Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Keeping It Real: Made to Keep sticks to an ageless formula: paper, ink, design, fun.

Screenshot 2015-11-23 16.17.57Even in the so-called digital age, Melissa Rhoads believes that there’s nothing like getting a handwritten card.

“People appreciate getting a card, they get really excited,” she said. “And I think they appreciate the art of card-making, and the extra effort of sending a card.”

And that’s a good thing, too. Rhoads owns Made to Keep, a unique stationery and gift shop in Linglestown’s historic Plot 40. Made to Keep started as a custom stationery and graphic design business in 2006, when Rhoads was a college student in Philadelphia.

A lifelong arts and crafts aficionado, she began creating Christmas cards and valentines for her family. She slowly started selling them to friends, and a business was born. Fast-forward to May 2015, and a sweet boutique opened in the first floor of a 225-year-old building, greeting card shelves hanging on the original logs.

“I opened the retail shop because I saw a need for a boutique like this,” she said. “We have a wide variety of stationery and jewelry, and we try to use local artists as often as possible.”

Indeed, the shop offers many hard-to-find-elsewhere items, such as quirky decorated wine glasses and hand-lettered mugs, as well as unique paper products, including invitations and event notices. However, cards remain closest to Rhoads’ heart.

“Our cards are quirky and funky, and, when people come in, they have fun just browsing or laughing at the cards,” she said. “It’s really neat.”

In addition to the quality of the cards themselves, people appreciate finding specific cards for special relationships, like a birthday card from one twin to another.

One of those local artists is Rhoads herself.

“I recently started getting back into creating cards and designing new things,” she said. “I try to create things that are unique and fun.”

Rhoads uses time-honored processes like letterpress and gold foil, in addition to digital printing, and also does a good deal of hand-lettering in her designs.

“Letterpress and hand-lettered work is on trend now,” Rhoads explained. “Even a few years ago, back in 2010 or 2011, you weren’t seeing a lot [of hand-lettered or letterpress].”

In other words, what’s old is new again.

“It’s really important to us that we stay current with what people are looking for, and that we give them something special,” she said.

Made to Keep Boutique is located at 5922 Linglestown Rd., Harrisburg (Linglestown). For more information, call 717-579-7723 or visit Made to Keep is also part of the newly formed Linglestown Artisan Trail, a consortium of area businesses. Get more information at their Facebook page: Linglestown Artisan Trail.


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