owners R.L. and Mary Keene said that is just the atmosphere they want for their new business. The store offers home and lawn decor items but primarily they want The Leaping Frog to be known as the source for unique gift baskets.

"What we are striving for is to offer speciality baskets for any occasion," said Mrs. Keene. And it really doesn't even have to be a basket, she continued, they can make up almost anything from a mug to a metal pail to any type of container into a special gift parcel.

It was the opportunity to be creative with baskets and decor that drew the Keenes to opening their business in Sikeston. Growing up in East Prairie, Mrs. Keene said she would often help at her mother's flower shop and later enjoyed putting together unique gifts for family and friends.

"There was a store similar to this in Columbia where we lived and we enjoyed going there. We decided Sikeston could use some place like this," said Mrs. Keene. "We live in such busy times, it is great to know you can pick up the phone and have something unique and personal created for you to give. This is something I love to do."

Customers will find a variety of items to fill that special basket. Of course the store includes an array of frog-themed items (a favorite of Mrs. Keene) along with decorations, blankets, pillows and more. The store carries Mostly Memories handcream and bath line along with Jack Dempsy quilt blocks and tops.

The Leaping Frog is the exclusive local purveyor of Green Leaf and Village Candles, which issues a special scent each month. Mrs. Keene said she is inaugurating a candle club and for those customers who purchase at least one candle a month for three months, they will receive their fourth month's candle of the same size at no charge.

In response to customers' request they have available the line of Barielle Nail and Footcare products, advertised in upscale women's magazines. Developed in 1875 as a product used on the hooves of racehorses, the creams proved to also be effective on the nails of the horses' groomers so it was redeveloped and packaged for humans.

Also available are food items. Homemade pies and cakes will be created from scratch on customers' requests at least 24 hours in advance. These can be included in a gift basket or purchased as a personal order.

The homemade chocolate suckers have proved popular in baskets created for the younger customers. The suckers come in a variety of sizes and shapes including sports characters, holiday themes and more.

Already she has created baskets to give to brides and mothers-to-be. Her baskets for new babies can even include one of the handmade quilts available for sale in the shop.

If the customer provides the wine, the Keenes can create a special basket around the vintage including bread and cheese.

They will make up fruit baskets and soon will be the exclusive distributors of I.B. Nuts and Fruits Too - a line of gourmet Missouri nuts and dried fruits.

"We constantly are looking for something that no one else carries locally," said Mrs. Keene about their lines. "And we want to offer something for men, women and children of all ages. We want this store to be the place you can find just the right item to give as a gift or use in your own home."

And as part of their business, the Keenes emphasized that customer service will be key to The Leaping Frog. "We are striving to please you," said Mrs. Keene, who added she can further personalize baskets with floral arrangements or flowers upon request.

They will even be taking their products on the road. Later this year the Keenes plan to develop a delivery route to businesses and professional offices in Scott, Mississippi, New Madrid and Stoddard counties offering their selections of I.B. Nuts and Fruits Too.

Since they opened Sept. 2, business has been steady, Mrs. Keene said. She expects it to grow as the holidays near.

Delivery is available in Sikeston and baskets can be made and shipped across the U.S.

The Leaping Frog is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The telephone number is 481-0404.